Anaal Nathrakh, Experimental, Industrial, Groove, News, 2018, Metal Blade Records, England

Genre: Experimental/Industrial/Black Metal/Grindcore
Country: U.K.
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year: 2018

Let’s assume that most of us remember what WWII was and some of its most important facts and episodes: the fighting sides, the ideological war, Stalingrad, Nazi crimes, resistance, Pearl Harbour, concentration camps, Dunkirk, D-Day, the splitting of the world and of course the reason why it started. On the other hand, WWI, known as the Great War, as it was called before the outbreak of WWII, that lasted from July 1914 ‘till the 11th of November 1918, seems like a forgotten story, as something that happened many many years ago and European peoples want to forget. 18 million dead don’t leave much space for forgetfulness though, nor can we forget the reasons that initiated it and the horror it cast upon the peoples, or stay indifferent in front of the fact that today’s situations is very much reminiscent of the bloody end of Belle Epoque. For those that don’t know or don’t remember WWI started as a result of the rising of nationalisms and hyper-imperialism, the construction of Baghdad’s railway with German funding and France’s attempt to answer to the advancing German capitalism. Leaders and peoples were convinced that a major war was impossible and that for sure a peaceful solution would be found for the crisis that was going on hundred and more years ago. In that way, the ‘Great Chimera’, from a peaceful theory became a funny utopian fairy tale and in no way the War that would end all Wars…. Similarities with today’s time make British Anal Naathrakh’s record look completely up to date as far as lyrics go (check also Bolt Thrower’s Those Once Loyal from 2005 with the same content). Of course Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt are not writing some kind of manifesto, neither would I like them to. If it becomes food for thought and concern for the listener, it would suffice. So much information is being swallowed without second thoughts, whoever puts himself into the trouble of actually reflecting on it is another win for the 2 talented musicians. As for the music now, I dare say I was expecting something more extreme. I am not saying they softened or that they dropped the levels of anger, rage and aggression. The base is still an explosive mix of black metal and industrial that meets grindcore fused with electronic elements. The fact that it is more approachable to the average listener this time is not annoying at all, I don’t think it is easy to write a catchy song without betraying your musical principles. Even though I love Hunt’s clean vocals, I am not convinced by the high pitched touches that were added, bringing in mind King Diamond or Halford, an element they had also in the predecessor The Whole Of The Law. I also think that the Dimmu Borgir keyboard moments are out of context, if not discrepant, and make the outcome sound cheap. I am not annoyed by the attempt of throwing in some melodies under the sheer violence of their sound, as long as the final outcome just flirts and does not give in to the majestic, something I usually avoid in what I am listening to, and still sounds epic and grandiose. The production is crystal clear and allows the new elements to be discerned and does not create a meaningless versatility. It is a strong release and an ambitious effort that I would rather prefer it to move in less secure paths. Even like that, it stands out for its richness in this panspermia of ideas and this pandemonium of sounds.