Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
Black metal
10 songs (37:58)
Release year: 2012
Anaal Nathrakh, Candlelight
Reviewed by Jaime
So I sit here, listening to Anaal Nathrakh's latest album Vanitas, and I feel absolutely nothing. There is nothing triggering my fear instinct and telling me to run from the evil, threatening noise their music should be. There are no blindsiding hooks to bounce your head of the nearest wall. There are even any "oh, cool" moments. After a near annual release cycle, has fatigue finally set in for John Peel's favourite filthy bastards? Well they definitely have some new things, like a newer drum sound. Hardly the band's strongest point before, but here it sounds even more synthetic than usual, poking out like a spot. Opener The Blood-Dimmed Tide starts with chants before going into some fairly generic riffs. Even reusing the chant theme with the guitars under it is underwhelmingly meh. Also, Kenny learned how to do stutter effects, as they're in damned near every song, adding very little to the dampened atmosphere. Todos Somos Humanos has the most blatant use of it, attempting a pseudo techno thing for its intro that just doesn't feel right. And speaking of synthetic drums, you're gonna have to deal with them being flung about as well. To Spite The Face drives forward with big ol' choruses and the like until BAM. Synth drums. And keyboards. There are keyboards. They aren't obvious, just creeping out of the trenches, but as far atmosphere goes Anaal Nathrakh has managed well enough without them in the past.

The songs, on a whole lack the passion (no pun intended) that the band have shown on their previous releases. There's nowt wrong with them. Any other band would probably be praised for it, but you've heard this all before and this time you'll notice them going through the motions. You could play bingo with it. Drums and questionable use of effects aside the production is... well, it sound like the Thrakh. Everything you know and love is still there, with Feeding The Beast being as twisted as the band have ever been, even with the new additions that I've complained about. Along with Of Fire, And Fucking Pigs it saves the album from being completely mediocre. Shame A Metaphor For The Dead spoils the ending party by having the band churn out some fairly generic sounding symphonic black metal, though the production helps soften the blow. Or harden it, depending on what you're wanting from the album.

If you're a fan you'll probably get a good listen or two out of it. Then a few more to actually remind you what the songs sound like again. I certainly can't remember how they go after a couple of repeated spins, but could probably rattle off various parts from Eschaton or Black Widow on a whim. Otherwise you're best skipping what's easily their weakest album to date. It'll make you appreciate their back catalogue more, and hope that they give it a bit of a rest until the rest one.
Killing Songs :
Feeding The Beast, Of Fire, And Fucking Pigs
Jaime quoted 68 / 100
Milan quoted 86 / 100
Koeppe quoted 55 / 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 - Passion reviewed by Jaime and quoted 83 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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