Necro Lives
CoC interviews V.I.T.R.I.O.L. of Anaal Nathrakh
by: Pedro Azevedo
When I found Anaal Nathrakh's demo inside my mail box in Portugal some time ago [CoC #43], I was certainly impressed by the sheer ferocity of the music contained therein. One detail went unnoticed, however: they were from Birmingham. Having moved to the charming town of Warwick (England) by the time I received the band's _Total Fucking Necro_ CD [CoC #48], looking at their contact address I suddenly realized I was now living less than 40 kilometres away from the dwelling place of this relentless musical entity. Of what relevance this is to this interview is questionable, since I still opted to communicate with the band via e-mail (I was unable to record phone conversations at the time). However, having visited Birmingham and having found it a rather lacking in amiability and somehow harsh itself compared to most of the other places I've been to in England, the fact that Anaal Nathrakh's so-called "necro metal" came from Birmingham started making more sense to me. Then again, the band's extreme disenchantment with mankind in general is hardly bound by such frontiers; read on if you wish to find out more.

CoC: What was it that originated the formation of Anaal Nathrakh? What made you want to convey such a level of aggression through music?

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: Originally, we met through other bands, and ended up performing in an old band together. We've been friends since then, several years now, and we have always shared something of a musical vision. So it was quite natural for Anaal Nathrakh to come out the way it has -- we just made the music that the two of us thought music should sound like. In terms of conveying such massive aggression, Anaal Nathrakh is a vent, it lets out some of the sound that's in my head.

CoC: Though you haven't made any lyrics available (that I know of), the liner notes on the CD certainly indicate you're less than happy about this world. Would you like to expand on that? Is it more about mankind and civilisation itself, or about humanity, the human condition and existence?

V: Our lyrics will never be made available. In sentiment, Anaal Nathrakh is an expression of the blackest part of our psyches. I have none of the pretensions of people like Dead, the guy from Mayhem who killed himself. He seemed to think he was some sort of non-human creature inhabiting this planet by mistake or something. I'd put it more like Anaal Nathrakh displays a certain viewpoint, a very disturbed one, but a viewpoint nonetheless; it's an outlet for it -- it runs as follows: mankind is the source of some of the most ridiculous stupidity, the most unadulterated deceit and barbarism imaginable. Surely there is plenty to be less than happy with there. Civilisation has, despite its achievements, produced types of people that make me feel physically sick with their pettiness, their arrogance, their blindness, their lack of scope. If the human condition is one of being eternally confronted with the philosophical "other", and being made to continually feel disgust, if existence is synonymous with an ever present repulsion and hatred for the "life" that seethes everywhere before us like some tumour, does it really come as a surprise that some people should feel less than happy about this world? No master/slave dialectics, no self affirmation implied by the act of killing, just repulsion and a desire to be rid of presentations of "life". Even further, despite already to a greater or lesser extent wallowing in its own repugnance, mankind amounts to a disaster waiting to happen. A race of idiots, fucking idiots, that invents moralities and religions to defend inbred prejudices that it doesn't even perceive, let alone understand, and to divert attention from the fact that it feels incapable of existing on its own justification. And further than this, that were it to be capable of existing on its own as some members of the species seem to be, it would still be totally incapable of a single truly, radically original thought. It's not hard to see how extreme misanthropy would result from a viewpoint like that. However, there's a sick enjoyment taken in bathing in the shit. A perverse medium is struck between out and out hatred for your fellow man and revelling in the filth, like taking joy in a horrible disease. I would go on, but I tend to get carried away. Maybe it sounds a bit of an insane perspective, but so be it.

CoC: You are from Birmingham, home of Black Sabbath and Napalm Death -- has that had any influence on you?

V: If that means "Are Black Sabbath and Napalm Death influences on Anaal Nathrakh?", the answer is definitely no. In the sense that all people are to a greater or lesser extent products of their environment, I suppose it's inescapable. It's true that people from our background would be hard pushed to experience the world in the same way as people from vastly different backgrounds -- that's one reason why I find it somewhat ridiculous that bands from the Southern hemisphere would want to try to emulate the Norwegians, for example, but still, they have tried. A lack of originality, I suppose. Can you believe I once heard of a band from down there trying to call themselves nordic nationalists or some such? Flipping idiots. Coming from what is essentially a deferential, non-affluent industrial background cannot help but make a person who's got a lot of rage anyway even more misanthropic. In that sense, Birmingham does have an influence, and perhaps that's something that contributed to the bands you mentioned as well.

