Album: A New Kind of Horror
Artist: Anaal Nathrakh
Label: Metal Blade
Non-Airable Tracks: Obscene as Cancer, Forward!
Release Date: September 28th, 2018
Some of the most violent showings of black metal came out of the UK in the early 2000s from Anaal Nathrakh. First was the dynamic masterpiece The Codex Necro, my favorite black metal album, in 2001 and that was followed by the faithful Domine Non Es Dignus in 2004. Fast forward to 2018 and Anaal Nathrakh has just released their 10th studio album A New Kind of Horror. Here, the tracks are dense, characterized by fast, blasted drumming, blazing guitar attacks, samples of interviews and effects, and screaming passed off as singing. This assault of noise is far from chaos, but it is also far from something with a wide breath of diversity.
The album is only 33 minutes long and just one song exceeds the four-minute mark. Due to the nature of these songs, there is almost no room to breathe in between tracks as none of them let up. While there is no lack of variety among the tracks, there is a supreme lack of emotion. This is pure anger and, thus, inhuman. “Obscene as Cancer” begins with horn blaring and a symphonic choir underlying their metal and then the next song, “Reek of Fear”, follows almost the exact same blueprint. These songs often only take a few beats of resting to breath but using a small amount of rests is not a replacement for true dynamic songwriting. “Forward!” is one of the best songs on the album. The sound of a machine gun being added to the drum patterns and the instrumental refrain make this one of the most memorable songs. After two more violent tracks in the same style of the first comes the best song on the album “Vi Coactus” whose energy is transferred into an epic, symphonic climax. After that is a winding down of ambition. “Mother of Satan” passes by in an almost comical chanting of “Satan” but the pounding rhythms are infectiously misanthropic. “The Horrid Strife” and “Are We Fit for Glory?” are the two ending tracks which make use of more dynamics but, with all the violence here, it feels like the quieter moments were an afterthought.
Trying to balance cathartic violence and aggression with other human emotions is always a struggle but Anaal Nathrakh proved they were masters of the balance on The Codex Necro back in 2001. Unfortunately, that skill did not quite translate well here which makes A New Kind of Horror a well-done but one-dimensional album.
Final score: 6.5/10
Sounds Like: Anaal Nathrakh, Fear Factory
Recommended tracks for radio play: Forward! (would need cleaning), Vi Coactus
Reviewer: Bryan Burnett
Review Date: October 24th, 2018