Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas (2012)

Anaal Nathrakh have been at the forefront of British black metal for years and years. I however, was fairly late to the party. The first album of theirs I heard properly was Passion, and Vanitas, their eighth, is what I consider to be their best record. From start to finish it’s a relentless, punishing affair, which is nothing out of the ordinary for this band, but Vanitas seems to squeeze more amazing songs in than all the other records. “Forging Towards The Sunset” might be the closest thing the band will ever have to a hit single, but every other track here is solid too.

I raise you “You Can’t Save Me, So Stop Fucking Trying” and “Of Fire And Fucking Pigs” as two amazing examples. The latter hearkens back to the Nathrakh of old; eschewing all forms of melodic chorus nonsense and taking you on a trip through a blasting hell narrated by the most harrowing vocals ever. The guitars on this record cut necrotic riffs through an extremely professional production job, which is no mean feat – most of the time if you try and bring grime to a big sound it loses a lot of it’s dirt and charm. And the drums….shit, where do I start? The downside is maybe they are triggered into oblivion (Ok, maybe not as bad as Grand Declaration-era Mayhem, but still) but the stamina and dexterity is astounding.

Metal, but with everything pushed to the maximum limit. That includes brutality, speed, and even melody. I’d raise one of those stupid fucking drinking horns to that.