Review Summary: A step in the right direction for the Black metal bastards of Birmingham, in which their brand of Brutal Black Metal is strongly supported by their willingness to make even the healthiest person feel sick to their stomach.
'Domine Non Es Dignus'-or, in English, 'Lord, You are not Worthy'-serves as quite an interesting title to the second album by vile black metallers Anaal Nathrakh. Then again, what else would you expect from a band that, quite plainly on their first album 'The Codex Necro', never really have let up on the virulent venom and passionate yet brutal aggression coarsing through the band's ambitious veins? .'The Codex Necro' merely introduced these most blasphemous and unholy of sinful sounds, which were very much supported by some extremely convincing sound samples of such horrific (in some critics' eyes, certainly) films as 'Event Horizon' and 'The Final Conflict'. If 'The Codex Necro' is the parent that birthed the band's voyages into slightly more popular territory, 'Domine Non es Dignus' is surely the successful child that, still to this day, has reigned victoriously albeit terrifyingly supreme.
Anaal nathrakh have always been quite a chaotically diverse band, introducing distorted voices, warped and rasped vocals, or even a nod towards such otherworldly musical influences as techno and industrial, the latter of which being more than a little prominent within the band's more recent work. What is immediately striking here however, is that nearly each and every song on 'Domine...' is introduced in a different way, no matter how large or small the difference is. There are, as on the band's debut, samples from either film ('Revaluation of all Values') or appropriately enough, the sickness of real life (opening instrumental 'I wish I could vomit Blood on you...People'). Surely enough, the band introduce some songs with actual riffs that could easily have been mistaken for those found Mayhem's 'De Mysteriis dom Sathanas' album, as on the brutally invigorating 'The Oblivion gene' and literary homage to one of Celtic Frost's most well-known opuses,'Procreation of the Wretched'. Sure, avid listeners of extreme metal who lust for basic, fundamental riffs may despise the use of narrative dialogue and warped distortion, but it is clear that the band only sought to carry out their brand of vicious music.
So why is this album constantly lumped in with the Black metal Genre? The answer to that question is in fact very easy to grasp: Blastbeats, ultra-fast drumbeats and the most unholy of vocals on EVERY SINGLE SONG. Of course, plenty of people get bored listening to the same musical formula in one single album, but Anaal Nathrakh never really were a band set out to sound like nothing else. They just wanted to show the world just how good their brand of extreme metal is. However, it isn't merely the music that displays the chaotic nature of the band, but the lyrics and titles themselves. Take 'To err is Human, to Dream-Futile' for example, a title that, for those who are more than just a little interested in the english language (Ironic that Anaal Nathrakh are from Birmingham, arguably one of the founding homes of all that is metal), conveys an image of power and greed across the whole of humanity. Then there is the title of closing track 'Rage, rage against this dying Light', taken from the famous Dylan Thomas Poem 'Do not go gently into that good Night'. No, the band are not suckers for 20th century poetry. Instead, whereas the poem itself displays a somewhat relaxing and melodious piece of literature, Anaal nathrakh's 'Rage...' is filled with so much sinful spittle of venom that you can almost feel yourself vomiting just from the sheer power of the lyrics contained within.
I have mentioned before how Anaal Nathrakh never have been a band to change their sound so much that they are referred to a completely different genre, but that doesn't mean to say the band don't change the nature of their musical formula once in a while. One thing fans of the band will certainly be familiar withis their emphatic use of clean vocals on latter albums such as 'In the Constellation of the black Widow' and 'Passion'. On 'Domine...', there are definitely instances in which this vocals range is used. Some way through 'To err is human...' both V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and Ventnor step out of the comfort zone slightly and sing as if they were in a choir, albeit one that could have been created by an angel of Hell itself. Even on the album's longest song, 'This cannot be the End', clean vocals basically take charge and are the chorus' main attraction, though this 'attraction' isn't at all attractive to merely everyone.
The band also dip into melodic and epic territory, found oftentimes within the genre of Symphonic and Classical Black metal. 'Do not Speak', in which a very intelligently used narrative from 'Hellraiser' ensues (and let's face it, who doesn't lust to hear the twisted evil of 'Jesus...wept' again and again?), displays the band's brief forays into melodic solo work and the brilliant imagery of a religious war, thanks to the band's clever interweaving of clean vocals against the barrage of Black metal riffs thundering around.
As an extreme metal fan, it is very hard to find anything here that the band do weakly, but there are certainly little things that can frustrate anybody. 'The Oblivion Gene', whilst its presence on the album is that of a vitally important one, features a slight use of vocals found within a Hardcore or Metalcore band, where it seems every member of the band are shouting the lyrics rather than screaming them chaotically. Then there is the most obvious of them all, the fact that every single blastbeat and riff sounds virtually the same in the first half of the album, which is thankfully changed around slightly in the second half of the album, wherein the band take several steps out of their comforts zones, and show the world they are not as simply as one perceives them to be.
It is interesting how fortunately famous Anaal Nathrakh have become in the Extreme Metal underground scene of late, particularly since their victorious approach to try something largely new on 'In the Constellation of the Black Widow' and 'Passion'. 'Domine...' does not change the band's perceptions and beliefs, but certainly makes them known amongst an unexpecting crowd.