CoC: Where does the name Anaal Nathrakh come from? And what is the origin of that opening sample in which you can hear it?

V: The sample's from the film "Excalibur", a film about the Arthurian legend. The phrase "Anaal Nathrakh" is from the charm used to awaken the Dragon, which in the context of the film is a sort of omnipresent, extremely powerful force that can be bent to one's will in part, but is vastly destructive. We thought that fitted in with what we wanted to achieve when we started the band. It is also thought by some that biblical references to Leviathan, or elsewhere to "the great dragon", are among the only references to devils that cannot be resolved as simple linguistic corruptions and the like, such as Beelzebub merely originating from a very old, semi-benevolent god.

CoC: How satisfied are you with what you have achieved so far, musically and in terms of production? I understand you had some difficulties with the production for both of your demos, but the final result still worked for me. What changes can we expect to find in your new material sound-wise?

V: I personally am quite satisfied. Musically, I would not work with anything I did not believe in, and the results appear to have touched many people in the way we wanted. We have had excellent reactions from some very interesting people, and it looks likely to continue. The production so far has been naturally very raw, but I think it gets the point across: problems or otherwise. It's not as if Anaal Nathrakh is about transparent clarity in its acoustic sections -- this is about fucking insane violence! The new material is much better sounding, much "better produced", but I defy anyone who hears it not to feel the harshness. Overproduced Cradle of Borgilth this is not.

CoC: What about the music itself? How do you think it will evolve in the future?

V: Our new material is extremely savage, more so than our earlier songs, and I think that will continue. I know it will. It has to. There is also a disturbing current in some of our music, and I see that getting more pronounced. More of a refinement than a progression as such. More elements might be incorporated, but only in such a way as they fit in with our vision of Anaal Nathrakh. Compromising, wimping out, keyboards and female singing etc. are NOT on the fucking cards...

CoC: What was it about Mayhem that made you want to cover one track of theirs on each of your demos? What other bands do you feel Anaal Nathrakh is related to in some way?

V: I remember hearing _De Mysteriis dom Sathanas_ for the first time -- I bought it the day it came out, in fact. That was a long time ago, some seven years or so, but I can still listen to it today and get a real sense of "the Mayhem feeling" -- I don't think virtually anything else I've heard can do that. Maybe it's something to do with a certain mystique that undeniably surrounded the band back then. I think there's a certain relation in spirit between Anaal Nathrakh and bands like Darkthrone and Gorgoroth, but really we don't tend to consider outside influences very much. We concentrate on the feeling we're trying to convey.

CoC: Now that your two demos have been released on CD, what is the band planning to do in terms of future releases? And what's the situation label-wise?

V: We have just (as in today, September 13th) finished the recording of our new material. A whole album of the most necro metal ever heard, and it's good. Very good. So we are going to take it to labels and tell them we don't need money to pay for recording an album, we just need them to release what we already have. Hopefully a decent label will realise they can get somewhere with the material and sign us up. We've had some contact with certain labels, and I am confident something will present itself.

CoC: Any plans of getting Anaal Nathrakh to play live in front of an audience? What's the story behind the band you do play live in, Mistress?

V: Anaal Nathrakh live isn't out of the question. Were we to find, most importantly, a drummer who could play our set live, then maybe. At the moment we're unlikely to be getting the likes of Hellhammer, so for now it's a possibility rather than a likelihood. It would be cool, but unless it was just right, we wouldn't do it. Mistress is unrelated to Anaal Nathrakh in anything other than the vocals being extreme. I have got into trouble in the past because of being too unpredictable/abusive/violent at gigs. Maybe it's a good idea that Anaal Nathrakh don't play live at the moment after all... With AN it would be more focused though. I'd like to see it live myself.

CoC: Care to leave a message for our readers?

V: Be aware that we are not about to quit, compromise, dilute our vision or anything else, for anyone. And we are not about to go away. Anaal Nathrakh is coming... Only death is real.


(article submitted 25/10/2000)

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