Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Serpent's Breath VI: Passion

The formula wearing thin, Anaal Nathrakh have opted to mix it up a bit on Passion. The duo break out the grind and industrial elements with more abundance this time around.

It works to an extent. A very limited one.

As musicians, both Dave Hunt and Mick Kenney have grown far past their primitive, honest origins on The Codex Necro. Kenney's chops have been getting progressively more varied, aggressive, and melodious, while Dave Hunt has shown numerous feats of technical harsh-singing prowess by changing styles on a whim. These elements of instrumentation carry over onto Passion perfectly fine. The production, something the band has always had an issue with, hurts them in every way possible. Guitars are subdued in the worst of ways, the bass is virtually inaudible, the drums are once again sterile and that damn snare is clicking again.

High-speed grinders like "Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria" and "Locus Of Damnation" are as aggro as you would expect from these guys. Dave Hunt's vocals on "Tod Huetet Uebel" are technically brilliant and as deranged as ever, and the slower second half of the track is a unique touch for Anaal Nathrakh. "Drug-Fucking Abomination" is another pseudo-experiment on their part: it features a prolonged intro and eschews the typical popular song construct that they tend to follow. That dynamic pops up on "Paragon Pariah," which is decent at best coming from a back catalog of so many similar tracks.

Passion at times feels like a vain attempt by Anaal Nathrakh to avoid stagnating in their own filthy, misanthropic mire. The duo love their trademark sound but don't seem to know where to go with this release, and it leads to half-baked tracks on the latter half of the album. The last three are inane, lifeless tracks that don't do much to further the sound they started toying with early. The redeeming qualities on Passion, ones we've seen time and again, aren't enough to make it worth listening to over their vastly superior back catalog.

5.0 out of 10

1. Volenti Non Fit Iniuria
2. Drug-Fucking Abomination
3. Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria
4. Le Diabolique Est L'ami Du Simple
5. Locus Of Damnation
6. Tod Huetet Uebel
7. Paragon Pariah
8. Who Thinks Of the Executioner
9. Ashes Screaming Silence
10. Portrait Of The Artist

Listen // Buy

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