Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Anaal Nathrakh: Vanitas (2012)

Consistent Chaotic

I recently hinted that the new records from Pig Destroyer and The Secret were my second and third most-anticipated grind albums of the year, but I didn’t say which was number one. Now you know, it’s Vanitas.

Anaal Nathrakh has long been one of the most chaotic, tight, and furious bands on the planet. That would be enough to assure their success in the world of extreme metal, but Vanitas goes a step further. It establishes the band as one of the most consistent entities in the genre. They have kept everything that has made their last few releases so rewarding, from the nonstop pummeling of the blackgrind music to the infectious melody of many of the vocal lines. Still, they haven’t allowed themselves to be completely predictable.

This time around, the British duo have allowed unexpected influences to be apparent. Maybe my ear simply wasn’t attuned to it before, or I’ve forgotten, but I’m fairly certain this is a new (or newly emphasized) element. Where this experimentation really pays off is in album closer “A Metaphor for the Dead,” which turns a famous opera line into a shovel in your face. “To Spite the Face” begins on a groove metal riff, and ends up sounding like Anaal Nathrakh is covering a DevilDriver tune. “You Can't Save Me, so Stop Fucking Trying” has a distinct flavor of Meshuggah / djent (depending on how you want to interpret it) in its chords and halting rhythm. The chorus in “Of Fire, and Fucking Pigs” has a little bit of modern metalcore style to it. Don’t fear, however, as those outside influences are not so stark that they detract from the Anaal Nathrakh-ness of the record. I could take or leave some of these elements, but there is much to be said for a band that experiments just the right amount.

The remainder of the album is exactly what you’ve come to expect from Anaal Nathrakh, and “Forging Towards the Sunset” is one of their best yet. I can’t get that one out of my head. There’s no reason you should stay away from this one, unless you actually didn’t like their last few albums . . . which would probably mean something is wrong with you. (Or not wrong enough, as the case may be.)

The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy Vanitas

No comments:

Post a Comment