ANAAL NATHRAKH — Endarkenment (review)

ANAAL NATHRAKH — Endarkenment album cover Album · 2020 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Of all the extreme metal bands that has defied being filed into a given subgenre of the metal universe, the English ANAAL NATHRAKH from Birmingham has been one of the most wily of all without getting thrown into the dumping ground of avant-garde metal. The band has been in existence since 1999 and as of Oct 2020 has released its 11th album ENDARKENMENT on its long time label Metal Blade. While the band has had numerous members come and go for its live performances, ANAAL NATHRAKH is more or less the studio project of Mick Kenney who plays guitars, bass, drums and pretty much everything else! The only other member that keeps this from being a one-man band is vocalist Dave Hunt also known as V.I.T.R.I.O.L. or if you’re feeling adventurous Visita Interiora Terræ Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem.

While getting thrown into the generic holding cell of black metal for database purposes, this artist is perhaps the most successful at fusing elements of symphonic black metal with extreme kvlt black metal, death metal, grindcore and industrial music. More detailed descriptions include industrial death metal, industrial black metal or even blackened death metal but in the end there is really no other band that sounds like ANAAL NATHRAKH and this has been the case since its debut release “The Codex Necro” which ushered in the new millenium with a cauldron of extreme sounds all stewed down into a sonic maelstrom of energetic furor all the while keeping things on the catchy melodic side of things despite a freneticism of fast tempos, ugly distortion and grindcore inspired blood curdling vocal screams that will surely give you nightmares.

Stylistically not much has changed for ANAAL NATHRAKH on ENDARKENMENT with the same heavy hitting formula that its famous for. This album showcases ten tracks that clock in at just over 41 minutes and finds the band in fine form with punishing blitzkrieg deathened blackened industrial grindcore gusto that finds the perfect way to alternate the orotund energetic metal madness with melodic moments of something akin to blackened power metal with clean epic vocal parts, suave symphonic backings and what sounds like a tug of war between the ugly aggression of the death and black elements with the epic uplifting ones. Either way you slice it, blackened power metal or grinding deathened black, ANAAL NATHRAKH are masters of a universe of their own making.

The album wastes no time busting down the doors and delivers a relentless grindcore explosiveness for the album’s entire run but key moments of lightning quick silence are added for contrast’s sake. Generally speaking the album focuses on rampaging tempos with the death / black / core elements in explosive tumult but moments of industrial bleakness and uplifting epic clean metal power metal verses come and go and sometimes there’s even a beauty and beast affect with the two styles trading off. The effect is quite satisfying and very successful given the power production has captured the spirit of the album perfectly as it retains that evil as fuck extreme metal bleakness but offers rays of light through the juxtaposed triumphant clean singing style. The incessant riffing also finds some contrast with soaring guitar sweeps and lightning quick solos.

ANAAL NATHRAKH has crafted a unique extreme metal niche that i really never tire of. Listening to any of their albums scratches many itches simultaneously and ENDARKENMENT clearly follows that trend with all those amazing attributes of ANAAL NATHRAKH on display once again. Perhaps this album doesn’t develop the band’s sound in any particular direction but each and every track is excellent even if albums tend to sound very similar in style. The devil is in the details of course and the way the band pulls off these unorthodox moves of fusing these disparate styles together without sounding like a major cheese-fest is quite the accomplishment especially when those power metal melodic guitar solos and epic glee of the gods is in full regalia. The only other act i can think of having come close to this sort of thing was Necrophagist but unlike that German oddity, ANAAL NATHRAKH seems to be in this game for the long run. Another triumphant march of the restless ones!
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Tupan wrote:
44 days ago
So, this is the meaning of V.I.T.R.I.O.L.? Wow. Anyways, great review, I think I slightly prefer the former album over this one, but still a contender for AOTY.

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