Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Serpent's Breath III: Eschaton

What many would consider their seminal work, Eschaton is quite a revolutionary album for the duo. Here the development of the crescendo'd chorus that occasionally popped up on Domine Non Es Dignus would become the definition of Anaal Nathrakh's sound through today.

When Eschaton came out I had trouble getting into it. At the time I was put off by clean vocals in my heavy music, and I felt like the band really was heading to that metalcore route. Mr. Hunt's subdued vocalwork on tracks like "The Destroying Angel," and  new, lower-pitched variations on his style only exacerbated my fears. As time wore on though I grew to like Eschaton with its more textured sound.

Unlike the mediocrity that was Domine Non Es Dignus, this album is filled with memorable moments and tracks. "Between Shit And Piss We Are Born" is a classic in Anaal Nathrakh's discography, "When The Lion Devours Both Dragon And Child" is a choral powerhouse, and my personal favorite "The Yellow King" features one of the best melodies from Mick Kenney. In fact there's probably only one track I'd consider subpar on the album, and even then it functions as a solid intermission between the more hook-driven tracks: "Waiting For The Barbarians." I guess the second last track, "The Necrogeddon," isn't super interesting either, but it's context in the album is pretty minuscule compared to the others.

As I mentioned previously the production on Eschaton is leagues ahead of its predecessor. The bass is audible and high in the mix, the guitar has a bit of midrange to it, and the drumming doesn't sound hilariously fake, although it is still obviously a drum machine. The sound on Eschaton is one that is more reminiscent of death metal than of black metal, and it marks a shift for the duo in instrumentation as well.

The massive emphasis on hooks is something that these guys excel at. Dave Hunt's nigh impeccable clean singing and massive range allows them to explore a myriad of sounds on Eschaton and future albums, while Irrumator's glorious chops and quick melodic phrases as well as the occasional solos keep the music from being technically stagnant. It's a winning combination.

8.25 out of 10

1. Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes
2. Between Shit And Piss We Are Born
3. Timewave Zero
4. The Destroying Angel
5. Waiting For The Barbarians
6. The Yellow King
7. When The Lion Devours Both Dragon And Child
8. The Necrogeddon
9. Regression To The Mean

Listen // Buy

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