Record Reviews

Album review: Anaal Nathrakh “Endarkenment”

British extreme metal band Anaal Nathrakh returns with a fabulous new album filled with controlled chaos.

Formed in Birmingham, England in 1999 by vocalist Dave Hunt and multi-instrumentalist Mick Kenney, Anaal Nathrakh has always been a bit different. They’re as extreme as they can be, but their music doesn’t really sound like their fellow extreme metal bands. The music is extreme and very entertaining. It’s high-energy. It is also easily recognisable. Anaal Nathrakh has established a trademark sound that sets it apart from other extreme bands. It’s chaotic. Somewhat controlled chaos, perhaps planned chaos, but still chaos. There are fragments of melodic song structures underneath all the mayhem and cacophony. It’s a bit like a musical mosaic. As if someone has taken a bunch of songs, tore them apart, threw the pieces in a mixer and then pieced together whatever came out. Like a musical equivalent to William S. Burroughs’ cut-up literary technique. The result? Bloody fantastic! It’s glorious chaos. It’s not music for everyone. It’s music that demands attention and it needs listeners to concentrate. It’s exhausting but a joy to listen to this music. There are so many nuances, tempo and style changes and twists and turns throughout all the songs that I discover new things every time I listen to the songs. “Punish Them” with its aggression and excellent guitars is one of my immediate and clear favourite tracks on this album. Another is the title track. The album is solid throughout. There are no gaps, no fillers, not even any breathing space. It’s non-stop pummelling. Unlike many other extreme metal bands who tend to put on make up and elaborate costumes, Anaal Nathrakh lets the music do the talking. When they last performed in Japan in 2019, they performed in plain clothes. That’s perfectly fine as this band has some of the finest extreme music in the business.

The Japanese edition of the album comes with a bonus track: it’s an alternative version of the title song, here called “Endarkenment (Total Necro Version)”. It’s a glorious batshit crazy version of a terrific song.

Anaal Nathrakh’s album “Endarkenment” is out today in Japan via Ward Records and Metal Blade Records internationally.