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Anaal Nathrakh – “Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion” (Song Premiere)


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No band on earth sounds like Anaal Nathrakh, but pinning that sound down presents a bit of a challenge. Loosely speaking, multi-instrumentalist Mick Kenney takes the symphonic black metal sound of mid-period Emperor and slathers it with contemporary electronic and industrial influences. It shouldn’t work, but it does, thanks in no small part to the talents of vocalist Dave Hunt, whose literate and grind-aligned nihilism gives their songs some dramatic heft.

While it’s distinctly their formula, Nathrakh haven’t deviated far from it since 2006’s Eschaton, at which point the band barely sounded like the too-kvlt noise technicians who wrote The Codex Necro. Some metalcore infiltrated their sound around 2011’s Vanitas (not surprising, since Kenney writes some songs for Motionless in White and toured with Bleeding Through), and contemporary dubstep effects showed up in their previous record, Desideratum, but more-or-less the Anaal Nathrakh sound is now codified. Which means don’t expect another “Pandemonic Hyperblast” on their upcoming record The Whole of the Law.

That doesn’t mean The Whole of the Law has nothing to offer, though. On the contrary, Kinney’s learned to incorporate the contemporary electronic effects from Desideratum in a more efficient and less intrusive way. Take, for example, the song “Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion,” streaming below. Gabber beats accent stabbing riffs, but don’t call attention to themselves. More importantly, the song trucks. Kenney and Hunt accomplish more – more riffs, more hooks, bigger choruses – in three and a half minutes than they did in the four and a half minutes form “The Joystream” from Desideratum, and “The Joystream” was one of the best songs from that album. The formula hasn’t changed, but I find myself reaching for The Whole of the Law more than most of Anaal Nathrakh’s recent records.

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The Whole of the Law is out October 28 via Metal Blade Records. Follow Anaal Nathrakh on Facebook.

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