Season of Mist, 2004
Genre: Black/Death Metal
1. I Wish I could Vomit Blood on You... ...People
2. The Oblivion Gene
3. Do Not Speak
4. Procreation of the Wretched
5. To Err is Human, to Dream Futile
6. Revaluation of All Values (Tractatus Alogico Misanthropicus)
7. The Final Destruction of Dignity (Die Letzten Tage der Menschheit)
8. Swallow the World
9. This Cannot be the End
10. Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light
After an EP that I found lack luster, I was beginning to worry that Anaal Nathrakh only had one really great release in them. Sometimes that happens, a band puts out such a devastating debut, they just can't ever seem to overcome that first album. Luckily, Anaal Nathrakh have a lot more to offer than just the one album. Enter "Domine Non es Dignus", which is a very proper follow-up to "The Codex Necro" and actually does make some effort to advance their sound.
Aside from the intro, which I always skip, this is a great album. The intro is just someone throwing up with all kinds of effects put on the recording. It's actually vastly annoying. However, once we get into "The Oblivion Gene" we realize why we've all picked up this album. They've really made some advances from the EP. "Domine Non es Dignus" returns to the intensity of "The Codex Necro", but they managed to create a far more thought out sounding album. It doesn't sound as chaotic or frantic compared to the debut. Here they also begin to back off from the harsh Black Metal assault and infuse a bit more Death Metal into their riffing style and sound. With this they've also infused a level of atmosphere into some of their compositions, which makes for a much more dynamic listen. Due to this "Domine Non es Dignus" doesn't come off as insane and chaotic, instead it feels a bit more tempered and focused. This isn't, necessarily, a bad thing, since Anaal Nathrakh keep a good level of interest in their writing, so it works pretty well in the end. Still, I'm not sure something as uncompromising as "The Codex Necro" would be easy to pull off again. Vitriol's vocals are as menacing as ever and he certainly rounds out his skill levels with many tracks, even including clean vocals in some sections, which we were first introduced to on the EP. There's even one part of "Do Not Speak" where he absolutely nails the vocal style of John Tardy from Obituary, and I've never heard someone hit that tone as perfectly... other than Tardy himself! That was certainly a pleasant surprise.
In the end, while this is not a return to "The Codex Necro" insanity, they do aim to up the powerful nature of their music with this and it hits hard in that regard. They definitely are trying to play around with the balance of the insanity and the more thought out writing approaches and "Domine Non es Dignus" yields quite the experience in this regard. I really have no complains about this album and I think it is one of their finest. I quite enjoy their new approach far more than what they were doing on the EP, so perhaps that's why this stands out a lot for me.
Genre: Black/Death Metal
1. Cataclysmic Nihilism
2. How the Angels Fly in (We can Never be Forgiven)
3. Never Fucking Again
4. Genesis of the Antichrist
6. When Fire Rains Down from the Sky, Mankind will Reap as it has Sown
BBC Rock Show Live 23, March 2005:
7. Human, All too Fucking Human
8. Swallow the World
9. Do Not Speak
I remember when this came out a friend of mine had an original copy of it, so I was able to give it a listen before I purchased it. Initially I thought it was a pretty weak release and it wasn't until years later when I wanted to fill in my Anaal Nathrakh collection that I eventually purchased a copy of this. The version I have is the 2005 edition published by Earache, which includes the BBC show recorded in 2005.
I after "The Codex Necro" Anaal Nathrakh were left wondering what they could possibly do next. They had already marked their footprint on the metal scene, but what could possibly be next. On this release they clearly wanted to keep their core sound there and in many ways this doesn't really deviate much from the original path. I feel like a little more Death Metal has started creeping into their sound a little bit, but in the grand scheme of Anaal Nathrakh, I'm not really convinced this is a great effort on their part. For some reason, things don't sound as insane and frantic. The shift in this quality to their music feels like they've left something truly missing from their sound. My favorite song on here is probably "Never Fucking Again", because it has this wonderful riff that is vaguely reminiscent of "Submission is for the Weak", but it doesn't have the same edge to it... so in that regard it's also a little disappointing. I think in some tracks they were trying to go for a more haunting and dark edge, but it just doesn't fit amidst all the ferocity they try to include from the first album. I think this is certainly the case with the inclusion of clean vocals on the title track. While Vitriol's vocals are, as expected, good even in this regard, it just didn't help this release any.
The bonus section is mostly taken off of "Domine Non es Dignus", but they open with a track from "The Codex Necro". Apparently, Nick Barker and Shane Embury helped out to fill out the performance. These are extremely interesting versions to listen to, because you can really hear how much is done in studio. They do a good job capturing the original sound, but it feels a lot more raw and minimal compared to the original recording. Vitriol's vocals sound just as devastating here, proving he can really pull this kind of material off in a live setting.
I really hope Anaal Nathrakh can find a solid direction for their sound after their immense debut. Some fans may enjoy this, but I think its only good for the die-hards that really need a complete discography. This just doesn't have the same fire as before. I really hope they can get back some of the intensity for the next full-length.
