Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow (Candlelight/Earsplit)

Like being trapped in a grindcore web, then being devoured by a black metal spider! Anaal Nathrakh brings the end of the world... again.



With six proper releases since 2001 (one of which being 2003's When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap As It Has Sewn EP getting re-released by Earache with three live bonus tracks in 2005), Britain's BlackGrind Bulldozer Anaal Nathrakh has been a prolific force in extreme music over the past decade. This dastardly duo, the core unit comprised of vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L (Dave Hunt) and jack-of-all-trades musician/songsmith/producer Irrumator (Mick Kenney), continue their run of 666 megaton albums with 2009's In the Constellation of the Black Widow, which is their first effort for fellow countrymen Candlelight Records.

My first experience with Anaal Nathrakh came in the form of their 2006 full length release, Eschaton (Seasons of Mist), while I was on a 15 month dream vacation in Iraq with the US Army. Eschaton was a perfect soundtrack for the violence, death, and chaos that enveloped me on a daily basis. By taking sinister black metal and its themes of annhilation and apocalypse, then peppering it with the brutality and ferocity of the grindcore that was spawned in their homeland, Anaal Nathrakh and Eschaton kept me motivated for war. 2007's Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here (Seasons of Mist) continued the war effort with a more epic and polished delivery. Of course, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this year's work, In the Constellation of the Black Widow. I would not be disappointed!

No one spits the black metal venom like Anaal Nathrakh. If you hear them once, they will be immediately recognisable every other time you hear them. It's their unique mixture of extreme styles that sets them apart from all the rabble. In the Constellation of the Black Widow continues the band's trend with an even more epic and polished opus than their previous piece. The improvement in production quality is evident from the get-go, and the the album's overall presentation sounds much fuller and expansive. Riffage found in tracks like Terror In the Mind of God and So Be It harken to the more popular Norwegian black metal acts (or even their uber-popular fellow Brits... don't fucking pretend like you don't know who I'm alluding to either!!), but delivered with more neck-snapping power and passion than their Norse counterparts or 'Filthy' brethren could ever hope to muster nowadays.

Without warning, you'll come across a grindcorian riff that will make you yearn to punch the nearest person in the mouth, such as the opening to Oil Upon the Sores of Lepers. This time around, one track does feel more purely black metal than the rest, that being Satanarchrist, with the double time picking throughout an unmistakably black arpeggio refrain.

Also, if this is your first taste of Anaal Nathrakh, it is hard to believe that one man, Mick Kenney, writes and performs all the instruments on their records... well, mostly. Over the years, Mick has brought in a lil help for a couple tracks on each record. Regardless, Mr. Kenney is an amazing musician from strings to drums (check out his hyper-speed double bass bits on the album's closing track, Blood Eagles Carved On the Backs of Innocents). V.I.T.R.I.O.L's vocals also remain a highpoint on the record. More of an instrument of lyrical violence than just a means to convey a theme, his delivery is all over the board. Several types of screams find company with guttural vomits and the clean vocal harmonies have me picturing 'The Seven Holy Hell Preachers' that King Diamond so famously mentioned to us in Satan's Fall delivering an end time message... but not in falsetto... er... moving on!

Anaal Nathrakh's music has never been for those weak of ear, or for those metallers that require super catchy moshable sections permeating every single song in a predictable fashion. But for those sick freaks that embrace sheer musical violence, fans of black metal's darkness and grindcore's brutality, Anaal Nathrakh's In the Constellation of the Black Widow will have us donning our gasmasks and inciting a worldwide nuclear war for the Satanarchrist!!

Anaal Nathrakh's In the Constellation of the Black Widow is out now on Candlelight Records.