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Incomparable Intensity - 95%

IamDBR, July 20th, 2017

Anaal Nathrakh is an interesting beast to say the least. They brutalize the listener senseless with an onslaught of pummeling blastbeats, massive guitar tone and those wretched, downright unhinged vocals. What really separates them from the pack is the use of melodic sections and operatic vocals for maximum catharsis after the said beat down. One minute they are making you feel like a shit human being and the next you are singing along to the chorus with a gleam in your eyes. It's quite beautiful honestly. Now to avid listeners this is not exactly new information. So what does it have for those who are well aware of this rather obvious dynamic?

WotL is probably AN's most accessible album to date with Desideratum coming in pretty close. Much cleaner than the brutal shit they were peddling earlier in their career but by no means sterile or safe. The album draws quite a bit of influence from classical/baroque music but never lets it take the center stage. The characteristic incomparable intensity is still on full display here with those earth shattering choruses soon following them. Dave sounds brutal/epic as fuck as always. His performance on Extravaganza with those eerie King Diamond falsettos is further proof of his versatility, very underrated in my opinion. Kenny continues to deliver massive riffs and extended, emotive soloing. He utilizes those 'djenty' tones to great effect, showing all those repetitive one string chuggers how it's really done. We Will Fucking Kill You is a prime example for this with its marriage of heavy djent/industrial rhythms with grand symphonic backing. Of Horror, and the Black Shawls single showcases what symphonic black metal could/should have been, epic beyond measure. Another one that caught my ear was the excellent rendition of Iron Maiden's Powerslave. Talk about making the song your own!

The lyrics continue to convey a scathing critique of humanity. Upon 'deciphering' one is met with a few thought provoking realizations. They do tend to read like a psychology class on nihilism at a certain instances but that's half the charm...or not.

All in all, AN delivers yet another banger incorporating more influences in their ever expanding sound. This is how you craft original extreme metal without going into "neutered alt/prog rock with half assed screams" territory. They outdo many a 'heavy' bands all the while throwing the listener a hook or two in the process for added memorability. This album and pretty much everything by this band is the definitive soundtrack to Armageddon, plain and simple. Strongly recommended to fans of extreme music.

The Whole of the Law - 99%

Death_Welder, December 6th, 2016

As I sit here listening to this album for maybe the 50th time in just over a month, I can't help but be reminded of the time when I first bought In the Constellation and listened to it over and over with it still sounding fresh and exciting. This is not quite that album, which I would give a score of over 100 if I could, but TWOTL is a close 2nd in their discography, at least tied with the mighty Hell is Empty.

If you have heard any two albums by Anaal Nathrakh in the least 15 years, you could pretty easily draw a line between the two and connect the dots. I've long compared bands like this to the Friday the 13th movie franchise; some are okay, some are great, but you go into it knowing to expect Jason, killing, a camp, teenagers being stupid and the like. Sometimes Jason ventures over to Manhattan or space but movie to movie the foundation is the same, and that applies for Anaal Nathrakh too. This album is one such case of the stars re-aligning in their favor to create a group of songs that are so undeniably Anaal Nathrakh, yet invigorating and aggressive again after the band's output over the last half-decade. That's not to put down Passion, Vanitas, or Desideratum, but those 3 albums were missing the gravity of previous albums in favor of catchy songs and hooks. Let me tell you, it is back, and without sacrificing the positive aspects of recent releases. This is the best of both worlds for the AN camp, aggressive and dark with great melodic, catchy parts too.

These are some of the strongest individual tracks they've done since Constellation easily, with a whole lot of variety from song to song. The album's lead single, Depravity Favours the Bold, is actually my least favorite of the bunch but right away it signifies a turn for more black metal once again. Hold Your Children Close, We Will Fucking Kill You, and ...So We Can Die Happy comprise a perfect trilogy of songs that showcase this album's strong points. There's an over-arching "classical" music vibe to the album that is reminiscent of a baroque period darkness mixed with the glory of a Beethoven symphony that really comes through when comparing the dynamics of the vocals. Track 6 In Flagrante Delicto sounds like it could have been a Desideratum session track, but it fits very well here. The last 5 tracks I will not review individually because together they make up one of the greatest stretches of extreme music I've ever come across, although I will say Extravaganza! is one of Anaal Nathrakh's more interesting tracks overall and the album closer Of Horror, and the Black Shawls is far and away the greatest closer they've had in 9 albums.

Buy this album right away. Buy it. When the dust settles, it is very likely to be my album of the year for 2016, a year already full of amazing material. The only downside to this album is now we have to wait 2 more years for another, and with it being so good how can they even come close? Cheers to the band for putting out what some will view as their masterpiece on album #9.