Genre: Black Metal
1. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance
2. When Humanity is Cancer
3. Submission is for the Weak
4. Pandemonic Hyperblast
5. Paradigm Shift - Annihilation
6. The Technogoat
7. Incipid Flock
8. Human, All too Fucking Human
9. The Codex Necro
Here is the first exposure I've ever had to Anaal Nathrakh, and at first glance I remember thinking it was pretty good. I mostly remember it being outrageously intense. Anaal Nathrakh have managed to bring the foundation set out in the demos into a far more cohesive light. Instead of really choosing a particular direction, they ended up blending a lot of the earlier material together in a sort of immense melting pot. It makes for quite an incredible debut in the grand scheme of things.
Now, I do agree with a lot of reviewers out there who say Anaal Nathrakh isn't really doing anything new. And that is true, they don't have a new take on the riffing in Black Metal or the way instruments are performed, everything is pretty old hat in that regard. However, when this came out I still felt this was incredibly different from anything else I had heard at the time. It really stood out in my mind as being the most chaotically intense album I had ever heard. Track after track of this album is just an unrelenting punishment, and its interesting to note that not all of the tracks are played at top speed. Despite having sections of songs that are quite slow, they always manage to keep up that devastating essence throughout this recording. I feel like this is one of the major missteps in Marduk's "Panzer Division Marduk", for Anaal Nathrakh have released an album that is far beyond the normal levels of extreme. Even though the general performance isn't hugely different, its really the combination of elements that does this album justice. Vitriol's vocal performance is off the charts in terms of frantic insanity. Some songs have me wondering if he's falling on the "Slowly We Rot" approach from early Obituary where he's just screaming and not actually saying anything. That being said, another aspect of the heaviness is generated by the down tuned and crushing guitar tone, which bears resemblance to Death Metal almost. The riffing is almost entirely Black Metal though. Appropriately to add to this insane atmosphere you will a bit sampling from the movie Event Horizon, which is quite apt as being one of the more terrifying movies of its time.
"The Codex Necro" is quite the whirlwind of an experience. To say their debut is a success is an understatement, especially by 2014 as I write this given their well known appeal in the scene. I feel that "The Codex Necro" holds a special place in my mind as a benchmark of intensity. In some ways Anaal Nathrakh would push the envelope further in the future... but they would never really recreate the intoxicating feel of "Submission is for the Weak".
Leviaphonic Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal
Anaal Nathrakh: 1999
1. Anaal Nathrakh
3. Ice Blasting Storm Winds
4. Carnage (Mayhem Cover)
Total Fucking Necro: 1999
7. L.E.T.H.A.L.: Diabolic
8. De Mysteriis dom Sathanas (Mayhem Cover)
9. The Technogoat
I don't own Anaal Nathrakh's demos individually, instead I picked up this compilation shortly after hearing their album "The Codex Necro". I missed out on the original pressing of this release as well, but I managed to obtain the Rage of Achilles version, which is much better than the original. The track listing above reflects the Rage of Achilles version. The version I own has the complete two demos with all the cover songs and bonus track "Necrogeddon", which is the pre-cursor of a track later used on "Domine Non es Dignus". After hearing "The Codex Necro" their material quickly became in high demand. To give you an idea of how old this is, the official Anaal Nathrakh website is housed in a geocities location as stated by the booklet!
I'm actually surprised it took two demos before Anaal Nathrakh got a contract, because after hearing the self-titled demo you can tell this band was really onto something interesting. The band is a duo starring Irrumator on all instruments and programming and V.I.T.R.I.O.L. on vocals... whom I will just call Vitriol at this point. Screw all those periods. One of the shocking things on this release is that this has some of the more realistic sounding drum programming for its time. Even though all this technology was being used Irrumator still managed to keep the music extremely raw, hence the title of the compilation "Total Fucking Necro". The self-titled demo actually has a lot of very catchy and groove styled elements to its style, which is not the norm for late 90's Black Metal. The second demo is truly a shining moment for he project... opening with "The Supreme Necrotic Audnance" we hear this band has already evolved in such a short amount of time. They've seriously upped the intensity level and Vitriol's vocal performance is even more menacing than before. Strangely I feel that "Satanarchrist" mellows out the eel of the albums a little bit. It's a far more melodic song and just doesn't follow the punishing atmosphere of the opening track. From here they proceed to perform one of the better covers of "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas" out there. Part of me sort of wishes they would redo this with their more modern sound, but there's just no replacing the raw viciousness of this I think. Vitriol does a great Atilla for a little while, but then falls into doing his own vocal interpretation, which is really what makes this shine. Its one thing to copy, but can you add your own twist? And he certainly does and the result is something far more frantic than the original. It certainly makes for a great atmosphere.
Between the two demos we have a lot of variation for the project. Catchy sections, some more somber piece, and other absolutely punishing and menacing tracks. Everything has great riffing, but I wonder if they can harness all this power they can apparently wield in their sound. It's obviously time for a full-length to be unleashed next, but we'll see what shape that will take. If I had heard these demos first, I would be wondering what the answer to this question would be.