Anaal Nathrakh - Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here
FETO Records
Blackened Death Metal
11 songs (35:36)
Release year: 2007
Anaal Nathrakh, FETO Records
Reviewed by Dylan
Album of the month
Three gigantic American holidays have passed since that late October day this was released, and there is only one left before the celebratory black hole of spring and summer. That holiday happens to be Valentine’s Day; celebrated by those who think that flowers, chocolate, and a Hallmark card have some profound meaning, reviled by everyone else (or at least by me). Having just recently gotten my hands on the awesomely titled Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here, it has become my soundtrack to everything that is the polar opposite of what Valentine’s Day represents.

There is so much hate, so much contempt, and such pure aggression on this record that I feel like I’ve been severely beaten for 35 minutes, strangely loving every minute of it. Anaal Nathrakh has managed to outdo 2006’s Eschaton in virtually every way. The songs are more focused, the vocals are scathingly brutal in about five different ways, and Irrumator’s riffs and drumwork still put the band’s colleagues to shame.

The two-man band is still hard to classify, since they borrow from every extreme metal genre under our broiling sun. Pig Destroyer’s spastic insanity, Napalm Death's relentless thirst for speed and brutality, mixed with the occasional blackened melody gives you a vague idea of this band’s sound. The switch from blackened tremolo riffs and rapid-fire blastbeats to a rolling double bass groove backing up thick death metal riffs seems effortless for Irrumator. Vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L is equally as fluid, switching between guttural growls, blackened shrieks, and a type of scream that sounds like it could destroy his larynx before he could fully exhale.

I could go on and on about the über metallic talents of the individuals, but the result of their collaboration is what deserves the most attention. Der Hölle Rache Kocht in Meinem Herzen is the first real song on the album, and is a fantastic opener, displaying all of the band’s elements in one letahl swipe. V.I.T.R.I.O.L growls, shrieks, and sings with a reckless disregard for his lungs, while Irrumator carries the song on a riff that is simple enough to get a feel for, but heavy enough to keep non-metalheads far, far away. The song ends more spectacularly than it begun, complete with a bouncy groove, a demonic chant, and melodic black metal riff to wrap it all up. Screaming of the Unborn is one of the most brutal songs on the album, and is an example of blackened death metal at its finest.

Of course, for an album to get a score this high, each song must posses its own identity, yet manage to flow smoothly enough to complete the big picture. As you could expect, this album does that, and it would take a crazy number of paragraphs for me to describe each song in words. There are still just some riffs, some vocal patterns, some levels of intensity contained within a single song cannot go without mention. Lama Sabachtani is one of those songs. Glued together by an insidiously melodic riff, V.I.T.R.I.O.L lets his insanity unfold around it. In what is arguably the heaviest chorus on the album, he chants out “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachtani”, which is Aramaic for “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Regardless of your religious beliefs, you can’t help but to be taken aback by the sheer intensity of the song when this chant is forced out of the mouth of one of the most intense extreme vocalists in metal history.

Amazingly, the band has been able to capitalize on all that makes extreme metal great, while avoiding some of the most common pitfalls of the genre. The brutality is always at the forefront of the music, yet there are more than enough riffs, vocal patterns, and heavy grooves to have you remember them. Knowing how grueling it can be to listen to extreme metal longer than it was meant to be, I’m glad Anaal Nathrakh managed to pack eleven songs into 35 minutes, with only one song lasting more than four minutes long. Most impressive of all, they have infused Hell is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here with the sort of integrity and honesty that could scare the hell out of most musicians out there. These guys honestly seem as hateful and enraged as their music, which makes this the best thing the band has ever done.
Killing Songs :
All of them.
Dylan quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Anaal Nathrakh that we have reviewed:
Anaal Nathrakh - Endarkenment reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Anaal Nathrakh - A New Kind of Horror reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Anaal Nathrakh - Total Fucking Necro reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Anaal Nathrakh - Desideratum reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas reviewed by Jaime and quoted 68 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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