Anaal Nathrakh waste no time launching into proceedings with the title track Endarkenment. Everything is at full tilt from the trademark tremolo riffs and the immense vocal hooks in the chorus. It’s more than a statement of intent or a mere introduction. Anaal Nathrakh are certainly out for blood.
Thus, Always, To Tyrants is a short punisher of a track. There’s a bubbling cauldron of industrial rage amid the chaotic solos and brief moments of falsetto from frontman Dave Hunt. Instrumentalist Mick Kenney ramps up the tension at an intense tempo. The Age of Starlight Ends is relatively more melodic than what the prior tracks have yielded. The chorus is easily as poignant as that of the title track. It feels like it’s designed to be relentless yet melodic, but the chorus and memorable guitar lead have brought with them a level of pathos that might not have been otherwise present.
Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks In Its Eyes) sees Dave Hunt’s falsettos at their most King Diamond on Endarkenment. Another relatively catchy track, one that is fortunate to rise above the grinding rhythms of the instrumentation. Beyond Words just goes for the jugular in ways that their older albums didn’t necessarily approach. It’s ballistic in its riffing yet the industrial elements and vocals offer respite in their juxtaposition. This is almost an odd thing to say, but it works in a manner similar to that of latter-day Sigh albums.
Feeding the Death Machine is grandiose in scope despite being around the average length among tracks on Endarkenment. There is everything to be expected from a longer epic, neatly condensed into a mere few minutes’ time. It’s tracks like this that work as a testament to how well Anaal Nathrakh have honed their sound, as well as how well it’s been refined for this album.
Create Art, Though The World May Perish is an immediately-timed blaster, the insidious riffing and drum patterns combined with Dave Hunt’s malevolent vocal rasps provide no relief; in tandem serving us with a reminder of just how bleak this world may become. Singularity actually possesses a brief intro that provides a measured amount of relief before assaulting the listener with equal amounts of melody and brutality. Conversely, the chorus is near-on uplifting. Anaal Nathrakh have stated that this album is more ‘melodic’ than previous works. While that may be the case, a piece of art such as Singularity belies the fact that their notion of ‘melody’ is as characteristically Anaal Nathrakh as anything else.
Penultimate track Punish Them and the closer Requiem coexist as a pair. The former lives up to its name; another belter on the level of Thus, Always To Tyrants that is perhaps the most razor-sharp cut on the album, offering nary a glimpse of respite. The latter recalls almost a classic influence in its passages. That is to say, it’s a classical influence twisted and warped by Mick Kenney’s mind. It sounds so Anaal Nathrakh yet so unlike them at the same time. It serves to act as a counterbalance to Punish Them’s violent ethos; offering almost a sadistic glimpse of tranquillity in its final moments.
Endarkenment has been mentioned by Anaal Nathrakh as being both their most ‘mature’ and most ‘melodic’ album. I can see where the maturity has perhaps imbued their songwriting with yet another creative touch. It might be melodic but it’s no less punishing than any of their prior albums, and sometimes the mix allowed the instrumental to somewhat suffocate the vocals. That may be intentional, but it’s always a joy to hear Dave Hunt’s multifaceted approach loud and clear. Recommended for long-time fans and those new to the band, as well as anyone looking for an outlet to rage.
- Thus, Always, to Tyrants
- The Age of Starlight Ends
- Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks in its Eyes)
- Beyond Words
- Feeding the Death Machine
- Create Art, Though the World May Perish
- Punish Them