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Review: Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow
Anaal Nathrakh
In the Constellation of the Black Widow

Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 34:38
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: September 18, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
In the Constellation of the Black Widow

Rated 4.03/5 (80.5%) (40 Votes)

Anaal Nathrakh is a band I had been meaning to check out for a long time, so when I saw they had this new one coming out, I inquired about a mp3 promo, and here we are (good move on the label's part - I've since acquired the back catalogue on eMusic, until I free up some dough to buy the physical albums.) But enough about me…

I had read that this duo was made up of two crazy bastards that massacre your eardrums, but I still wasn't expecting this. Anaal Nathrakh play Black Metal with some grind influences – a combination usually exclusive to Death Metal. Before we get to the actual music, let's talk vocals. There are some clean vocals here that sound a bit out of place, but not too much. There are some barely decipherable screechy growls that at times almost sound like static – they've got a sharp edge to them that make it seems like they're cutting through the speakers. Yet, this is nothing compared to the high-pitched, demented and completely out of this world screams of absolute horror that the vocalist spits out for most of the album. These have to be at least in the top 3 of the sickest, most piercing and freakiest screams I've ever heard on an album. Take note: If you want some unwelcome guests to leave your house, just put this on for a couple of minutes. You'll never see them again. You hear these screams and wonder if your speakers will just disintegrate under the incessant assault of these razor-sharp piercing screams.

Musically, things aren't flowery either. We are presented with the expected aural chaos that can be expected when thinking Black+grind – Lightning fast drumming, guitars played so fast you can barely make out anything; all you know is that the high-pitched notes are competing with the vocals to torture your speakers and beat the hell out of your eardrums. Insane. And then all of a sudden… What is this? Symphonic parts. That's right – among the chaos, this infernal duo has thrown in a few melodious symphonic parts that don't even sound out of place. I was listening to an album a few days ago where another band tried something similar and pretty much blew it. Here this is done almost to perfection. Creaming the cake are the occasional heavy and raw death/thrashy guitar passages that bring a little sense of order among the chaos. Barely.

Save for the aforementioned clean vocals and the occasional weird special effect, there's basically nothing I don't like here – of course one has to be in the mood for the aural equivalent of being run over by a high-speed train, but that's the closest you'll get without actually getting killed. I think that's a good compromise.

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