Anaal Nathrakh - _Vanitas_
(Candlelight Records, 2012)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (7.5 out of 10)
Sometimes, very small incidents happen in the life of a metalhead that really shine a light on how much this person listens to some of the most obscure forms of sound that exist on earth. Allow me to use myself as an example. One time, while browsing through my music library, my girlfriend noticed something called grindcore and she spontaneously asked me what it was. I remember approximately ten seconds of me just staring blankly and trying to come up with something concise to answer this dastardly question of hers. Also worth mentioning that this beautiful young lady is very aware of the existence of black metal and is quite familiar with many death metal bands.

So after my short explanation, I pointed out that there's a band out there that is being labeled as "industrial black-grind". I speak of course of the English juggernaut that is known under the name Anaal Nathrakh. This was met with a very neutral shrug that, in hindsight, showed me how deep metalheads can go into the underground without even realizing it.

If someone ever asks me to list 100 of the easiest metal bands to get into, Anaal Nathrakh would be nowhere in sight. I started following them since 2007's _Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here_ and their output has been solid all the way up to and including this year's _Vanitas_, but never at any point have I found it easy to delve into this meticulously calculated aural tornado that is Anaal Nathrakh.

"The Blood Dimmed Tide" kicks off _Vanitas_ in typical Anaal Nathrakh fashion, but it's "Forging Towards the Sunset" that really fires the album up to maximum brutality. The vocals sway masterfully from obscure shrieks to epic cleans to deep growls all supported by some of the finest melodic tremolo picking these blokes have come up with. "Todos Somos Humanos" has some creative industrial beats and a very evil aura, while "Of Fire, and Fucking Pigs" amps up the viciousness even more. The album is delivered with a high degree of viciousness that hardly ever wanes throughout its thirty-eight minute span. The only point where the brutality is toned downed for a little while is the short lived guitar solo at the end of "In Coelo Quies, Tout Finis Ici Bas".

Despite the disturbing sounds of someone choking, "Make Glorious the Embrace of Saturn" has successfully produced the album's most intense blast 'n' trill chorus. "Feeding the Beast" is also one of the stronger highlights on _Vanitas_, but all these highlights really aren't obvious during the first listen. This album needs time to grow on you so that these moments of brilliance, which are plenty, start to dominate your attention span.

I think it would be a bit futile to try to look for any nuances separating _Vanitas_ from last year's _Passion_, since both have been released within a short period of each other. That doesn't really allow Anaal Nathrakh to recede to the cave and start carving out a new sound. And when you can churn out two top-notch albums in quick succession like that, why on earth wouldn't you?

Contact: https://www.facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial

(article published 12/29/2012)


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