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Pray for Oblivion - 83%

DMhead777, July 30th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Metal Blade Records

Anaal Nathrakh is one of the most unique bands I ever heard. They have come a long way since their debut. While I did enjoy that album, there were many opportunities for improvements. One of the major aspects the band added was this form of "clean" singing. They went a more melodic approach later on in their career without sacrificing what made them stand out initially. They provide no lyrics and encourage people just to listen to what they create and enjoy it. I haven't listened to much of older Anaal Nathrakh, but I have to say this is their best album up to this point in their career.

The atmosphere on this record is unbelievable. It's very hard to describe, but the cover art should show you what kind of music you're about to listen to. The industrial sections, combined with the gothic imagery, really make this album feel like you're listening to Revelations in the bible. Song titles like: "Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion" and "And You Will Beg for Our Secrets" give this album a really badass feel. The singing sounds like people are being skinned alive in the middle of choir practice in church. Even the solos on here are reckless. There aren't many, but "...So We Can Die Happy" will melt your damn face off while throwing these insane electronics at you as well. These two guys really developed a fantastic style that is truly unique.

The singing is the thing that stands out the most to me. I'm going to refer to V.I.T.R.I.O.L.'s less harsh style as "clean", when it's really on the fence. It definitely adds so much more atmosphere to their songs. Sure, you can throw on "The Codex Necro" and appreciate harsh vocals for 45 minutes, but there is something about his erratic style that just fits this tone better. The chorus sections provide some much needed groove without sounding like they sold out or made their music too "easy listening". There is a part in "In Flagrante Delicto" that has V.I.T.R.I.O.L. basically growling and it's just so god damn cool.

"We Will Fucking Kill You" is my favorite song on this record. It sums up everything this record has into one insanely catchy tune. The electronics and chorus are done so well that it will have you put it on multiple times despite not knowing what the fuck they're saying. The best part about this record is that the choruses don't slow the songs down, rather give additional intensity for the duration of the track. These sections sometimes sound even more raw than the rest of the song. It's great when they add them and equally great when they don't. "...So We Can Die Happy" is a more old school sounding track that makes me feel like I'm listening to something off "The Codex Necro". This album has something for older and newer fans alike.

There aren't too many negatives on here. Songs like "Depravity Favours the Bold" and "And You Will Beg For Our Secrets" sound a little too familiar, but that's just a personal thing. Otherwise, every song on this record is pretty great. There isn't too much filler and most of the songs stand out from one another. The sound these guys developed is truly unlike anything I have heard before. The additions of the choruses and cleaner singing are down right fantastic and appreciated. I think it's safe to say that "The Whole of the Law" is one of the best albums that came out in 2016.

Recs: "We Will Fucking Kill You", "The Great Spectator", and "Of Horror, And the Black Shawls".