Late 2012 rolls around and the prolific duo release Vanitas.
This is what it's been building to. I hate to say it, but I've grown to expect everything Anaal Nathrakh can possibly throw at me. Hunt's vocals are still technically magnificent and varied, but the emotion behind them has been played out throughout the past decade. The band's one-dimensionally pissed expression no longer works as well as it used to. The songwriting and instrumentation have dragged themselves into a rut too. I can tell where each track will go before it gets there, where each melody will take me, and where each cry of disdain for humanity will end.
Vanitas is even less unique in Anaal Nathrakh's rapidly growing discography than Passion. This helps and hurts it in a few ways that I've mentioned many times already in the other reviews. You get exactly what you expect and exactly what the duo excel at: catchy, melody-driven black metal thick with death metal and grind elements. The result is so prototypical at this point that I don't even feel like describing it anymore, and I'll just dive right into the actual music.
The mastering of this album is oddly loud. Everything is amplified to skull-shaking levels, but at least the mix sounds good. There's more texturing this time around, and the better riffs sound layered and full. Many of the early tracks on the album are typical works for the Nathrakh, but are potent nonetheless. Sing-along "Forging Towards The Sunset," bouncy "Todos Somos Humanos," blast heavy "In Coelo Quies, Tout Finis Ici Bas," and the melodic ballad "A Metaphor For the Dead" are all decent tracks with standout moments. That's how I feel about the majority of Vanitas actually, but it just doesn't hold up. Distinguishing new albums from a rich back catalog is something I have problems with in regards to any band, but it's more apparent when the new albums are merely pale reflections of those old albums.
If there's one good thing about this being the state of their music, it's that it makes jumping into Anaal Nathrakh's discography insanely easy for newcomers. Shame it makes getting hyped for a new release so underwhelming.
6.5 out of 10
1. The Blood-Dimmed Tide
2. Forging Towards The Sunset
3. To Spite The Face
4. Todos Somos Humanos
5. In Coelo Quies, Tout Finis Ici Bas
6. You Can't Save Me, So Stop Fucking Trying
7. Make Glorious The Embrace Of Saturn
8. Feeding The Beast
9. Of Fire, And Fucking Pigs
10. A Metaphor For The Dead
Listen // Buy