Anaal Nathrakh

In The Constellation Of The Black Widow

Written by: AB on 15/07/2009 03:57:09

Most of our regular readers here at will maybe know that death metal is the name of my game. Some might also know that I enjoy the occasional black, thrash or even grind outfit. However, I bet that not even our most metal crazed regulars, who read all my reviews (I know you are out there!) know that one of my favourite bands plays a mean slap of black/grind - who can it be other than the mighty Anaal Nathrakh?! All of their 4 previous previous full length efforts, from the dirty black metal of "The Codex Necro" to the black/grind/epic death metal from "Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here" has impressed me greatly, with their awesome ferocity, skill and vision that always make for a truly vicious listening experience. Naturally, I've been very excited about the 'Thrakh's new release!

And they don't disappoint. Of course they don't. The two-man band are after all still made up of two very, very talented musicians - multi instrument handler extraordinaire Irrumator and vocal monster V.I.T.R.I.O.L. Right from the get go, after an unsettling intro on album opener and title track, and after a slow, heavy and chuggy riff that promise a slower Anaal Nathrakh - they turn around and attack at full speed - and it is evident that Anaal Nathrakh's two biggest forces are still in play - Irrumator's ability to craft some truly punishing riffs with the intensity of a buzzsaw, and V.I.T.R.I.O.L.'s frightening and awe-inspiring vocal abilities.

On top of all this, Anaal Nathrakh is in their most epic mood ever. V.I.T.R.I.O.L. changes back and forth between Emperor-esque levels of symphony in his clean vocal arrangements and his tormented wails and shrieks that blast the vocal performances of torture funeral doom bands such as Wormphlegm or Senthil straight out of the water. Seriously, sometimes it sounds like he's caged up in some medieval dungeon and on the receiving end of some white hot iron to the nuts. His talent, range and delivery literally send shivers down my spine - it is hands down the best vocal performance from Anaal Nathrakh ever, and I don't recall being so overwhelmed by the skill of a vocalist since I first listened to Chalky (ex-Psycroptic) run amok.

This symphony is also evident in the work of Irrumator. A track such as "Satanarchrist" (a re-recording from their 10 year old "Total Fucking Necro" demo) is, without the overly epic riffs that are sometimes thrown about, symphonic in a way that you would never have imagined these Brits to be - and still full of ice cold malice, desperation and violence. However, all is not symphonic or epic - he delivers some truly crushing riffs, bass lines, and drum programming. Yes, Anaal Nathrakh use a drum machine (as they always have), and it sounds perfect! Of course, the drum work's super, super fast, there's a lot of fills, almost groovy parts, small cymbal hits and so on.

Their overall sound has seen a departure from the from time to time death metal inspired "Hell Is Empty..." to the grim, industrialized sound of "The Codex Necro" mixed with the variation and symphonies of "Eschaton", and then doubled in intensity, of course. Irrumator and V.I.T.R.I.O.L. have topped themselves; there are no weak tracks on the album, and each and everyone of them are unique as well as terrifying.

All in all, "In The Constellation Of The Black Widow" hits you like a blizzard - cold as ice, with the beauty and unstoppable force of nature, and the ferocity of a storm. This album is completely, exceptionally, extremely well crafted. The two artists are as skilled as they are twisted, and the result is one of the most uncompromising albums I have heard in a long time. This is hands down the album of the year (so far), and if nothing else the extreme album of the year. GET!

Download: In The Constellation Of The Black Widow, So Be It, Blood Eagles Carved On The Backs Of Innocents, Oil Upon The Sores Of Lepers
For the fans of: Early Emperor, Mayhem

Release date 29.06.2009
Candlelight Records

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