When “The Codex Necro” was released it was like finding a human finger in your meat pie, “Where the hell did that come from?” ANAAL NATHRAKH delivering a battleship broadside of brutality that even their destruction demos could not have prepared the listener for. I had not heard anything quite like it and neither had you. ANAAL NATHRAKH steamrollered over convention and detonated their craft inside the craniums of anyone within magnetic pulse range.
ANAAL NATHRAKH’S previous demos had possessed a sense of the traditional in their hyperspeed assault. On “The Codex Necro” the northern blast is replaced by the flesh charring flashover from a furnace, subject matter was more to do with hatred and bile towards more contemporary issues and the music was more like an endurance test than a listening pleasure. There is more venom here than at a rattlesnake convention, I reckon that they had to chain V.I.T.R.I.O.L. down when he spat out the lyrics on this nasty piece of filth. I rather imagine that if they had used the creature from Alien to provide the vocal attack here, the results would not be much different.
“The Codex Necro” is an explosion of spite and malice delivered at raging speed, “Pandemonic Hyperblast” is quite simply a planet killer of a track and (barely) holds within its avalanche of violence one of the most memorable, yet brutal, hooks in extreme metal. As many of you will know by now, the intensity on this first album is unrelenting, though the production holds to necro values, it is powerful and brimming over with serial killer menace. Pick out influences if you want, but this outing stands out alone secure in its own individuality. Irrumator has his fingers in many musical pies and he has not shied away from using diversity to deliver head v sledgehammer consequences.
For those of you that have problems with drum programming, I suspect ANAAL NATHRAKH have a short and abusive response for you. Quite frankly, the speed involved for most of the time demands nothing else, the bodies of human drummers would be piling up outside the studio door to satisfy the needs of many of tracks on the album. Though programmed, the drums sound natural in the main and, on slower parts, punch the closest thing you are going to get to a groove on “The Codex Necro,” this being most evident on “Insipid Flock” There are none of your thin and reedy guitars here either, the rhythm work is a tsunami of sound breaking against the lava river of lead breaks. For Black Metal, the guitars are quite low but as such are an unstoppable force that picks you up and sweeps you along to the acid splattered end that is the title track, a track that again has a scything lead riff running through it.
There are a small amount of samples on the album, which I could do without but that doesn’t really detract from the whole. There are also a couple of brief dead spots towards the end of the album which only become apparent after repeated listening and that are only noticeable due a lull in the overall intensity, there again the juggernaut riffing soon kicks back in and the punishment continues.
Overall “The Codex Necro” is like being set about by a gang of maniacs armed with oxy-acetylene torches, intent on dismembering you with white knife heat. As a lesson in brutality it does not leave the listener in any doubt. It is a defining moment in the genre, I wouldn’t turn my back on the nasty little bastard if I were you. (Online November 30, 2004)