Metal Blade Records’ release schedule has been an impressive one of late with new releases from the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Revocation, Goatwhore and Anaal Nathrakh’s eighth studio album ‘Desideratum’, released on the 28th October.
Anaal Nathrakh are a difficult one to pin down in terms of genre. I’ve seen the term ‘extreme’ metal thrown around to describe them but I loathe that word being used to describe genre as it brings back horrible memories of a track from Morbid Angel’s comeback album ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’. But talking about that album would not only be massively off topic but also be like adding fuel to a fire that was extinguished around three years ago. So in this reviewer’s bull-headed opinion, Anaal Nathrakh’s combination of black, death, industrial metal and grindcore defies genre labels. Or we could call it bla-de-in-g-core. Bladeingcore.
This is a band that continues to get better with every release, although I feel they lost their way slightly with ‘Passion’; 2012’s ‘Vanitas’ put them back on track and ‘Desideratum’ solidifies their place as a focussed band with a clear direction and determination to make some of the heaviest music on the metal scene. The band teamed up with electronic producer GoreTech on this release hence the little electronic breaks and synths throughout that, although doesn’t sound like it would work on paper, really adds to the sound making it much darker than it would be without.
Uncharacteristically the album opens with an instrumental track replete with little electronic glitches and background synths on top of some heavy riffs giving the listener an insight into the mayhem to come. ‘Unleash’ is next and this is Anaal Nathrakh proper, opening with Mick Kenney’s frantic riffing, blastbeats and Dave Hunt’s absolutely inhuman shrieks. Album highlights are ‘Monstrum in Animo’ and ‘Desideratum’, both tracks somehow being reminders of ‘Codex’ era Nathrakh and fine examples of what the band have become over the years. The album has some very well placed vocal samples throughout and the title track has a feel very much like ‘Shatter the Empyrian’ from 2007’s ‘Hell is Empty’.