Anaal Nathrakh - _Domine Non Es Dignus_
(Season of Mist, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face... forever."

This George Orwell quote at the beginning of third track "Do Not Speak" provides no indication of what happens about one minute into the song: Anaal Nathrakh doing a melodic chorus with clean vocals a la Emperor and a King Diamond-ish shriek at the end. True enough, the album opens up with a typically necro intro in the shape of the evocatively titled "I Wish I Could Vomit Blood on You... People" and the ripping black metal of "The Oblivion Gene". However, by then the Anaal Nathrakh connoisseur will have already noticed the vast changes in production, instrumental subtlety (including the occasional guitar solo), and even the debut of a (very quick) human drummer in place of their traditional drum machine.

Next up is "Procreation of the Wretched", which returns to more recognizable Anaal Nathrakh territory in spite of the line-up and production changes -- but still there seems to be a much greater concern with technical detail than before. There may be another King Diamond hint or two to be found, but AN's traditional insane screamed vocals definitely suit the music. The track also happens to be damn good, much like its predecessors. The strange beginning of next track "To Err Is Human, To Dream -- Futile" hints at another trip into the unexpected however, and indeed a couple of minutes into the track we get some sort of Eastern-like influences, which are never again heard on the record. The second half of the album presents another good collection of tracks, but revolves around pretty much the same elements; it's enjoyable if you like the rest of the album, but doesn't bring any significant novelties into the mix.

Anyone who knows Anaal Nathrakh from _The Codex Necro_ will likely be left wondering what happened to the band in order to cause such deep changes. Whatever it was, the results are mixed: some new elements work very well (e.g., improved guitar work, human drumming), while others are detrimental (e.g., decrease in savagery, some of the clean vocals). _Domine Non Es Dignus_ takes a lot of getting used to if you really like old Anaal Nathrakh, but it can become a rather cracking album. My interest tends to dissipate somewhat after the first few tracks, and I miss the sheer extremity and viciousness of _The Codex Necro_; but there is no taking away from the quality of _Domine Non Es Dignus_. Anaal Nathrakh have created an album that may well launch them into much greater notoriety in the future -- something that those who have accompanied the band since their inception would have found hard to believe... until now.

Contact: http://www.anaal-nathrakh.tk

(article published 11/29/2004)


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