Anaal Nathrakh, Endarkenment review (Metal Blade Records 2020)

The rejection of “Enlightenment” would be, logically, Endarkenment – exactly what you get from the new Anaal Nathrakh album.

Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt are the Birmingham duo who together make Anaal Nathrakh, a Black Metal band that has been on the prowl for two decades now. Over the years the music has become increasingly harsh, landing the band a label of Industrial Black Metal and even Grindcore. They always sound like Black Metal to me, from The Codex Necro (2001) to Passion (2010) to A New Kind Of Horror (2018). Whatever we might call the music, know that loud fast savagery is what you are going to hear. In a written introduction meant to get listeners ready for hearing Endarkenment, the band alerted us that “A musical bath in sulphuric acid awaits.” Take heed.

The title track opens the set with blistering guitars riffs, blast beat drumming, and screaming. The vocals are thereafter variegated, with more screams, coarse, Death Metal-like croaking, and what can only be described as beautiful, melodic singing. “Thus, Always, To Tyrants” is next and it is an emblazoned rush of musical chaos. The lead guitar can barely be understood. The entire album is a ravaging affair.

Two tracks stand out for me, although I think it is best to listen to this album from front to back in its entirety. “Singularity” has a menacing, discordant opening then presents a fairly formal musical ordering and represents in many ways the clearest presentation of the recurring themes in the album. And then the closer, “Requiem,” with a melody that sounds like a twisted, evil carnival, is coming with me on road trips from now on. Combine the music with the direct lines of the Requiem Mass and the dark beauty is almost overwhelming. A sorrowful lead guitar tells a simple and profound story in the second half, and the lasting impact of the composition is set in stone. Highly recommended.

Metal Blade Records lets Endarkenment loose on the world Friday, October 2nd through the usual outlets. It is harsh and that is just what fans are looking for.


Anaal Nathrakh, Endarkenment review (Metal Blade Records 2020)