The U.K. duo Anaal Nathrakh largely sit alone at the intersection of three seemingly unrelated subgenres. Blackened industrial grindcore is an apt description, as Anaal Nathrakh combine the harsh vocals and atmosphere of black metal with insanely fast, programmed percussion blastbeats and a hint of the machine like cadence of industrial noise.
The Whole Of The Law is the ninth full-length album from Anaal Nathrakh, and is typical of the band’s current approach. The programmed drums are insanely fast, the riffs are furious, and the screeches from V.I.T.R.I.O.L. are as abrasive as they come.
The music is extremely loud, courtesy of a production that gives each instrument a huge sound, and the music tends to knock you flat with a whirlwind of noise.
However, wade in deeper and you’ll find a great deal of melody with plenty of soaring, high pitched operatic vocals. Enhancing the melodic vocals are keyboards, which tend to reveal symphonic black metal as an influence upon Anaal Nathrakh’s overall sound. All the while, even within the melodic passages, the drumming is generally still lightning fast and the riffs fly out fast and furious. Occasionally, a few guitar solos appear here and there and the pace slows a bit, only to pick up immediately a few moments later.
Truth be told, though, Anaal Nathrakh’s assault tends to blend in, even with the variety, and the in your face cacophony of noise is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But, Anaal Nathrakh provide just enough variety to keep the absorbed listener guessing, especially when the melodic moments make their appearance.
A big, but welcome, surprise is a cover of “Powerslave” deep within the album, played in Anaal Nathrakh’s style. Strangely enough, the song works and serves as a nice example of how even the more extreme subgenres within metal are still influenced by the great bands, albums, and songs of yesteryear.
(released October 28, 2016 on Metal Blade Records)