Anaal Nathrakh: Vanitas

The true, terrifying sound of modern metal

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Far too many bands pretend to be angry now. Shaving your head and swearing will not automatically make you Phil Anselmo, and too many personal angry diatribes sound about as believable as a David Icke lecture. Whinging Facebook statuses as song lyrics? No thanks! A lot of contemporary metal puts on an aggressive front, but rarely has the balls to back it up. Songs about dragons and unicorns seem more realistic in comparison. Thankfully, Midlands misanthropes Anaal Nathrakh have returned to teach the lightweights how to make a genuinely aggrieved-sounding album.

From their original black metal roots, they moved to a more grindcore sound but have now settled somewhere between the two. Vanitas is the latest in a line of top-notch albums from a band that have slowly snuck up and installed themselves as one of the UK’s most intriguing metal acts. More violent than a night in Newcastle and as catchy as the flu, Vanitas is far more polished and modern-sounding than early efforts. It still sounds raw, but Todos Somos Humanos and Forging Towards The Sunset are glorious anthems for the truly hateful.

Nihilism and misanthropy are recurring themes; You Can’t Save, So Stop Fucking Trying is as spiteful as it savage – this is a band that views the world through shit-tinted glasses. If you want trve and kvlt then look elsewhere; this is state-of-the-art ferocity blending grind, black metal and catchy modern metal grooves, topped off with a fuck-you attitude that would give your average pitbull pause for thought.

Imagine Dimmu Borgir and Napalm Death had a love child, abandoned it in the woods and it was brought up by wolves… with rabies. No joy, no happy endings, but a shitheap of fun.