I’ve never been totally convinced by ANAAL NATHRAKH, the demos were very good and the first album simply savage. But their apocalyptic hyper-blast Black Metal was too firmly built on the MAYHEM foundation that it seemed the smaller by comparison. Perhaps they realised this themselves as the two subsequent releases tried to develop more of an identity, but I didn’t feel that this was successful. Identity they achieved, but with a lower quality standard.
“Eschaton” kills. That is about the only way I can describe it. It is the culmination of the best of the aggression, the experimentation and the search for identity, confidently developed into the sound of the oncoming Armageddon. The strict confines within the wider Black Metal genre are removed; incorporating more vicious Death and Grind elements ANAAL NATHRAKH have matured into a more rounded and original entity. This is savagery, sheer fucking savagery.
The catchy “When The Lion Devours Both Dragon And Child” and the industrial “Regression To The Mean” stick out as being different. Yet, despite different stylistic idiosyncrasies, they fully fit within the intense pandemonic mood that dominates the whole album. The production forces the excellent sharp, rumbling bass to properly give backbone and structure and natural percussion and liberal use of the magnificent Attila Csihar create a much more organic feel than one is accustomed to.
Without a doubt, the vocals on this album are some of the best, most richly dynamic and effective that I’ve heard in quite some time. VITRIOL is an outstanding screamer, who could insert all kinds of new vicious and hateful meanings into the most mundane of every-day statements. Moreover, a surprising sarcastic quality to soaring clean vocals adds good contrast to the atmosphere.
This is, simply, the best they’ve ever been. Intense sonic Armageddon in its purest form, unrestrained and unrelenting, this would literally devour its contemporary competitors in the race to effective extremity.
(Online December 20, 2006)