Friday, July 31, 2009

Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow

Just the mere mention of the name Anaal Nathrakh is enough to make you run for cover as the fearsome Brit duo load, lock and take aim once again with brand spanking new album In the Constellation of the Black Widow. Paving the way for a new extreme that gravitates far beyond the usual metal clich├ęs, this new album smashes down yet more boundaries serving up a raw as shit plate of insanely brutal black, death and grind that is by far the most distinguished and complete sounding Anaal Nathrakh album to date.

Expansion is the word that can best describe how In the Constellation of the Black Widow differs from their previous releases, still able to make listeners ears fold in on themselves while including healthy doses of well-placed melody that even with VITRIOL’s maniac screams remain wholly digestible. Both him and Mick Kenney ( have hardly deviated from the course initially plotted on their 2001 debut, The Codex Necro. However, they have gradually added new layers of rigid extremity that are somehow digestible amidst the massive sonic boom that is struck from the get-go. Seriously, who wouldn’t run for cover once the strands of the title track and go-for-broke “More of Fire Than Blood” take aim and open fire?

After a brief intro, the opening track In The Constellation Of The Black Widow launches like a punch to the gut, vaulting out of the gate at lightning speed with frenetic drums and a wall of extremity. Throat ripping screams and growls are tempered by brief melodic vocals. The melodic vocals get more of a showcase on songs like More Of Fire Than Blood, which has plenty of intensity, but also eases up from time to time.Terror In The Mind Of God blends majestic black metal atmosphere with misanthropic guitars and a amazingly catchy melody while The Lucifer Effect has some downright groovy moments amongst the brutality. The closing track Blood Eagles Carved On The Back Of Innocents brings things to a crushing close with distorted vocals and nonstop blast beats.

After all this massive heart-stopping effort from these guys, the only thing that leaves you disappointed is the lack of any surprise element in the album. Still, if you're looking for music that's guaranteed to scare the shit out of your neighbors or need an appropriate soundtrack for that nuclear war the news media keeps hinting at in the not too distant future, this class act have raised the bar well beyond the reach of practically every extreme metal outfit in existence.

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