Anaal Nathrakh


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The seventh full-length release by Anaal Nathrakh finds them continuing to indulge in their way around black metal, thrash, and grindcore as they long have, and if surprises are few one gets the sense that the now veteran duo -- up to nearly 15 years of work by 2012 -- would regard that as secondary to the overall impact. If anything, they seem have found a sense of clarity amid the chaos at certain points -- by the time "To Spite the Face" comes along with the album's strongest individual song opening and an actual hummable riff, plus what could almost be (in context) something vaguely like power metal vocal acrobatics, it's the equivalent of a good deep breath after everything before it. (That this is immediately followed by "Todos Somos Humanos," with another killer introduction, a clear contrast between big and background riffs, and a stripped-down arrangement, seems even more appropriate, and had the whole album been like that the results would have been fascinating.) Otherwise, it's a lot of the engagingly familiar at most points, wallpaper music for torture chambers where song titles like "The Blood-Dimmed Tide" and the admittedly brilliant "You Can't Save Me So Stop F*cking Trying" run amuck. Sometimes it's also all down to the individual moments, like the concluding scream that's brutally cut off at the end of "Forging Towards the Sunset" or how "A Metaphor for the Dead" ends things on what's almost a hint of majesty in the arrangement, a little bit of theatricality at the end of the ultimate melodrama.

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