A New Kind Of Horror by Anaal Nathrakh

Release date: September 28, 2018
Label: Metal Blades Records

We are at war. The doomsday clock ticks and the hammer of violence looms over the heads of innocents. Red buttons are teased and bombs are readied, whilst martyrs prepare their own horrors. Demise is inevitable, what kind remains to be seen, but when fire rains down upon the world and the earth is but ash and wreckage, there will be Anaal Nathrakh like armoured roaches arising from the gaping maw of devastation, ready to play us out into our miserable deaths.

Our world is a mess, and for nearly twenty years the many-toothed beast that is Anaal Nathrakh have spent their career raging about the extremities of mankind’s inhumanity. The duo of Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt have been a complex and ever-progressing force in the world of extreme metal, taking their exhilarating noise through many blackened and grinding sub-genres, and creating music to think about, with purpose and a clear message. Album number ten A New Kind Of Horror follows 2016s highly lauded The Whole Of The Law. Lyrically the album explores the war of 1918, the war to end all wars, as well as literature from the era. Its bleak themes are imbibed in the harshness of the music and crammed with many nuances, both subtle and like a bullet in the face.

‘Obscene As Cancer’ pulls its title from the harrowing Wilfred Owen poem Dulce Et Decorum Est, which recounts morbid details experienced first-hand from the battlefield as well as the obscenities of war itself. “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.” The additional line of “they were fucking children!” is a powerful statement that adds a weighty comprehension to the track. It is a song as brilliant as it is brutal. The lead single seemed to stump some unlearned fans who seem unaware of Nathrakh’s ability to diversify their sound away from just blasting until ears bleed. ‘Forward!’ sees the band create an underlying eerie feel through a thoroughly charging track infused with harsh electronic undertones that Kenney has utilised from Desideratum onwards.

Many writers have described their albums as the soundtrack to armageddon, well that couldn’t be more true in the case of track six, ‘The Apocalypse Is About You!’, a balls out, uncompromising monster of cataclysmic proportions. This raging hyperblast roars along with spite, bloodying and bruising with dizzying blastbeats and stabbing walls of deep flaying riffage, soothing only for moments in the melodic interludes that only serve as brief respite from the salvo. Every Nathrakh album needs one or two of these!

Nathrakh unleash another horror in the form of quaking beast ‘Vi Coactus’, replete with blackened, trembling riffage and caustic vocal atrocities, along with some interesting moments towards the end. This blasterpiece features Bleeding Through vocalist Brandan Schieppati lending his cords to the incredibly emotive chorus sections. ‘Mother Of Satan’ is an explosive track with gun n’ blast fury and volatile moments of incendiary violence, jolting into spastic throws of grenade-lobbing glee. It’s right up there with Nathrakh’s best and is again another song with a devastating message, taking its very black metal name from triacetone triperoxide, a bomb making component used in many terrorist attacks.

I am biased when it comes to Anaal Nathrakh but an excellent album is still an excellent album. A New Kind Of Horror can be seen as a concept album richly immersed in its source material and chock-full of interesting touches like the Cradle-esque tinkling of keys in ‘New Bethlehem/Mass Death Futures’ or the haunting simplicity of ‘The Horrid Strife’, thanks to instrumental maestro Mick Kenney’s creative abilities and boundary pushing vision of extreme metal. Hunt has also never sounded better, spitting his usual scathing bile at the follies of humanity and laying down some awesome varied clean vocals like the spoken verse in ‘Vi Coactus’ or the powerful soviet-like propaganda declaration in the epic album closer ‘Are We Fit For Glory Yet? (The War To End Nothing)’.

Nathrakh were right, this is not a nice album. At a mere 33 minutes it is focused, furious and vehemently seething with the agony of horrors made flesh by our fellow human beings, both past, present and future. It screams of terror and more importantly a deep respect for its themes, pulled off in a way only Anaal Nathrakh could do. The album is abhorrent in nature, utterly horrifying and utterly human. We do not need to be told that the world is at times an awful place, but we do need a band like Anaal Nathrakh as an outlet for the unspeakable. Yet again the Brummie boys have forged a brutal piece of art to stand the test of time and one that beneath the chaotic notes and shattering audial violence lies a heartfelt and passionate tribute in memoriam to those lost and who will be lost. A New Kind Of Horror is Anaal Nathrakh’s deepest and most important album to date.

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