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(Metal Blade Records)

jools green

Jools Green

Anaal Nathrakh

Anaal Nathrakh are a band, it has been said, that were created solely for the purpose of being the soundtrack for Armageddon.

They have been producing their unique and unequalled style of industrial black Metal/grindcore for fourteen years, encompassing within it, the aural essence of evil, hatred and violence, the true spirit of necro taken to its musical extremes whilst maintaining a consistently high standard of musicianship across each subsequent release.

Album number eight, 'Desideratum', the title of which means "something that is needed or wanted", is no exception to that impressive rule, continuing to keep them at the forefront of extreme Metal.

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I am not sure if this latest album, eleven tracks spanning forty-one minutes of musical mayhem from the misanthropic duo, Mick Kenney handling guitars/bass/programming and David Hunt/V.I.T.R.I.O.L on vocals, is their best; it's difficult to choose. The last five in particular have been, from my perspective, such a superb listen, however this seems in some respects an easier listen.

It still has a very brutal edge but it just has a more ear friendly quality to the overall sound and also seems to be closer to their older releases. Soundwise there is also a slightly less aggressive edge on the guitars at times, although not to a detrimental extent and a stronger leaning towards the more electronic aspects.

Dave's vocals are excellent as always, delivering superb cleans and his range between growls and screams is astounding and always my favourite part of any Anaal album; vocally he brings so much to the mix.

After a darkly atmospheric and terror filled instrumental intro, 'Acheronta Movebimus', it's obvious from the opening notes of 'Unleash', with the intense wave of riffs and Dave's screams and demented growls that 'Desideratum' is going to meet all the required face ripping criteria.

'Monstrum In Animo' which begins on an apt "parental advisory" sample is a noteworthy track; high speed riffs that rise and fall accompanied by Dave's deranged vocals along with some well placed electronic "glitches" that combine to make a catchy memorable track.

Dave's cleans across 'The One Thing Needful' really make it a standout track. The combination of tortuous screams and a punchy groove to open on 'A Firm Foundation Of Unyielding Despair' raises a wry smile to my face. The title track 'Desideratum' is another favourite of mine from the opening drum work - I don't care if they used cut/paste or a drum machine, it sounds intense and exciting.

Add to that the brutal groove, well chosen samples and more vocal insanity and the overall combination floats my goat immensely.

'Idol' has a good dirty melody and great midway guitars. 'Sub Specie Aeterni (Of Maggots, And Humanity)', a good track with a great d-beat and strong grind feel to the sound, a track that stands out for being a little different from its predecessors. Despite the title, the superb 'The Joystream' is a harrowing and dark track from a lyrical perspective while 'Rage And Red' is another standout track for me; intense riffing, enhanced by quite pronounced electronics and garnished with haunting lyrics delivered with inimitable vitriolic style and an insanely addictive melody.

There's thankfully no let up with the final track 'Ita Mori' which ends with the same pace and degree of insanity as the album began, with some intriguingly bizarre, indecipherable lyrics and an end that is so abrupt you give it a double take in sheer disbelief the first time it catches you out.

I may not be able to say this is their best work but it is still an excellent album, a challenging listen and a challenge is always good, I enjoyed it immensely and as far as I am concerned 'Anaal Nathrakh' still remains an extreme Metal force to be reckoned with.

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