Anaal Nathrakh: The Whole Of The Law (Metal Blade)
Take a deep breath before hitting the play button on this album as you are about to have the wind knocked out of you. Birmingham's purveyors of absolutely terrifying noise have returned with new album The Whole Of The Law and oh boy they are sounding rather angry. At the heart of The Whole Of The Law is Anaal Nathrakh's core sound which is a hybrid of black metal, grindcore and industrial but this album adds a few twists and turns to their sound. This album is a very angry beast spewing hate and vitriol in every direction through a frenzy of razor sharp guitars, insane blastbeats and jarring industrial sounds and electronic noise ably accompanied by the deranged screams of frontman Dave Hunt. T
he cleanly sung choruses have been a staple part of Anaal Nathrakh's sound for many years now but they are taken to a new level here with Dave Hunt showcasing an impressively dynamic range especially on Extravaganza! where he pulls off King Diamond like falsettos. After 2014's slightly disappointing Desideratum it's great to hear Anaal Nathrakh firing on all cylinders once again. Songs such as Hold Your Children Close And Pray For Oblivion, ...So We Can Die Happy and On Being A Slave are absolute fury incarnate and the album as a whole does not have a weak moment. It barely lets up from start to finish. This is the most intense and driven Anaal Nathrakh have sounded for years and this is definitely one of the best albums they have put out. 9/10
Mono: Requiem For Hell (Temporary Resistance Limited)
Post-rock is one of those genres which has been taken as far as it can go which unfortunately means that it's very difficult for a band these days to produce an album which shines new light on the genre or provides many surprises. Whilst lacking in originality Japanese four piece Mono have produced in Requiem For Hell an album which showcases the best features of a genre that has reached saturation point. This is the band's ninth album and contains five songs which cover a duration of 47 minutes which means that the album doesn't overstay its welcome.
Highlights include the somber Ely's Heartbeat, the epic 18 minute title track which contains the album's heaviest moments and opener Death In Rebirth which builds up layers and layers of atmospheric guitars culminating in a heavy, noisy and dramatic crescendo at the song's conclusion. The flow of the album is a little uneven and there are some moments which are rather forgettable such as closing song The Last Scene but Mono have released another enjoyable and atmospheric album of post-rock which will please fans of the band and the genre. 7/10
Crusado Orchestra: Sjunde (Self Released)
Sjunde is a debut release by Crusado Orchestra who hail from China. China isn't a country well known for its metal scene (not from my perspective anyway) so I headed into this album with a high level of interest. Crusado Orchestra play symphonic black metal being slightly reminiscent of bands such as Dimmu Borgir and the recent releases by Cradle Of Filth though with a far greater emphasis on the symphonic part of the sound. The album comprises of eight songs split into three acts. The first act is more of an introduction than anything with neither of the three songs really going anywhere.
Things improve with the second act especially with the song Diabolus Melancholia with the very epic and grandiose orchestral parts mixing with brutal black and death metal parts and also some more atmospheric parts towards the end. The momentum increases further for the third act which contains the album's highlight - the almost 12 minute epic Pallida Morte Futura. This is a good attempt for a debut album but unfortunately a lot of the album is uninteresting and simply goes nowhere. Where it is good though it is very good indeed. 6/10