Anaal Nathrakh: Passion

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Anaal Nathrakh: Passion
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Anaal Nathrakh: Passion
Black Metal, Grindcore
Candlelight Records
May 17th, 2011
Release length: 36:09
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Anaal Nathrakh has existed now since 1998, forming in the United Kingdom. For the most part, the band has been shifting between record labels for their releases, and their latest at the time of this review is with Candlelight Records. Of course, the group has been maintaining their Black Metal/Grindcore sound since earlier on in their career, originally performing as a strictly Black Metal group. But, with Passion being their sixth full-length recording, does this idea still work in making some strong material for this two-piece back from the UK?

Passion isn’t all that different, unique, or dynamically different from some of their previous material, though the name of the album is essentially what you’re getting with the songs on this release. Each track of the recording has plenty of energy behind it, and come off more as songs done by individuals passionate about the art they craft. This fact gets hammered into the skulls of the listeners at the start of “Volenti Non Fit Iniuria”, an intense, brutalizing track of fast paced Black Metal and Grindcore blast beats with intense vocals that have a strong distortion on them to create white noise that sounds like slight overmodulation. The addition of some clean singing vocals in the chorus that take on more of a background performance approach just makes the track sound more passionate from the band, and increases the unique appeal of the band moreso without the group pushing that small extra touch to the point where it becomes more of a tacked on tool to beat the horse with then an additional element used to add more fuel to the fire. Of course, this track, and many after, are cascaded into a shadow of deep sorrow and melancholy at the start of “Drug-Fucking Abomination”, which actually starts off slow and ominous with the same distortion effect on the wailing vocals to give the sense a hellish punishing atmosphere that becomes vivid i9n your mind as you close your eyes and become wrapped up by the sinister, nightmarish music the band plays at the first three minutes of the song before hammering back into some heavily Grindcore influenced Black Metal chords and progressions with the speed and backing of blast beats to add to the overall intensity of the album.

Right away, however, there seems to be a bit of a formula playing out in the music. The clean vocals that appear more in the background of “Volenti Non Fit Iniuria” appear again in “Drug-Fucking Abomination”, and when they hit in this song, they appear the exact same way that they did in the previous track, and almost instantly become boring and, for this song, really offer nothing to it and feel more tacked on then anything when approached from the stat of the track with such an ominous introduction. But, it’s after these tracks this won’t necessarily become one of the primary concerns, as the band really focuses more on doing songs that feel more along the lines of Grindcore then Black Metal, though again, the clean vocals appear, and like “Drug-Fucking Abomination”, take more of a center stage approach to the production instead of being a background element to add to the overall intensity, and continue to grow longer and more prodominant in each track. Of course, not all the songs use them, such as the obvious Grindcore cuts like “Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria”, but those leave no room for them to really be brought into the mix musically.

After “Drug-Fucking Abomination”, some of that ominous and overall epic atmosphere to the songs seem to become lost and replaced more with pure unbridled intensity and aggression, which is fine considering it still has a strong Black Metal foundation to many of the songs, though the tracks that don’t break two minutes seem to really lack it and feel slightly out of place aside the energetic performance and aggression. The melancholic atmosphere laid out in the opening of the album, however, does remain with many of the traditional-length tracks, and it really is enhanced by the loud and aggressive vocal performance of the material. But, of all the songs post-“Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria”, “Tod Huetet Uebel” becomes one of the most interesting thanks to it’s stronger Black Metal foundation with vocals that vit a stronger Grindcore experience with top of the throat screaming that can sometimes hit pitches one may expect on a Macabre album, as well as hit haunting howling levels to create a genuinely haunting and eery atmosphere to the recording that doesn’t quite live up to the nightmarish setting of “Drug-Fucking Abomination” through the chaos in the vocals, but is still a rather strong performance that comes pretty close and, again, shows some strong energy and passion towards the music. “Who Thinks of the Executioner”, however, doesn’t quite fit the general tone of the song at times, and often can take on a more Punk vibe that conflicts with the later present Black Metal material that, surprisingly, can feel a little more melodic then anything. While the band’s history of lyrics being non-existent for self interpretation is a novel and creative idea, the lack of lyrics and just mindlessly screaming on this song doesn’t make for any decent interpretation, and is in no way haunting like it can be on other tracks of this recording.

Overall, Passion by Anaal Nathrakh is a very strong album that is full of intensity, energy, atmosphere, and really meshes the Grindcore and Black Metal styles together for the most part. Fans who are already aware of the capabilities of the group will be pleased with the outcome of the release, as it’s one of the strongest efforts in the band’s discography to date. Those who are unfamiliar with the group, or only heard some of the band’s earlier material, will be pleasantly surprised with the progress and maturity the group has gone through over the years, leaving a strong impression on the listener. If you weren’t a fan before, Passion easily will convert you now. What’s nearly a flawless entry into the discography, Anaal Nathrakh weave an intense and ominous album that demands your attention.

01. Volenti Non Fit Iniuria – 4:59
02. Drug-Fucking Abomination – 7:28
03. Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria – 1:42
04. Le Diabolique est L’Ami du Simple – 3:42
05. Locus of Damnation – 1:01
06. Tod Huetet Uebel – 4:15
07. Paragon Pariah – 3:47
08. Who Thinks of the Executioner – 3:58
09. Ashes Screaming Silence – 3:58
10. Portrait of the Artist – 1:20
Overall Score: 9/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records.