Singer from legendary Folk band The Chieftans kidnapped. ANAAL NATHRAKH suspected.
I can report that Kevin Conneff, who was last seen drinking stout and rubbing his bodrán, has been confined to a dark, damp cellar somewhere within the city of Birmingham and through CIA approved torture techniques, assisted by being made to smoke crack cocaine, has had his fine lilting tones corrupted sufficient to provide the clean singing on “Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here.” Running his dick through a mangle also helped.
Spotting a gap in the review schedule for the loved or loathed ANAAL NATHRAKH, I felt it my duty as someone who has increased his tinnitus from listening to everyone's favourite carpet bombers to add this title to the list. Having long developed their own identity through fusing Black Metal, Grind and Death Metal, these Brummy bruisers are best described as Extreme Metal to avoid any arguments, suffice to say that here, as with every other of their works, the possibility that your innards are in for a scrambling is actually a certainty. The chaos of earlier works has been refined into a more controlled but equally lethal barrage of bone breaking bombardment, the flight of B-52s on PCP has been replaced by a line of cruise missiles that hit the same point repeatedly so that even the smoking remains are atomised.
It's a fine art to make what to most people is unlistenable into something that actually engages with those of us whose hearing is fucked anyway and whose brain has some sort of fungus growing in it that clusters spores around our synapse to turn the unbearable into the pleasurable, it's no wonder we eat babies. Hurtling aggression bounds atop the severed heads of bastards everywhere, cracking open skulls to allow abysmal melody to rush out and join the melee and create a battle royal that leaves a trail of battered body parts where a rictus grin is spread ten yards wide. ANAAL NATHRAKH excel at ramming intense high speed music into your lug holes and this is no exception, so effective is this aural reaming that you can wave to friends and family through the resultant hole in the listeners head. It is also somewhat gratifying to note that this hurricane on steroids also boasts plenty of variety within its self imposed constraints.
Listen if you will to the no Jekyll, all Hyde frantic Grinding monstrous Punk of “Screaming Of The Unborn,” a song that concentrates antagonism into an essence that the mere whisper of is equivalent to a Mike Tyson punch to the head. This perverse collision of traditional chorus and verse super-charges along, dragging grappling hooks that will snag anyone within range especially with the über-hooligan chorus that defines what boots are made for. The rest of the album offers a similar intensity, though there's less of the Grind and those of you that still have wet-mares over “The Codex Necro” can give yourselves friction burns whilst listening to “Castigation And Betrayal,” where the utter derangement of that album returns for one night only, firing on nitrous and spewing the nitric. Between these two tracks falls what must now be considered trademark ANAAL NATHRAKH planet killers, formidably fast and often horrendously heavy (when they're not evoking an explosion in a razor wire factory,) yet at the same time there is clearly a dispassionate intelligence behind it all.
Whilst the use of clean singing is nothing new in this or any other Metal, there is something delightfully warped about the way this band use enslaved folk singers to perform the duty. They've obviously been beaten and abused in the most unspeakable of fashions, how else would you explain the deluded conviction present in the soulful way these euphonious lung bursting sections soar above the cannonade. Obviously the contrast with the stock lunatic with rabies throat shredding is pronounced, as are the use of other forms of imperious clean singing but the prevailing gale is the familiar demonstration of madness that has increased the sales of incontinence pants no end since this lot started their sonic plundering, be careful where you play this album.
ANAAL NATHRAKH continue to evolve, they conform to the survival of the fittest and the effect of mutation, it's a worrying prospect, how strong can the beast become before it rips itself apart? For now, just marvel at how mankind has the technology to contain all this fury in a tiny plastic disc and think twice before growing a beard, learning to play the fiddle and singing songs of the old country.
(Online January 26, 2010)