Anaal Nathrakh are a Birmingham-based extreme metal duo formed in 1999 who fuse black metal, grindcore, death metal and industrial metal to have their distinct version of extreme metal. The name comes from Merlin’s Charm of Making in John Boorman’s 1981 film Excalibur. According to Michael Everson’s transcription, Anaal Nathrakh means “serpent’s breath”.
Enough history. Let’s talk about their latest release, Vanitas, which has Anaal Nathrakh up to their old tricks on their seventh album. They have a formula that works for them and they stick with it. For some bands, that works and for others it does not. For Anaal Nathrakh, it definitely works. While you know pretty much what is coming, it is performed so well that you do not care. What Anaal Nathrakh does prove time and time again is that their sound does mature with each passing release.
If I had to say how things were slightly different with Vanitas, I would say that it was a little melodic than previous releases, but Anaal Nathrakh is not a melodic band by any means. They are as blackened as any blackened metal band and as heavy as anyone out there.
The vocals, which seem to be the biggest complaint from metal fans about Anaal Nathrakh, are sharp and raspy at times and nearly clean during melodic elements of the music. Some of the more melodic tracks are To Spite the Face and Forging Towards the Sunset, the former of which probably turns in the best vocal performance on Vanitas.
Overall, if you are an Anaal Nathrakh fan, you will like Vanitas very much. I am enjoying the hell out of it and I never called Anaal Nathrakh one of my favorites.
Vanitas Track Listing:
1. The Blood-Dimmed Tide
2. Forging Towards the Sunset
3. To Spite the Face
4. Todos Somos Humanos
5. In Coelo Quies, Tout Finis Ici Bas
6. You Canâ€™t Save Me, So Stop F*cking Trying
7. Make Glorious The Embrace of Saturn
8. Feeding the Beast
9. Of Fire, And F*cking Pigs
10. A Metaphor for the Dead
Also Available From Anaal Nathrakh:
In the Constellation of the Black Widow (2009)