Even by their consistently high standards 2014’s Desideratum marked a highpoint for Anaal Nathrakh, with their unfeasibly catchy melodic drama reaching its zenith over a maelstrom of cutting-edge blasts of grind-infused black metal putridity.
It’s an approach that’s been further refined, as armed with On Being A Slave and bleak majesty of closer Of Horror, And The Black Shawls, the Birmingham duo’s ninth album reaches the same opulent heights set by its predecessor.
While The Whole Of The Law thrills once again with the murderous savagery of the cold, mechanically precise blastbeats and hellish riffs, it’s the increased use of electronic effects that further mutates the nihilistic assault of this unique band into bolder, ghastlier forms. The debilitating, synthetic keys of Depravity Favours The Bold and On Being A Slave sound like Emperor being programmed by Skynet, while the wild industrial punches of Hold Your Children Close And Pray for Oblivion and crackling malevolence of In Flagrante Delicto add a gnarled edge to the piercing cacophony. Dave Hunt’s high-pitched operatics and indecipherable wails – at their most warped on the almost absurd histrionics of Extravaganza! – add a final nail to another exquisite descent into the human mind’s most disturbing recesses.