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Absolutely horrific - 80%

doomknocker, July 14th, 2010

Whenever I hear the phrase “anaal nathrakh” I always come back to the Undertaker during his “Ministry of Darkness” period, uttering this and other speaking-in-tongues occult words during mock rituals, and the only good thing to come out of it was the acquisition of the Acolytes (best tag team EVER!). But once I grew up, became increasingly bitter and realized the faux dramatics of professional wrestling became too hackneyed to take seriously, the words dropped off the earth for me until they appeared in an issue of some metal rag, which mentally brought me back to the Ministry. These days, however, ANAAL NATHRAKH is apparently a British blackened ambient group that specializes in disturbingness for the sake of evoking a pit of ultimate darkness sans Sir Simon Milligan, but they’d been so underground that us in the United States of Whatever wouldn’t be able to get any of their recorded works as easily as we could others’.

The name kept popping up once and again, and in that regard I had to get one of their albums just to see what they’re truly all about…

What works in their favor, from what I can notice, is their rather innate ability to convey musical bothersomeness, using black metal and churning ambience to evoke a thick, curtain of blackness that is disturbing the its absolute core. Rarely does one come across a blackened metal act that is able to convey emotions of fear and dread as well and as naturally as these guys, where nothing at all makes sense save for the complete and utter annihilation of a sane mind by way of a suffocating dark. Theirs is of an unpredictable nature, using darkened ambience while thankfully eschewing the irritating BURZUM worship others of their stylistic ilk seem fit on emulating to their broken hearts’ contents, where melodic elements, a violent heaviness that’s rather uncommon in their specific genre (I can’t recall any other black metal act that makes their musical violence as horrific as this) and a multi-voice approach that’s both fanciful (the lower growls and clean vocals) and humorous (the out-of-control high-pitched shrieks that make up the majority of the vocal work that can at times be annoying to listen to). That unpredictability is mostly reserved in the musical side of things, where the two-ton-brick of guitar riff work, harmonic leads, and percussive insanity orgy-whack the ever-loving hell out of the listener so many times that, as the album proceeds, it gets a bit harder and harder to take it all in; the miasma of chaos is so thick that, once you get halfway through, you may want something more sugar-coated to bring you back to the hear-and-now. Truly something to be in the mood for, songs like “In the Constellation of the Black Widow”, “I Am the Wrath of Gods and the Desolation of the Earth Music” and “Satanarchrist” (one of the best song titles I’ve heard in a while) have the tenacity to pull every bit of life out of your soul and leave you as little more than a bludgeoned, emaciated corpse. Wicked, to say the least.

In the end, ANAAL NATHRAKH’s latest surprised me with its damn near constant state of violent terror. Those who want something to make them check the closet and under the bed for bogeymen should give this a listen or two. You’ve been warned.