Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum

Anaal Nathrakh - Desideratum

Anaal Nathrakh1 are a British band that fuse elements of grindcore, black metal, and industrial metal into a blast-beat-obsessed clusterfuck. Desideratum is their eighth full-length release and first on Metal Blade. Unfortunately, what once sounded fresh and crazy is now safe and stale, and the choice of production relegates Anaal Nathrakh too close to parody of their once groundbreaking sound.

The problem with Desideratum is timing; if this came out in the 90s, it would easily be hailed as a masterpiece amalgamation of in-date styles. In the mid-2010s,2 it’s just cheesy. Operatic vocals, loads of sound bytes about the necessities of parental guidance in violent content and “oh no!”, and mindless screaming creates a musical embodiment of Poe’s Law.3 “Sub Specie Aeterni (of Maggots, and Humanity)” sounds like crabcore, and has a painfully ostentatious song title. Only a few tracks – such as “Unleash” and “A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair” hint at the mind-numbing qualities of Anaal Nathrakh’s early works such as The Codex Necro.

Upon first listening to Desideratum I honestly thought I had a glitched copy because so many songs sounded the exact same. There is very little variation on chords or progressions; “Monstrum in Animo” and “The One Thing Needful” use almost identical tritones. Desideratum does not reward repeated listens, and with the exception of a few songs, it is a blemish on Anaal Nathrakh’s legacy.

1. Acheronta Movebimus – (3:29) – ★★☆☆☆
2. Unleash – (3:41) – ★★★★
3. Monstrum in Animo – (4:01) – ★★☆☆☆
4. The One Thing Needful – (3:52) – ★★★☆☆
5. A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair – (3:37) – ★★★★☆
6. Desideratum – (3:58) – ★★★☆☆
7. Idol – (3:37) – ★★☆☆☆
8. Sub Specie Aeterni (Of Maggots, and Humanity) – (3:16) – ★☆☆☆☆
9. The Joystream – (4:23) – ★★☆☆☆
10. Rage and Red – (3:29) – ★★★☆☆
11. Ita Mori – (3:41) – ★★☆☆☆

Overall: ★★☆☆☆

1Sounds like a particularly unpleasant side effect of giardia.
2Release year of 2014.
3Where any well-made parody is indistinguishable from fervent or fundamental beliefs, and vice-versa.

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