Album Review: A New Kind of Horror – Anaal Nathrakh

anaal nathraakh'

Anaal Nathrakh are a sonic atom bomb. There is no other way to describe a band that takes the most venomous, violent and abrasive elements of industrial, grindcore and black metal and make it all sound like you are put in a blender too, with the ingredients. It is not easy listening in any sense, but if looking for extremity – you are just in the right location.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Anaal Nathrakh is the brainchild of two Englishmen devoted to absolute audio violence. Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt (also currently in Benediction) formed Anaal Nathrakh in late 90’s and have since delivered 10 full-length albums, “A New Kind of Horror” being the latest. Their debut release “The Codex Necro” (2001) added extremely violent programmed drums to Napalm Death riffs and along with the first The Berzerker album it was updating grindcore to meet the new millennium’s standards. After” The Codex”, they kept dropping albums in rather a quick pace, but it was not until 2012 and their 7th album “Vanitas” when Anaal Nathrakh finally hit the musical bull’s eye. “Vanitas” poured out foul grind, matched it up with awe-inspiring black metal chords and topped the noise with layers of Dave Hunt’s newly found and very much Ihsahn-like clean vocals. The results were epic, yet simultaneously furious and made “Vanitas” maybe the closest thing to almighty Emperor ever to come out since the disbanding of those standard setting Norwegians. Following releases “Desideratum” (2014) and “The Whole of the Law” (2016) kept the intensity intact, but maybe failed a bit to reach the high standards of their previous musical masterpiece.

Now they are back, and with “A New Kind of Horror” Anaal Nathrakh are certainly firing on all of their apocalyptic cylinders again. The recipe might have not changed much since “Vanitas”, but the delivery has sharpened the crucial bit. In less than 33 minutes (intro included) they shake and stir, stripping all extra fat from their expression. Each and every note, sample or a sound effect seems to serve a purpose, enhancing the feel of controlled chaos in their music. Drum programming keeps the pace relentless and inhuman throughout. Industrial overtones buzz and bleep like Front Line Assembly gone mad, giving the record a nicely cold and objective quality. Like watching the global melt-down from a monitor, with chips and soda. Guitars are heavy – violent and riff-driven. Grindcore flavour spiced up with bits and pieces of Norwegian black metal. Dave Hunt screams, growls and rages away in a typical disturbing manner, only to revive the listener momentarily with those bombast and Ihsahnian clean vocals. “The Reek of Fear” even introduces a King Diamondish quality to his delivery. A lot like the high pitched screams were on “IX Equilibrium” from Emperor, back in the day.

So, it is clear that Anaal Nathrakh are not afraid to show their influences to the public, yet they have found their way with them to produce a sound that is pretty much unmatched. They have become almost like an extreme metal version of AC/DC, possessing a sound which stays more or less unchanged from record to record, but still sets them apart from anybody else in the business. It is what they are known for and in which they stand undefeated. And just like with the legendary Aussie rockers, the only real differences between the albums are in the level of songwriting. If the previous two were cases of ‘almost there’, “A New Kind of Horror” might be their best work to date. Total bloody mayhem with no fillers and compact delivery. There’s several tasty details to each song, minimal amounts of repetition and enough drum hits to match the whole Evoken discography. This is a record that is easy to spin several times in a row and get lost to it’s turbulence.

Be warned though, “A New Kind of Horror” is not music for everybody, the Extreme metal devotee rarely seeks such things anyway, but this needs to be mentioned. What we have here is art for a strict marginal alone. It will surely please the ones that enjoy the deep, over-the-top end of grindcore, black metal and industrial, but might be simply too much for quite a few. Too modern to some, overtly futuristic and computerized to another and way too close to pure migraine headache to most, but hey, if you can play an album in the background of a party without anybody complaining it really is not that extreme anymore, is it? We, the loud-loving marginal, will enjoy this album to the fullest. It is a damn good, very pissed-off listen. Extreme metal at its peak. The furthest thing from a simple, one-dimensional and repetitive blast fest, yet ripping your soul apart with ease. Noisey, but rich in detail, in many ways like the best fight scene in the action film of the year.

Rating: 4.5/5

Markus Makkonen

Find this one right here!

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