Anaal Nathrakh

The Codex Necro

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Anaal Nathrakh introduced the world to their devastating maelstrom of black and death metal, grindcore and industrial music with 2001's astonishing The Codex Necro, almost singlehandedly pushing England back into the forefront of global musical extremity in the process. More astounding still, this incredibly radical and complex sonic vision (think Ministry on crack, piped up straight from the very depths of hell) was the work of but two men: the demonic duo of vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (aka Dave Hunt, of Benediction and Mistress) and self-sufficient songwriter, guitarist, bassist, and drums/keyboards programmer Irrumator (aka Mick Kenney of Frost, Mistress, Exploder, etc.), both of whom had spent the better part of three years orchestrating this inexorable, sensory-overloading debut. Indeed, there are so many things going on during any given track here that simple stamina quickly becomes the skeleton key to deciphering (and withstanding) The Codex Necro's "anything (heavy) goes" stylistic potpourri. This in spite of the especially raw production standards employed throughout (noticeably rawer than Anaal Nathrakh's later-day efforts), thus forcing listeners to earn their sonic just desserts amid the densely layered guitar parts, rumbling roars, and nails-on-chalkboard screeches, blastbeat after blastbeat, needlework synthesizer patterns, and abundant spoken word dialogues taken from this film or that. Before it's all said and done, insanity is a distinct possibility -- as are widespread plaudits placing The Codex Necro on many metal publications' "best album of the month," "year," even "decade" lists -- and deservingly so. [The 2006 reissue of The Codex Necro by Earache Records tacked on four rare live performances from a 2003 BBC Radio 1 session curated by the legendary John Peel; quite a treat considering that Anaal Nathrakh very rarely take their music beyond studio walls.]

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