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Mastering the mixture of black and grind - 95%

Opus_Oculto, March 29th, 2015

Although not a big fan of grindcore, but being a big fan of black metal, I admit I was surprised by the fact that mixing the two genres has resulted in such animalistic, grotesque, chaotic and noisy spectacle that can be called In The Constellation Of The Black Widow. This is the first Anaal Nathrakh work that I have listened with care, and more than once, and I was surprised not so much with the violence and aggression of the songs (which I was expecting from a band that mixes grindcore with black metal) but by the quality and diversity of them.

This is not one of those grindcore albums whose tracks all look the same, or one of those black metal albums that uses the same formula over an hour of music, and you have the impression of having heard a set mixed by DJ Varg Vikernes. No. In The Constellation Of The Black Widow seems more like the mix one good Dark Funeral album with one good Napalm Death album (i.e., Diabolis Interium with Utilitarian).

From the first track, which entitles the album, the carnage is merciless. Subtly you see yourself immersed in a storm of melodic but fast and punishing riffs, which does not fall short in terms of quality and precision, intense and constant blast beats, various sound effects and harsh guttural vocals, so harsh, loud and overlapping that seem to have been recorded during the response to a joint psychiatric seizure of a group of people. V.I.T.R.I.O.L., the man behind the vocals, also impresses by his ability to drive magnificent clean vocals during the chorus of some of the tracks. He sounds a bit like Killswitch Engage at some moments, but overall his vocals are more on the Christian Alvestam side of the force that the death/metalcore side.

Basically, there is no time when we can breathe in peace during the almost 35 minutes of In The Constellation of the Black Widow. Some tracks are more “down tempo”, like The Unbearable Filth of the Soul and The Lucifer Effect, but even these tracks are so full of chaotic vocals and harsh and cutting riffs, that they may lead the listener to an epileptic attack in real time.

Anyway, In The Constellation Of The Black Widow is all about riffs, vocals and chaos, absolute chaos. It accomplishes its mission to present a perfect blend of genres with measured doses of black metal and grindcore, not disappointing anyone who might enjoy one or both genres. The lyrics are often incomprehensible, except for the choruses and “slow tracks”, but it makes little difference when you have an instrumental part so prevalent.

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