Label: Metal Blade
Now that the worldwide metal press (along with Metal Invader) are occupied with the new Metallica album, you know, the one they released after 8 whole years of absence (that’s how much time they needed to compose 2-3 really good songs among plenty of useless fillers), which if it didn’t carry the historic name of the -once upon a time- kings of Thrash (completely downfallen now though), nobody would give a damn. So, it’s about time we talk about music!
My review on this, is delayed. I wanted to listen to “The whole of the law” as many times as I possibly could before I put my opinion on it out there, and that’s because inevitably their 9th release would be compared to their “Desideratum” masterpiece. Everything that I mentioned about their black epic work 2 years ago, applies here as well, except that the term “extreme music” acquires new dimensions. Is it possible that they created something even more extreme than “Desideratum”? Yes, my friends, it is and it’s more extreme than ever, sadistically extreme, extremely extreme. On Anaal Nathrakh’s scale, is hard for the audience to tell what weighs more, melody or noise. What is special about them is their ability to easily blend these two elements. What distinguishes them, is the intense alternation of feelings they will bring to anyone that trusts them. The more you listen to “The Whole of the Law”(if you manage to survive the initial shock), even more secrets will be revealed. Their merciless assault is temporarily interrupted by the clean vocals, only to come back more severe, more bloodthirsty. And there, among the feast of noise and frequencies, fresh devastating riffs emerge while V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (that bastard behind the mic) is discovering new ear-bleeding techniques.
Don’t get me wrong I am not claiming that extremity is desirable in any way. Countless bands attempted to create something extreme, but the overall result came out to be pretentious (it would often reach the lameness limits). Anaal Nathrakh invented that recipe and year after year they enriched it. The fear that they’re carving on their musical canvas can’t be labeled. No, these guys are not playing black, or grind, or even death metal. Future historians will decide on this misanthropic manifesto. For now, we have no other choice than to enjoy one more black and soul damning punch of songs, a thorny, fragrant, bleeding bouquet, a chaotic and nightmarish album, that was composed in a cosmic lair and carries unworldly growls. If hell really existed, this would be its soundtrack. Well, it exists and Anaal Nathrakh are there, a part of it, flesh from its flesh, painting heaven in hell. These pricks are playing us. They let beams of light through the darkness, giving you seconds to breathe and then they’re sealing everything in blackness.
Unlike “Desideratum”, I couldn’t highlight a song. “The whole of the Law” is an album that you swallow whole, breathless, with your pulse rising and your senses sharpened. A massive thank you goes to these two bastards, Mick Kenney and David Hunt (V.I.T.R.I.O.L.) that surpassed their limits once more. Personally, they made the decision on the album of the year, much easier, a decision that was leaning towards Armory’s staggering “War peace…cosmic war”… That was up until “The whole of the Law” finished me off. No more words, it doesn’t take much more to say, really. In this occasion, dear reader, you can’t be neutral; you either worship or hate them. While your neighbour is listening to “Oh Christmas tree!” you should embellish these “holy” Christmas days that are near with Anaal Nathrakh…
“The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom”. – William Blake (Proverbs of Hell)
PS 1: I request from our Chief Editor to add after the end of the review the cover of “Powerslave” that is included as a bonus track (there’s one more on The Specials’ “Man at C&A” I believe).
PS 2: The downside is the lack of lyrics… but even if there were lyrics, I doubt that anyone could understand them the way V.I.T.R.I.O.L spits them out.
PS 3: This year I would like to ask Santa for a dreamy duet of V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and Arckanum’s Shamaatae.