Hailing from the birth place of heavy metal is only fitting for Birmingham extreme metal duo Anaal Nathrakh. Pushing and arguably tearing apart the boundaries set out by their metal forefathers before them, vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L and programmer Mick Kenney have spent 20 years displaying the various different ways music can be simultaneously bound together and torn apart in the most abrasive and jarring of fashions.
10th offering ‘A New Kind of Horror’ is no exception. Exploring and reflecting on the devastation caused by The Great War 100 years ago, Anaal Nathrakh manage to find new ways to terrify and unsettle listeners. With ‘The Road to…’ bracing listeners for the impending aural annihilation, single ‘Obscene as Cancer’ is an unrelenting assault on the senses. Both musically and lyrically the song transports the listener straight into the trenches of WW1, desperately clutching their rifle and praying to whatever higher power can hear them over the gun fire and screams. If you struggle to imagine that, the video also sums it up fairly perfectly. ‘The Reek of Fear’ is similarly unrelenting, you wouldn’t expect there to ever be any let up on an Anaal Nathrakh record but some of the vocal effects on this record are other worldly and frankly shit-scary.
By far and away the highlight of the record is teaser track ‘Forward!’. Kitted out with a ‘wall-punching’ pummelling intro riff layered with the sound of a machine gun, the imagery the song conjures up is exactly what it feels like this album is trying to achieve. There’s another dimension to the music than you would usually expect – vivid hallucinations of the horrors they set out to depict. The stand-out scream of “This’ll All Be Over By Christmas!” also hits home at the naivety of some of the men who went to war and also the propaganda used by the government to try and convince soldiers to sign up – a truly terrifying and heart-breaking thought in its own right.
Unfortunately, despite starting off strong and almost literally all guns blazing, the album seems to lose its charm from here on out. For die hard fans of the band and extreme metal generally, there is plenty of speed and chaos on offer especially in tracks such as ‘The Apocalypse is About You!’ but there’s not a great deal that jumps out as being particularly inspiring or fresh from V.I.T.R.I.O.L and Mick Kenney. The shock and terror elicited from the first few tracks goes from being exciting and dangerous to fairly exhausting.
As extreme albums go, you really can’t take anything away from the masters of the genre, it just would have been nice to see the something that set each of the tracks apart from each other. ‘Are We Fit for Glory Yet? (The War to End Nothing)’ changes the pace by a few BPM but doesn’t do enough to save the record.
The Road to…
Obscene as Cancer
The Reek of Fear
New Bethlehem / Mass Death Futures
The Apocalypse is About You!
Mother of Satan
The Horrid Strife
Are We Fit for Glory Yet? (The War to End Nothing)
Anaal Nathrakh are:
Mick Kenney - guitars/bass/programming
V.I.T.R.I.O.L - vocals
You can find them at: