Review Summary: Black Metal bullshit kept to a minimum. Creativity is top-notch. One of the most inventive album's you'll ever hear.Anaal Nathrakh
- (Michael Kenney)- Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming
– (Dave Hunt)- Vocals
is a very difficult band to review. Their style is unmatched in the world of metal, so slapping a genre on them is no easy task; this alone makes Eschaton
a very worthwhile listen. They originally started as a raw black metal band, but over time have incorporated elements of grindcore, industrial, and thrash into their sound to create ambitious soundscapes capable of ripping through your eardrums. In a world where pretty much every idea in music has been used and abused, these guys push the boundaries of what a metal band can be. Calling this a black metal album simply does not do it justice because some very unconventional elements are found here: clean vocals, crystal clear production, melody, and harmony to name a few. That is not to say that this album is easily accessible by any means.
After being a fan of all sorts of extreme metal for the past five years, I can honestly say that not much scares me anymore. The most guttural growls sound like birds chirping, bone-crushing blast beats send a warm tingling down my spine. I have been desensitized to the most abrasive forms of music known to man. But each time I listen to this record I am utterly terrified. This is not to say that Anaal Nathrakh
relies on conventional methods of scaring their audience such as corpse paint, spikey pants, satan worship, or other black metal clichés. Rather, they rely on creating a complex arrangement of nice that is utterly horrifying and unparalleled by any other band.
Between *** and Piss We Are Born
is a personal favorite of mine. It starts out with one of the most blasphemous riffs I have ever heard, kind of reminiscent of Emperor
, and almost out of nowhere switches to another riff that reminds me of Kreator’s Pleasure to Kill. This song may be the most accessible on the album because of the clean vocal breaks during the chorus, but that doesn’t keep the rest of the song from relentlessly assaulting your skull. Although this album is full of tempo-changes and genre-breaks, it does not sound completely schizophrenic like other bands whom rely on similar techniques (Dillinger Escape Plan, Genghis Tron, Sleep Terror
), rather it finds comfort in this array of chaos. These switches are made almost effortlessly so that the songs still have some kind of cohesion rather than being a bloody mess of genre’s, riffs, and solos scattered throughout one song.
The Destroying Angel
is a fairly straightforward track- it really captures the beauty of the album. VITRIOL’s vocal range is displayed beautifully from his ruthless growls, to his raspy scream, to his sorcerer-esque howl, it is evident that this guy’s vocal cords have an amazing capacity. The song structure here is fairly simple compared to other tracks, but a nice solo is thrown in the mix to spice things up. The solos found this album are definitely not typical of black metal. I would expect to find these kinds of squealing harmonics on a Vader
album rather than on a black metal album.
Waiting for the Barbarians
is another must listen. It starts out slow, with a riff that is very evocative of Behemoth, but quickly erupts into a spastic blend of harsh growls, raspy screams, and jaw dropping riffs capable of pulling out your scalp. What’s nice about Anaal Nathrakh
is that instead of composing their songs out of a muddle of chords, melodies, and tempos, they come back to some extremely catchy riffs that keep the album listenable.
Also, even through the drums throughout this album are programmed, they do not sound entirely robotic. Irrumator has compiled some very crisp drum samples, and has thrown some nice fills in the mix, which almost makes one forget that they aren’t using a real drummer. That being said, the drum tracks aren’t so over-the-top to where it would be impossible for someone to play. Also Irrumator throws some very interesting synth tracks into the mix (Regression to the Mean
), which keeps the album interesting without overwhelming the overall sound.
In an industry where creativity is limited and safe sounds are duplicated day by day, Anaal Nathrakh
is here to save us from the disposable “in one ear and out the other” music that dominates the mainstream of heavy music. Simply put, these guys do not give a flying *** whether or not people will buy their albums; they are here to bring something new to the table, a very admirable effort.
While this album is not friendly to your ears by any means, they incorporate a solid amount of material into their songs to keep the listener from not getting lost in their array of chaos, confusion, and disorder. All this being said, this is one of the most uncanny albums you will ever listen to. So pick it up with open ears and you will be amazed at the places that metal is capable of going.