REVIEWED: Anaal Nathrakh's 'A New Kind of Horror'
If all of hell’s minions rose from the abyss to gorge on a ghoulish cocktail of Class A hallucinogens, undiluted hate and human suffering, the sum of this combined wretchedness would still fail to rival the sheer, nightmarish darkness so richly contained within ‘A New Kind of Horror.’ But rather than being the product of any such black sorcery or demonic influence, the various battering and blackly atmospheric energies that abound here originate from a place of intense, unmistakably authentic human feeling. So, without further ado, let us proceed in dissecting the grim particulars of this relentlessly harrowing slab.
Among the many pitch-black sources of inspiration responsible for spawning this flourishing work of abject wickedness, ‘Obscene As Cancer’s’ rich abundance of battleground horrors makes for instantly arresting listening. Sourcing its title and lyrics from the deathly verses of doomed First World War poet Wilfred Owen, a chilling repertoire of howling operatic cries and tortured screams violently animate and ignite these deathly poetics. Gathering scalding momentum through insanely paced episodes of blastbeats and gargantuan slabs of inky industrial groove, these bludgeoning throes leave the synapses instantly crackling with adrenaline.
Yet, alongside all this deliciously raw and unbridled ultra-violence, there’s no mistaking the calculating precision and meticulous arrangement with which each of its component parts are skilfully aligned. Note, in particular, the strategic pepperings of battering machine gun blasts and mind-altering synths that propel the sinewy grooves of ‘Forward!’ to delirious, untold heights of aggression. Elsewhere, ‘New Bethlehem’ sees stunning amplification of the band’s blackened dynamics as whirling, Dimmu-esque lashings of piano and darkly swelling choirs find a deeply disquieting contrast alongside bloodcurdling fits of animalistic snarling.
Displaying markedly less complexity and stirring, atmospheric intensity of sound, the blistering likes of ‘Mother of Satan’ showcase an altogether more direct and uncomplicated strain of aggression, arguably lacking the sonic variety of the aforementioned standouts. But, whether channelling the grim atrocities of the battlefield in vivid, unflinchingly visceral detail or unceremoniously pummelling us into a bloodied and broken state of submission, this intensely unsettling listening is, rest assured, quite unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
'A New Kind of Horror' is out now on Metal Blade. Order your copy now at https://www.metalblade.com/anaalnathrakh