Even though the two main members of Anaal Nathrakh – Mick “Irrumator” Kenney, and vocalist Dave “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” Hunt – haven’t actually recorded in the same studio together for around ten years, the pair have still managed to spew more bitterness and agonized rage than can surely be healthy. With over 5,000 miles between them for latest album Endarkenment (Metal Blade), Kenney pushed buttons and twiddled knobs in his California studio, while Hunt recorded his vocals in far less sunny English climes, cathartically venting his spleen a few rooms down from where an S&M porn film was being shot.
Announcing itself with a flesh-stripping black metal riff, the title track surges, and blasts, boasting an unfeasibly catchy chorus, while ‘Thus, Always, To Tyrants’ features Hunt in particularly demented form. The intense and atmospheric ‘The Age of Starlight Ends’ includes Monty Python references and a second HOLY FUCKING SHIT, WHERE DID THAT COME FROM chorus which makes the urge to resist suddenly belting out “A THOUSAND COCKS!” a virtual impossibility. Really not something to listen to on public transport or at grandma’s funeral then.
“Everything is sex”, intones Hunt on the Dimmu Borgir meets Rob Halford ‘Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks in Its Eyes)’, another uniquely titled song which boasts a monstrously melodic, yet still suitably vicious chorus. Taking itself literally, ‘Beyond Words’ is prime Nathrakh. Three and a half minutes of unintelligible spewed violence which is followed by even more explosive brutality in the shape of ‘Feeding the Death Machine’, the pneumatic schizophrenia of ‘Create Art, Though The World May Perish’, and ‘Singularity’, the band’s warning about the creation of emotions in artificial intelligence.
The unrestrained, venomous hatred of ‘Punish Them’ originates from a story about a British woman sentenced to death in Malaysia for smuggling drugs (reportedly against her will), and the unsurprisingly vile responses taken from the website comments section of a certain UK tabloid newspaper – some of which are included as a sickening and deliberately inaudible montage. Based on Guiseppe Verdi‘s Messa da Requiem, closing track ‘Requiem’ feels almost apocalyptic in weight, eventually climaxing with a beautifully melancholic guitar outro as we enter a world of “endarkenment” rather than enlightenment.
A caustic assault on the senses, Endarkenment is as necro and nihilistic as ever while remaining consistently interesting. The riffs are savage and the drums relentless, but it’s Hunt who dominates the record, singing, roaring, growling, and spitting out lyrics designed to stimulate the intellect as well as prompt more visceral, physical reactions.
9 / 10