Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anaal Nathrakh: Desideratum (2014)

Of Maggots, and Humanity

I’m going to, once again, borrow a metaphor from a particular Decibel review, because it’s perfect: listening to Anaal Nathrakh is like hearing the gates of hell opened, just a crack. No one else can do that. They made my own end-of-year list a couple years back, because Vanitas brilliantly combined that utter sonic chaos with undeniably catchy melody and close to a score of different sonic influences (including opera) in brilliant fashion.

Unfortunately, it seems the gates have closed for Desideratum. You see, while I don’t have anything against putting dubstep into metal per se, there is perhaps good reason that when I think “dubstep in metal” I think of djent and Korn. And just about every track on here has a dubstep part.

Whether the dubstep is to blame for the problem or not, the result is the British duo have slowed down. Anaal Nathrakh’s sound absolutely depends on being utterly violent and manic, while dubstep is slow. The first three or four songs blend into a vague, mid-paced blur. “Sub Specie Aeterni (Of Maggots, and Humanity)” has appropriately maggoty parts. In other words, it has riffs that sound like Slipknot—and I should know, since I’ve been revisiting that catalog.

There are highlights to be sure. “The Joystream” and “Idol” stand out. But how they can go from such a superb album to such a par album in just two years is shocking.

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars

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