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Anaal Nathrakh: Desideratum

Brummie duo continue their brutal march

Now eight albums into a musical crusade that’s been as vaunted as it has been hostile, Anaal Nathrakh have nothing else to prove.

From their early black metal of The Codex Necro and the state-of-the-art grinding malevolence of more recent efforts, the pair have continued to forge a singular path of unrivalled extremity. Now signed to the prestigious Metal Blade, highlighting their well-earned position in the upper echelons of the metal underground, it also gives Desideratum the scope to become the apex at which the band’s unique form of brutality and ambition culminate. Acheronta Movebimus’s muscular riffs and menacing undercurrent tees up the opening hateful blast of Unleash, with V.I.T.R.I.O.L.’s tortured screams soon morphing into a grandiose chorus, continuing where 2012’s Vanitas left off. Monstrum In Animo is punctuated by disturbing electronic barbs, while the industrial oppression of A Firm Foundation Of Unyielding Despair and the grisly nihilism of Sub Specie Aeterni prove that the band have lost none of their misanthropic bite. What’s more, an immaculate production helps directs every frantic beat and bitter line straight into the grey matter. However, the real strength of the record is the band’s continued amalgamation of this earth-shattering assault with a sophisticated, almost opulent, melodic sheen, best encapsulated on The One Thing Needed, mixing ferocity with a captivating melody. The riffs of Idol and the title track evoke a hideously mutated At The Gates, while the mournful majesty of The Joystream is the nearest the band have yet come to a bona fide metal classic. There’s little doubt that Anaal Nathrakh have taken another imperious step forward on Desideratum. Still heavier and more sonically devastating than anything you’re likely to hear this year, it also marks the tipping point where V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and Irrumator ascend the underground’s confines into a wider, unsuspecting world.

Via Metal Blade