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Saturday, 6 October 2018

Reviews: Anaal Nathrakh, Leader Of Down, Crimson Throne, Windfall (Reviews By Sean, Paul H & Matt)

Anaal Nathrakh: A New Kind Of Horror (Metal Blade) [Sean]

If you’re in some way unfamiliar with nihilistic misery merchants Anaal Nathrakh, then where the fuck have you been? The Brummie gruesome twosome have been consistently serving up some of the finest Black/Grind/Industrial for 2 decades now, two fucking decades! Time may mellow some, but not Anaal Nathrakh and on 10th album, A New Kind Of Horror, they remain at war with the world and every walking meatbag inhabiting it. Here, we are treated to a veritable misanthropic smorgasbord of everything that makes Anaal Nathrakh so fucking potent. Wordy bits done, go and grab your gas mask; this is not a drill. After the nightmarish introduction of The Road To, Obscene As Cancer howls its way into (un)life with the distinctive rage we’ve come to know and love. Quite simply, it’s classic Anaal Nathrakh.

Kenney’s blackened tremolo riffs, unsettling synths, pummelling blast beats and Hunt’s ever impressive vocal contortions. The Reek Of Fear continues this featuring all manner of delightfully horrible utterances (those filters, yo) and…King Diamond!? Obviously not, but Dave’s take on the legendary Danish wailer is uncanny and perfectly fit’s into the madness on display. The surprise gabber (RIP The Berserker) elements are also a welcome addition, neatly fitting into the hellish soundscape. After my initial confusion, Forward turns out to be a welcome surprise. Although the blackened riffs are substituted for a more groovy, dare I say “chuggy” approach, it sits well in the overall oeuvre of A New Kind Of Horror. Bolstered by a much heavier emphasis on the synths, the most “controversial” track is a standout moment and showcases a range of pace without comprising too much of Anaal Nathrakh’s core. 

Sure, it’s the most accessible one here but that isn’t saying much given its creators. New Bethlehem/Mass Death Futures and The Apocalypse Is About You blow my speakers to bits, with the former displaying an air of grandiosity whilst the latter is savagery beyond savagery. In both, I am blown away by Hunt’s vocal capabilities as he soars, wails and howls with effortless ease. “A new Kind of Horror” is quite simply Anaal Nathrakh at the top of their game, a visceral tour de force and it simply fucking slays. Nay, it obliterates! Each harrowing hymn is it’s own individual hell, fully displaying Kenney and Hunt’s compositional might. If this is the soundtrack of the world imploding into confusion and carnage, then our impending doom can’t come soon enough. It will be glorious. 9/10

Leader Of Down: Cascade Into Chaos (Cleopatra Records) [Paul H]

There’s quite a back story to Leader Of Down’s debut release Cascade Into Chaos. Initially formed by former Motörhead guitarist Würzel and bass player Tim Atkinson in Los Angeles back in 2008, the band were joined by drummer Steve Clarke (ex-Fastway) as they decanted to London and began writing. After Würzel’s death in 2011 the band recruited Matt Baker on vocals and guitarist Alex Ward and completed the album, bringing in some very poignant guests to deliver the ten tracks. Named after Würzel’s misheard Status Quo lyric, ‘Down Down, Leader Of Down’, the album features a reworking of Würzel’s 1980s solo track People Say I’m Crazy along with two tracks with Lemmy Kilmister on vocals, which were recorded in LA shortly before his death in late 2015.

Würzel was apparently adamant that his former band mate and great friend should sing on Paradise Turned Into Dust and the opening track on the album not only brings a lump to the throat but also suits the great man’s vocals perfectly. Lemmy bookends the album, adding vocals to the closing track Laugh At The Devil, which also features Fast Eddie Clarke on some typical bluesy guitar. Fast Eddie takes centre stage on Snakebite, delivering all guitars and vocals (whilst the guitar work is great the vocals struggle somewhat). Cue another lump in throat. The Motorhead connection is obvious, with all the tracks delivered in a style reminiscent of the much-missed outfit.

Phil Campbell pops up with a solo on Children Of Disease, which has him playing with Würzel again (remember these guys joined Motörhead together way back in the 1980s) which also features Ugly Kid Joe’s Whitfield Crane on vocals. Elsewhere, Bruce Foxton (The Jam) adds bass on Serial Killjoy whilst Cliff Evans of Tank contributes a solo on Feel Good whilst The Killing Rain is the last song Würzel ever recorded. Mixed by Cameron Webb, who worked with Motorhead on several releases, this is of course a tribute to the fallen Motorhead heroes but also a new beginning for the band. Leader Of Down will be supporting Phil Campbell later this year and should go down a storm. 8/10

Footnote: Now this is where it gets interesting and where my Achilles Heel as a reviewer is exposed. Both Laugh At The Devil and Snakebite, I was unaware when drafting the above review, were originally on Clarke’s solo release It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over. It’s now surfaced that Leader Of Down have apparently, and I use the word with caution, not sought any permission to include these tracks from Clarke’s estate and even more interestingly, apparently there is no agreement with Lemmy’s people to include his contributions either. There was no love lost between Clarke and the US label that is behind this album, and so, if this is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, then this leaves a very sour taste in the mouth indeed. I suggest you read the release on Fast Eddie’s Facebook page and make up your own mind. Whether the Motorhead fan base, who will fill each venue on The Bastard Sons forthcoming tour will show their distaste remains to be seen, but clearly what was originally reviewed on the basis of the album and attached press release is not as straightforward as it seems.

Crimson Throne: Of Void & Solitude (Apocalyptic Witchcraft) [Paul H]

Atmospheric UK black metal outfit Crimson Throne released a successful debut EP last year and have followed it up with an ice melting debut album, Of Void & Solitude. Whilst the EP delved into subjects such as examples of human history akin to the Hegelian view of history as a slaughter bench, this album focuses on human suffering, pain & oppression, spanning across the ages of various cultures and their people. It is ferocious from the off, with the vomited spine-tingling vocals spewing forth from the very bowels of hell. Intricate pieces weave their sorry tales, haunting effects and eerie passages punctuate the frenzied tremolo picking and driving bass drum kicking. Each track presents something different, such as the epic Sightless Remnants and Ironsides, the latter containing some delicious guitar interplay, which contrast with the scene setting of opening track Beckoning and the measured and sinister Blackened Sun. Haunting, captivating, thoughtful and intensely impressive, Crimson Throne have released a massive debut release. Catch them at the Winter Eradication Festival later this year. It should be well worth it. 8/10

Windfall: Suicide God Machine (Self Released) [Matt]

From Kavala/Thrace in North Eastern Greece Windfall are a band who have been a power metal band in their past but from then they have adopted a darker more American style of metal. This record has a bit more of a death/thrash metal bent to it. I'd say they were more in the melodic death metal variety with the Lamb Of God grooves coming through on Rooms Of Madness but on the faster speed metal tracks which have thrash riffs and tonnes of lead guitar mastery it's got nods to Amon Amarth while Into The Pit Of Hell makes waves like modern Trivium. It's all very well played by this four piece, vocally the snarls are aggressive but clear, the riffs come thick and fast with blastbeats galore behind the drumkit. If your hankering for some tough American-styled modern metal then pick up Suicide God Machine and get a mosh on. 7/10

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