Hang on to your hats and bolt everything down, there’s a new hurricane about to hit and forget girly names this one’s called Nathrakh. There’s something entirely honest about Anaal Nathrakh, you pretty much know exactly where you stand when you press play on a new album every couple of years and with 10th album ‘A New Kind Of Horror’ preconceived ideas are likely spot on when you are thrown headlong into 33 minutes of sonic obliteration over 10 new numbers. Horrendous, mangled, savage industrialised noise is what you get from one of the most extreme bands out there. Dave Hunt has described this as “bitter, vengeful, sarcastic, sardonic, violent, terrified and horrified” and who are we to disagree. He has been spurred this time around particularly by the horrors of WWI but this is not an album that triumphs over things but dwells in the misery and suffering of the terrible conflict taking us through the solemn and humanist side of it all as relayed by the poets of the time and even the letters of DH Lawrence as inspiration. Mick Kenney has as ever created a heaving musical quagmire to perfectly co-ordinate the harried vocal stance and has although worked as usual pretty much on his own drafted in a couple of guests such as Bleeding Through vocalist Brandan Schieppati and a mysterious entity apparently only known as Danny The Complete Lunatic. Curious, time to jump down the rabbit hole!
Taking us down ‘The Road To…’ the album heralds Armageddon with a threatening low throb and the sound of armaments set to explode over some weird baritone singing sounding muffled like a ghost from a WWI music hall just after it has been bombed mid performance. We literally fly into ‘Obscene As Cancer’ and a sound as nasty and malevolent as its subject matter. Gibbering like a zombie the frontman harangues and the weltering music insanely hits from every angle, multi layered but not without harmony. The first power croon hits marvellously, soaring with a feeling of giddy joy almost at odds with everything else going on. Rabid gibbers are deranged and hungering for blood, it’s as fast and manic as anything you could possibly look for in the music of extremity. A void like horn calls reminding of a Hellraiser type construction revolving around and firing out lasers as everything it touches explodes into blood and gore. ‘The Reek Of Fear’ is definitely in the air and the high notes hit probably the most insane pitch yet encountered from the band and sound like Rob Halford has entered a world of the very insane. Styles lurch and groove, there are hints of everything from industrial to dubstep buried in deep and whatever the BPM count is it has gone right through the roof.
Tracks do their job and get outta town and onto the next flattening mass, every number is generally between 3-4 minutes and provides a right brutal battering. Occasional vocal parts can be deciphered, the words “it will all be over by Christmas” on Forward sounds like a determined frontline troop going towards death on the battlefield but as history told us spirited heroism was not a part of this grim war, it went on and futility and exponential body count was the only resulting folly. Some symphonic undertones hit amidst ‘New Bethlehem/Mass Death Futures’ and it feels like everything including the kitchen sink is being thrown at us. However there is melody embedded too and along with the clean vocals it is as magnificent as the opposing battery is grim and violent. You don’t have to go into the subject matter, in fact it could be lost in the musical deluge. I will no doubt buy this (it would be criminal not to) and will indulge myself in the hopefully included lyrics. They strike as being very important here and I feel I am missing out a bit. This is particularly the case with some spoken oration on ‘Vi Coactus.’ If you want to take things on a primal level you should have no problem especially with a number like ‘Mother Of Satan’ though screaming out entreaties to the dark side with wild abandon and compelling you to join in with their call. With a finale poetically entitled ‘Are We Fit for Glory Yet? (The War to End Nothing)’ one can’t help but think back to school learning the words of people like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon teaching us that war is indeed hell. One thing we weren’t set up for though was its musical equivalent, make no mistake that here Anaal Nathrakh have well and truly provided it. The horror… the horror.
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)