“It’ll all be over by Christmas” comes the gurgled refrain on the pummelling war hymn, Forward! The few stabs of lyrics that make sense the first time through Anaal Nathrakh’s latest 35-minute odyssey of insanity, A New Kind Of Horror, paint a foreboding picture of a war so desolate the only through line is the rotting, evil music of the British grindcore band.
Yet this is grindcore as you’ve never heard it before. The production is crisp, full and pushes vocalist Dave Hunt to the top of a mix filled not only with brutal chain-saw guitars, drums that march the whole thing forward and thick bass lines, but atmospheric screeches, warbles and a range of brass instruments that create a cacophony of aggression.
Vocals vary between the usual ear-piercing yelps, bellows and screeches with a healthy dollop of Maiden-esque falsetto, gang vocals and almost opera style baritone at one point. The Nathrakh sound keeps the listener guessing, with triggered effects like gun shots sounding throughout the mix, it can be hard to wrap your head around on the first listen.
A New Kind of Horror is one of Nathrakh’s most bonkers releases yet but it is also, somehow, pretty digestible. The extremity is never toned down, but multi-instrumentalist Mick Kenney manages to weave in enough hooks and catchy riffs throughout the chaos to paint each track as a distinct picture, something that extreme metal often has trouble with.
Whilst the subject matter is grim, the band are so ridiculously heavy that A New Kind of Horror is actually an incredibly fun listen. When you think you’ve heard everything Anaal Nathrakh have to offer, they pull another trick out of the bag and shock you again. It’s like watching a horror film as the kills grow more and more gruesome, your reactions growing more and more morbidly fascinated.
For anyone with even a passing interest in the heaviest music metal has to offer, this is an album that cannot pass you by – and it is sure to end up on many end of year top ten lists.
A New Kind Of Horror is out now on Metal Blade Records