October 2, 2013

Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by Mick Kenney

With their seventh full-length, Vanitas, Birmingham, UK's Anaal Nathrakh remind listeners that the number seven plays an important role in the biblical apocalypse. The breaking of the seven seals calls down the four horsemen and sets off a series of cataclysmic events; seven angels blow trumpets that demolish civilization; and seven bowls pour out plagues and judgements on the world.

Photos by Jo T.

The duo's familiar banshee-like wails are joined by commanding passages of clean singing that, amidst the fierce yet mournful guitars, come across like apocalyptic heraldry. There is a catchiness to the song structures that occasionally brushes against an industrial influence, but it is the swollen, rotten majesty of tracks like "Feeding the Beast" that defines the album, a feral delight at the fragile and mortal, of how easy things are to ruin. If the world is indeed going to end, Vanitas is a record that not only celebrates destruction, but dances in the ashes.

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