Anaal Nathrakh : Total Fucking Necro

If you were going to give friends some recommendations of “where to start with heavy metal” I’d say that it was unlikely that you would start with the mayhem that emanates from the dirty, rough grandeur of Anaal Nathrakh. Actually, that’s a bit of a compliment. Not that Anaal are a “bad” band- far from it- but their particular artistic oeuvre is not for those whose usual disposition is defiantly the middle of the road. No: Anaal Nathrakh make some of the most brutal, scaborous and infectious noise on the planet and, with the re-issue of their 2002 album, “Total Fucking Necro”, there’s another fresh opportunity to hear why.

When it was released, it would not be unfair to say that more than  just a set of eyebrows were raised at the sound Anaal were making.  At first listen, it sounds remarkably like a set of kitchen appliances being pushed down several flights of metal stairs. Repeatedly. There is, however, a dark, hypnotic quality to the music here- what appears to be an infernal racket does upon repeated investigation, bring out rhythms and textures, light and shade, humour and anger- often simultaneuously. There is a defiance at the heart of this chaos, a method in the, if you will, aural madness.

And yes, as I’ve already written, there is also, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, a dark, brooding gallows humour that seeps through the record like early morning frost. Put it this way: anyone who calls one of their tunes The TechnoGoat or Satanarchrist knows exactly what vein of humour they are tapping into. The cover of Mayhem’s Carnage still sounds fresh and if, like me, you like to have your black, fetid metal sound like a bomb going off, the brilliance of Ice Blasting Storm Winds is where you’re likely to pitch your sonic tent.

This is far from “easy” music- it is at times wilfully perverse, dirty, sludgy and offensively bleak- stick with it though and it rewards you in abundance. Satanarchrist in particular is a strange, beguiling piece- brutal, savage but almost mausoleum like in comparison to some of the full on violence that engulfs the rest of the record.

Anaal’s fusion of black metal, grindcore, industrial was ear bleeding upon its original release; these two demos now released together have diminished their power not a jot. Believe me, Total Fucking Necro has lost none of its power to shock, appall, entrance and intrigue. Extraordinary.