Makes for some uneasy listening.

Anaal Nathrakh’s latest was written as a paean to the scars left by the First World War and as a metaphor for modern world politics. Always a take-no-prisoners band in their approach, inserting this into their already intense musical atmosphere can make for some uneasy listening.

After a brief industrial introduction the band takes care of proceedings  with ‘Obscene as Cancer’. Musically this is more stripped back than usual, but it is the vocal acrobatics that really take centre stage as they go from completely guttural to nigh on operatic. Fans of the band’s older darker material may get a jolt from this approach.

The experimental nature carries on through ‘The Reek of Fear’ and ‘Forward!’ with a dub-step/deathcore combination of musical elements that is more successful on the latter track when used effectively to enhance the sounds of war. On ‘Vi Coactus’, Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through add some clarity to the absolute whirlwind sound that is uncomfortable Anaal Nathrakh at their swivel-eyed lunatic best.  Unfortunately this is followed up by ‘Mother Of Satan’, a musically strong track that feels as if the band wrote the lyrics just fill whatever gaps they fit in.

While it dips in the middle, the band close out the album strongly. ‘The Horrid Strife’ brings the war right back into the front of your mind with its industrial sample, while ‘Are We Fit for Glory Yet? (The War to End Nothing)’ looks at the questions of the futility of war through every lens the band has attempted, from the blackness of the riff of the industrial/grind heartbeat that lays beneath to the chorus of voices, upping the complete bleakness that they have spent 30 minutes drumming into you.

While the most stripped back album the band has ever done, it still carries a weighty burden of the subject matter. Well worth the listen even if the purest fans of the band may not appreciate the use of a lot of electronics.

  1. The Road To…
  2. Obscene as Cancer
  3. The Reek of Fear
  4. Forward!
  5. New Bethlehem/ Mass Death Futures
  6. The Apocalypse is About You!
  7. Vi Coactus
  8. Mother of Satan
  9. The Horrid Strife
  10. Are We Fit for Glory Yet? (The War to End Nothing)