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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

REVIEW: Anaal Nathrakh's 'Vanitas'

Anaal Nathrakh
Black Metal / Grindcore
Birmingham UK

Many great pillars of heavy metal have originated in or had ties to the genre’s hometown of Birmingham, UK.  Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Napalm Death to name but a few, (there must be something in the water), but does the home of metal still deliver? The simple answer to the question is Anaal Nathrakh.
‘Vanitas’ is the 9th offering from Birmingham’s own industrial-black-metal-necro-merchants.
The band started as a two piece studio project with Dave Hunt (V.I.T.R.I.O.L) 
on vocals and Mick Kenny (IRRUMATOR) on just about everything else. As time has progressed several live units have been assembled but the duo still dominate the writing and recording process.
The album opener, ‘The Blood-Dimmed Tide’ starts with an eerie choral chant, and immediately afterwards it becomes clear that the industrial elements that featured heavily in the band’s debut album ‘The Codex Necro’ are back again to add to the madness. As the song progresses, the usual bombardment of supersonic drumming and unholy screaming that is a trade mark of Anaal Nathrakh glides the listener through the song to a rewarding melodic chorus with the initial chanting present underneath.
Songs such as ‘Forging towards the sunset’ and ‘A metaphor for the dead’ show the evolution of the clean vocals which have been creeping up more and more in the last few ‘Nathrakh releases – this album has a great balance of the two vocal styles, allowing some majestic melodies within the music without removing the band from the extremes of speed and brutality.
The album is rich with melody and the production is defiantly more easy for the new fan to engage with, but don’t think this album won’t leave you with bleeding ears carved by this monster of a band.

Vanitas is available now through Candlelight Records

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