I’ve been cycling back around to the first sentence of this review for a day now; how do I say Anaal Nathrakh are comparatively more accessible than they’ve ever been, without giving anyone the impression that they are at all accessible because they are most certainly not? I guess a rhetorical question will do.
If you didn’t already know, Anaal Nathrakh are a two-piece grind/death/noise/operatic mess of a band. Think Sunn 0))) being asked to write a UFC fighter’s entrance music, but were limited to using chainsaws and Pavarotti samples, and you have Anaal Nathrakh. There’s orchestral samples, unsettling and unconventional screams and screeches, quick as lightning death riffing, and the occasional hook or groove that tears out of nowhere like a Mad Max villain with a healthy dose of sexual Satanism in the lyrics. These word don’t quite give you a sense of what The Whole Of The Law sounds like, since Anaal Nathrakh can only be experienced.
Despite their idiosyncrasies and actively railing against the mainstream, they sound just a smidge closer to gaining a wider market. The unique vocals sway between being black metal screams to rhythmless, animalistic howls, challenging the notion of typical metal vocals for most metalheads. Samples, noise and sheer intensity render the overall experience of listening to Anaal Nathrakh an all or nothing situation.
This album feels like a self-assured effort, with On Being A Slave a good example of what to expect. It’s a barely controlled abattoir of noise and filth from the second it starts, but about halfway through you’re given a riff so rocking you almost forget you were being trephined. Before you can register that they’ve given you that slight concession, it’s back to the fury of it all.
As a long-time fan of Anaal Nathrakh, I loved this album front to back. The uninitiated should at least give songs like On Being A Slave and The Great Spectator a chance and second chance down the track if you don’t like either song to begin with. Eventually, there is something worthwhile to find in Anaal Nathrakh, even if you have to be in the right mood for it.