Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum

Anaal Nathrakh - Desideratum

Anaal Nathrakh have been creating some of the most over-the-top, gut-wrenching, and furious examples of extreme metal since 2001’s “The Codex Necro.” But with their latest “Desideratum,” the band sounds like they might need some time to go back to the drawing board and refresh their blueprint for brutality.

When listening to their debut and their latest album one after another, it’s obvious that the band has moved into different territories and tried new things. It’s just unclear whether these changes were for the better.

The thing about Anaal Nathrakh’s music is that it’s very predictable. This of course is a double-edged sword in many ways. On the positive side, it will be hard to be disappointed by their very focused sound if you are a fan of it, and the formulaic fury pretty much guarantees that you’re headbanging from the very first to last second of any album.

But after eight full length albums, it’s simply hard to shake the feeling that you have heard all this before and that you are somewhat over it already.

When an Anaal Nathrakh album starts, you pretty much know what’s going to happen. The singular tremolo-picked guitar will soon be joined by a storm of programmed blast beats, after which vocalist Dave Hunt will begin screaming his head off. You’ll get a bunch of heavily processed and distorted, mostly incoherent, wails and shrieks, and if you’re lucky, Hunt will bless you with a theatric, rather cheeky, operatic chorus that would make Bruce Dickinson blush.

It’s a formula that works for Anaal Nathrakh and it has worked for some time. But it might have finally overstayed its welcome. However, the problem might not be in the formula itself, but the way in which it is presented. Anaal Nathrakh’s music might simply not be conducive to the sterile and polished sound of “Desideratum.”

For example, the band has always had industrial and electronic elements in their music, but they’ve always blended into the frantic wall of sound. On “Desideratum,” they are decidedly upfront in the mix, and tend to sound a bit overused and ill-advised in some songs. The plastic and crystal-clear guitar sound isn’t doing the band any favors either. Combined with the ultra-precise programmed drum flourishes, the band often sounds far too sterile – not in a good, futuristic, Blade Runner kind of way, more in a generic deathcore band kind of way – especially when they’re caught rummaging through a set of uninspired breakdowns in between interchangeable black metal buzzsaw riffs.

If this is your first time listening to Anaal Nathrakh, you’ll probably be enthralled by this level of vitriol and sonic violence that very few bands can attain.

If you’re a huge fan of the band, you’ll be glad to get another predictable dose of bombastic misanthropy.

If you’re a casual fan who has already listened to their last three albums, there’s nothing on this album that will make you love them any more or less than you already do.

It’s a peculiarly safe album for a band that prides itself on challenging listeners and pushing the envelope of what it means to create extreme music.


01. Acheronta Movebimus
02. Unleash
03. Monstrum in Animo
04. The One Thing Needful
05. A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair
06. Desideratum
07. Idol
08. Sub Specie Aeterni (Of Maggots and Humanity)
09. The Joystream
10. Rage and Red
11. Ita Mori


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