When I entered round one with UK extreme metal act Anaal Nathrakh’s latest work Vanitas I expected at the very least a good album. Looking at their track record it’s hard to expect anything less than at least “good” from these guys. Well, what I ended up getting blasted with was the best damn album of the year. It’s as if after making great album after great album the band just decided to buckle down and make a perfect one. That’s quite a feat considering just how far they’ve already pushed their sound and style.
Anaal Nathrakh have captured chaos, and for nearly 40 minutes they let that little bastard run wild and wreak havoc on anyone within hearing range of whatever speakers are blasting Vanitas. Wait, what are those emotionless operatic style vocals that kick off the opening track “The Blood Dimmed Tide” and reappear occasionally throughout the rest of the album you ask? Oh, that’s just Anaal Nathrak’s good buddy Attila Csihar of Mayhem stopping by to perform guest vocals to make what’s happening even more badass. It also gives their black metal cred a strong shove against the naysayers because, well, Atilla Csihar doesn’t just whore his vocals out to anyone…right?
For the duration of Vanitas Anaal Nathrakh stretch the boundaries of black metal, grindcore, industrial, and just about everything in between. They absolutely beat the shit out of every element they’re using and force them into submission. In similar fashion, the aural assault that is unleashed attacks the listener mercilessly. As extreme and genre bending as Vanitas may be, it’s easily the catchiest, most accessible thing the band has ever done.
Tracks like “Forging Towards The Sunset” and “”You Can’t Save Me, So Stop Fucking Trying” will seriously have you singing along. I foresee this album attracting a lot of new fans to the band and just blowing the minds of longtime fans. It’s not that Anaal Nathrakh is doing anything they haven’t before it’s that they’re perfecting it. I don’t know what they could possibly do next. Break up?