Music / Anaal Nathrakh
(pronounced, surprisingly, almost exactly how it looks [An-Al Nat-Rakh], which translates to "serpent's breath") are a widely acclaimed Black Metal
duo from Birmingham, England. The members are multi-instrumentalist Mick Kenney (AKA Irrumator), who performs all instruments in studio, and vocalist Dave Hunt (AKA V.I.T.R.I.O.L), who performs, well, the vocals. The duo came together in 1999, at a time when black metal was still relatively alive in the underground. After recording two demos, one self-titled and another called Total Fucking Necro
, in 2001 they released their debut album The Codex Necro
, which featured a chaotic, raw black metal sound. The album received near-unanimous positive reviews, earning numerous "Album of the Month" awards, and is to this day considered one of the best black metal releases of the 2000s.
Their next two releases, Domine Non Es Dignus
, in 2004 and 2006, respectively, continued along the same path as their debut, receiving similar praise from metal publications. Then, with 2007's Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here
, they took their already brutalizing sound and make it even more brutal
by incorporating elements of Death Metal
, and Industrial
into their sound. This album is considered to be the band's breakthrough release, receiving acclaim from critics and a spot on Metal Storm's "Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time" list. Their next four albums have since followed in the same extreme fusion style, and to this day the group is going strong.
Despite their acclaim, Anaal Nathrakh are definitely
not a band for everyone. Their music is noisy and intense even by extreme metal standards, to the level many metalheads
consider them to be one of the heaviest bands ever. Make of that what you will.Discography
- The Codex Necro (2001)
- Domine Non Es Dignus (2004)
- Eschaton (2006)
- Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here (2007)
- In the Constellation of the Black Widow (2009)
- Passion (2011)
- Vanitas (2012)
- Desideratum (2014)
- The Whole of the Law (2016)
- Altum Videtur: Domine Non Es Dignus and Vanitas
- Apocalypse How: Presumably their main lyrical focus. However, this is up to debate since Anaal Nathrakh don't release their lyrics.
- One thing's for sure, they certainly have the sound.
- Careful with That Axe: It'd be easier to list when Dave doesn't do this.
- Darker and Edgier: Even for black metal, of all genres.
- Epic Rocking:
- The self-titled track off The Codex Necro, at 6:07.
- Domine Non Es Dignus has "This Cannot be the End", at 6:24.
- Passion has the longest AN song, "Drug-Fucking Abomination", lasting 7:27.
- Filk Song: "Virus Bomb" appears to be based on the eponymous superweapon in Warhammer 40,000.
- Genre-Busting: They meld Black Metal with elements of Death Metal, Grindcore, and Industrial Metal on their later albums.
- Gratuitous German: "Tod Huetet Uebel" note
- Downplayed by "Der Hölle Rache Kocht in Meinem Herzen", which is a reference to Mozart's The Magic Flute opera aria of the same name but not actually sung in German.
- Harsh Vocals: What isn't a throat-rending shriek or an operatic Metal Scream is a deep, guttural growl or snarl.
- Heavy Mithril: Their name comes from Merlin's Charm of Making in the 1981 film Excalibur.
- I Am the Band: Mick and Dave. Justified as they are the only members.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Fucking, yes, holy, fucking, shit.
- Industrial Metal: Their fourth release contained trace amounts, with successive albums incorporating elements of Glitch, techno, IDM, and even a breakdown or two. Overall it's become a core part of their sound. Their latest release even includes hints of dubstep.
- Lighter and Softer: Desideratum is arguably this to their earlier material thanks to its greater Electronic Music influence and emphasis on melody. This is a relative case, however, as it's still harder than most black metal albums.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Dave utilizes deep death growls; post-hardcore style shouts; extremely harsh, high pitched shrieks (his signature); and eerily beautiful melodic singing.
- Metal Scream: Mostly type 1 and type 4 with occasional type 2 and 3s.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Their material is a standard 10 at the lightest, and frequently pushes deeply into 11 territory. This is despite the fact many of their songs have clean vocals and melodic choruses in them; their music is just so brutalizing that it's hard to rank them anywhere lower on the scale.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Their genre of choice could be best described as... Industrial blackened deathgrind.
- Protest Song: "The Joystream" could be one against corrupt aid organizations, since its chorus appears to reference this blog post by Dave where he discusses the effectiveness of the traditional charity system and how society can do better by being more proactive.
- Religion Rant Song: "Idol" from Desideratum is a type 1.
- Sampling: They've sampled Hellraiser, Event Horizon and the 1956 film adaption of NineteenEightyFour in their music.
- Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Inverted. The band members look quite unassuming despite their sound.
- Soprano and Gravel: Though unlike most other examples, the clean vocals are generally anything but melodic. Despite this, Dave's clean vocals can go into a particularly operatic soaring sound, like here on "When The Lion Devours Both Dragon And Child".
- Viewers Are Geniuses: The band never publish their lyrics, except for one instance with the song "Tod Huetet Uebel". This leaves the fans to pick apart the lyrics themselves, the almost constant Indecipherable Lyrics taken Up to Eleven be damned.