Anaal Nathrakh - _Desideratum_
(Metal Blade, 2014)
by: Dan Lake (8 out of 10)
If Anaal Nathrakh had ever showed an interest in leading the way toward the future of metal, _Desideratum_ might just be where they were pointing. If Anaal Nathrakh exhibited even the slightest hint that musical advancement excited them, that climbing the ladder of progress made up even a fraction of a percent of their ambitions, it would be easy to hear _Desideratum_ as a breathtaking step in that direction. But Anaal Nathrakh have never sought forward motion nor appreciated any expectation of evolution. When the human race is destined to consume itself in a slowly disintegrating cycle of autodefecation and remastication, what use is progress? Wouldn't you rather just tear the lying tongues from the assholes they're tickling and the gullets from which they sprang and bathe in all the blood and chaos?

Anaal Nathrakh have a long and prolific history of scaring the tits off anyone who encounters their brand of thousand-fisted black/death misanthropy. Not all of their developments along the way have been everyone's cup of frothing gangrene -- Maiden-sized clean vocals, anyone? -- but it's hard to deny the duo's dedication to decimation and constant teetering between caustic metal and sheer noise. Their live act has become one more reason to respect the band, as they acquire complete control over their shrapnel-studded sound and the audiences who gather to witness the atrocity. _Desideratum_ updates Anaal Nathrakh's sound yet again, with odd electronic stutters akin to dubstep, but instead of feeling like a trend-hopping calculation, it seems more like, after ambushing and shattering enemy forces, Anaal Nathrakh dug a valuable new weapon out of the rubble and have turned it on their own disgusting audience.

From the moment "Acheronta Movebimus" shivers to life with its chopped effects and anguished samples, you know Anaal Nathrakh have stitched something special together. Strangely, the track takes an unexpected turn toward djent, which admittedly might curdle first impressions. Quickly, though, "Unleash" explodes into two dozen electrified serpents seeking out your ears and flesh. The onslaught continues, freshening Anaal Nathrakh's hateful attack with grating electronic surges and sampled voices meant to amplify their guitar-driven, anti-human manifesto. Some listeners have slagged the album for its inclusion of modern studio techniques, but when the results are this rabid and visceral, we refuse to join the chorus of shruggers. _Desideratum_ slays hard.


(article published 12/8/2015)

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