Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Serpent's Breath I: The Codex Necro

Anaal Nathrakh are a band that I've been listening to for almost as long as I've been into extreme metal. The Codex Necro and Domine Non Es Dignus were always in rotation in my late middle school-early high school years. Instead of listening to pop-punk ballads or the whiny, musically devoid aging grunge scene, I got my angst out to Dave "V.I.T.R.I.O.L." Hunt's harsh screeches and the distorted melodies played by bandmate Mick "Irrumator" Kenney. With the release of Vanitas late last year, I figured I'd go through their discography again.

The Codex Necro is perhaps the epitome of their pent-up rage. They have yet to match the scathing venom that the combination of "Submission Is For The Weak," "Pandemonic Hyperblast," and Nietzschean "Human, All Too Fucking Human" ooze. These tracks are fantastic for this reason alone, not to mention the infectious melodies pumped into them by Kenney's guitarwork. It's less noticeable on this release, which has a black metal sound to it, but he has said that he takes a lot of influence from metalcore and melodic death metal. The hooks are present on here though, and there's plenty of memorable riffs and phrases.

There's something so primal and disgusted in Anaal Nathrakh's music on this release, and it sounds fucking grimy to boot. The guitar is heavily distorted, industrial elements dip the riffs in oil, and the static-laced shouts of Hunt set them ablaze. This album is perhaps notorious in their discography for having the most blatant industrial elements up until Passion, but it doesn't hurt the music at all.

If there's one thing that bothers me about The Codex Necro that keeps it from being great is that it feels very single-minded. There aren't a lot of ideas here - just pure, unbridled aggression. The idea becomes stale when the more furious tracks give way to slower, more boring ones like "Incipid Flock" or the title track. However there are some surprises hidden on the later half of the album, with "The Technogoat" and the awesome d-beat of "Human, All To Fucking Human." Definitely an adolescent classic for me and one that is still enjoyable (what a rarity).

8.0 out of 10

1. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance
2. When Humanity Is Cancer
3. Submission Is For The Weak
4. Pandemonic Hyperblast
5. Paradigm Shift - Annihilation
6. The Technogoat
7. Incipid Flock
8. Human, All Too Fucking Human
9. The Codex Necro

Listen // Buy

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