posted on 5/2011 By:
Whether we choose to accept it or not, every single one of our favorite bands will eventually reach an impasse, and whether or not they traverse the flux successfully is completely up to them. Foremost and always, the fans should not be the determining factor in the decisions artists make, and Passion is the result of an act that refuses to compromise its vision for anyone. Anaal Nathrakh has at once been viewed as the heir apparent to both Emperor and Napalm Death, and as much as they state that the similarities are otherwise unintentional, the band has taken the most notable characteristics from each of those two outfits and redlined them to some truly astonishing degrees; from the sparsely melodic ambition of the former, to the ravenous rapid-fire battery of the latter. Now, with this, their sixth proper full-length, the UK duo remains one of the most potent forces in all of extreme metal, showing no hints of restraining their ceaseless rage and taking a step towards a corrosive new era.
What Goes Right: passion can consist of very negative compulsions: stalking, rape, murder, or any form of torture that suits your fancy all fall under its umbrella, and the sight of a person being sawed in half lengthwise crotch-first on the cover embodies the music held within. You can barely count on one hand the number of bands that match the intensity of Anaal Nathrakh, and virtually none of them surpass the pair in sustained mayhem, aside from maybe De Magia Veterum. But where Mories fails and Hunt & Kenney succeed is in making this calamity such a masochistically addictive listen, demanding abusive repeat visits in murderous doses. Passion is no exception, and in numerous ways the music hasn’t changed a bit, going so far as to become even more punctuated and brutal in short frenzied bursts of hate with “Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria” and the hellacious “Locus Of Damnation” as prime examples. This is how you rip heads off in less than two minutes, folks, and it’s a fucking great time to be had by all.
While opener “Volenti Non Fit Iniuria” takes a little longer to get out of the gate compared to the lead-off numbers from Eschaton and In The Constellation Of The Black Widow, it doesn’t take too long before the sounds we know and love erupt in trademark blasts and Hunt’s inimitable screams backed by Mick’s carpal-tunnel-inducing tremolo. In what seems to have become a regular occurrence, they have also invited two special guest vocalists along. The resulting insanity produced by Pavor/Bethlehem’s Rainer Landfermann on “Tod Huetet Uebel” is as deranged as anything the band has ever done before, if not more so, and the contribution of Gnaw vocalist Alan Dubin on the industrial “Ashes Screaming Silence” is similarly unhinged. But the guests do not dominate their hosts, and Dave puts on a larynx-destroying performance for the record books. On the flipside, his commanding cleans and falsetto during “Le Diabolique Est L’ami Du Simple” and “Drug-Fucking Abomination” are also of very high quality.
Atop an endless supply of Mick Kenney’s formidable riffs lies a savage refinement missing on Constellation, and the earthier production reminiscent of Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here greatly strenghtens the overall experience. But the highlight comes early in the form of the aforementioned second cut “Drug Fucking Abomination” and its entire seven-and-a-half minute length. The simple, sinister riff that kicks in @ 1:10 literally raised the hair on the back of my neck upon its initial spin, and leads into the best Hunt chorus since “Shatter The Empyrean” by a mile. It’s a glorious thing to behold, and signals a very interesting progression which the band might explore further in future. They provide depth, exceptional technique, and of course, stunning velocity, which has always been such an intimidating treat, and they still do it with the same youthful exuberance as they did when they first conceived this bastard child in 1999.
What Goes Wrong: is a shorter list, but it's needed. The finest song comes a bit too soon on the album, and the remainder of Passion doesn’t quite hold the same captivation as things continue. Although the energy levels never come close to waning, there are instances where Kenney’s plentiful riffs sound unnervingly familiar, and Hunt nearly sounds uncomfortably forced when he tries to put power behind some of his midrange cleans. The combination of the two negative aspects makes me think it wouldn’t hurt these guys to take two solid years off entirely, and catch their breath instead of pumping out one album after the next in such relatively quick succession. It’s not like they’d be missed with their already sizeable back catalogue to fall back on, and I highly doubt anyone could forget them. Also, it's time to get a real fucking drummer already, okay? Jade Simonetto just laid down 290 bpms on the new Hate Eternal album (though nearly spraining an ankle while doing it), and if Erik Rutan can find such a human jackhammer, then I’m sure there are a few wildly capable drummers out there who would kill for this gig, because this consistently soulless percussive element has run its course and is now a notable detriment.
In The End: we are left with a release that thankfully transcends being Hell Is Empty Pt.III, while ferociously reclaiming what will probably be high marks come year-end list time. This is almost on par with both Hell Is Empty and Eschaton, and though it lacks the flawless consistency and cohesion of Domine Non Es Dignus, there’s also a nod to The Codex Necro when they let the riffs briefly breathe. If you’re a person like myself who was somewhat underwhelmed by their previous album, Passion is a much-needed stab in the gut, so let it be known that Anaal Nathrakh has ripped our faces off once again… but it looks like they’re planning on keeping them this time.
Register to post comments.
11/6/2012 Anaal Nathrakh
In The Constellation Of The Black Widow
7/14/2009 Anaal Nathrakh
Hell Is Empty And All The Devils Are Here
10/29/2007 Anaal Nathrakh
10/17/2006 Anaal Nathrakh
Domine Non Es Dignus