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Review: Anaal Nathrakh - Hell Is Empty, And All the Devils Are Here
Anaal Nathrakh
Hell Is Empty, And All the Devils Are Here

Label: Feto Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 35:53
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: May 2, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers Rating
Hell Is Empty, And All the Devils Are Here

Rated 4.13/5 (82.5%) (8 Votes)

There are not too many bands out there on their own these days, doing their own thing with no imitators or copycats to muddy the waters. Anaal Nathrakh are one such band, in a league of their own, and Hell is Empty, and All the Devils are Here is their latest album of war and destruction, bringing an inbred abomination of Black, Death, Industrial and Grind to the masses with some of the most memorable riffs and songs I can imagine being played at this speed and intensity.

The album opens with a scene, hugely cinematic, that paints the vivid image of the beast with seven heads and ten horns rising slowly above the line of the horizon, come to desolate the world in much the same way as the following tracks. It is a truly effective introduction to the album and it is beyond awesome to have this done via guitars and drums rather than some cheesy sound clip or lazy ambient keyboards. After that there is just track after track of furious Black Metal with more awesome riffs than a whole sack full of Thrash Metal. Anaal Nathrakh have that rare gift of writing brutal and punishing metal that is as catchy as it is extreme – you will be carrying most of this album around in your head as you go about your day to day business and you will be happier for it. There really is no need to single out any given track as each one is an exercise in face-pummeling excellence, jam packed with sagacious riffage, bruising drumming, throat tearing screaming and memorable choruses. It is difficult to slide this into a genre – it is the perfect marriage of Black and Death Metal, a little grind is mixed in from some bastard bloodline, and it is on occasion pretty groovy. Personally I would just label this "extreme metal", but if pressed I would say it leans just a little closer to Black Metal than Death, by just by a shade.

As is the Anaal Nathrakh way, the production is pure devastation. Guitars shred and crush with impunity, the tone clear and gritty at the same time. The bass is there, rumbling underneath like a land bound leviathan, and while it does little but follow the guitars, that is pretty much exactly what you want it to be doing – there is no room for showmanship here because the album is already chock full of head smashing metal! Drums are programmed, but enough attention has been paid to them so that they don't come off sounding mechanical or dull, but they do lack the variety that a drummer could bring to the party. And thus we arrive at the vocals of Dave Hunt, or V.I.T.R.I.O.L. as he prefers to go by here: the man in totally in-fucking-human! Screaming and screeching and gurgling with menace and rage, I swear that the demon this man is possessed by is in turn possessed by an even more ferocious demon, and the effect is sickeningly awesome. But not only that, he can actually sing, and several tracks here have choruses with his clean, proud baritone, often delivered with the rousing conviction of a great orator, to great effect – it's not often you can sing along to music this brutal.

There is not much else to say friends; with Hell is Empty, and All the Devils are Here, Anaal Nathrakh have delivered the real deal. If you can listen to this and resist the urge to, at the very least, start banging your head and smashing walls with the horns, then you are a sad, sad person that I do not want to know. If however you are a fucking mad metalhead who wants to be pummeled by a hammer of awesome, then you should immediately go and grab this album and be prepared to scream "ELOI! ELOI! LAMA SABACTHANI!" at people passing by on the street for the next few weeks.

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