01. Volenti Non Fit Iniuria
02. Drug-Fucking Abomination
03. Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria
04. Le Diabolique Est L’ami Du Simple
05. Locus of Damnation
06. Tod Huetet Uebel
07. Paragon Pariah
08. Who Thinks of the Executioner
09. Ashes Screaming Silence
10. Portrait of the Artist
When it comes to converting non-believers, there’s some bands that I use as a prime example of why metal is worth their time, and others as a hilariously shocking example of what sort of seedy record metal can offer. For every Devin Townsend Project or Periphery out there that carries a pop appeal, there’s a band that embodies the definition of inaccessibility. Case in point, for Anaal Nathrakh‘s eighth release Passion, their patented blend of the most extreme music genres is as dehumanizing and chaotic as ever. You’d think grindcore, black metal, and power metal were made for each other. Huge riffs and contorting vocal passages compliment the soaring choruses quite strangely, and are off-putting at first if you’ve never heard of the British duo before. The intense and confrontational atmosphere on display here is somewhat enthralling in the way a train wreck is impossible to look away from.
Passion practically oozes evil, as if it were the soundtrack to every snuff film ever superimposed over each other—you’re not quite sure what it is you’re looking at, but you know it’s violent and disgusting. Everything is composed to be as monstrous and theatrical as possible, from the dirge-worthy riffs and often lyricless vocal performances to the blasts and the rare moment of melodic singing. There’s something intoxicating about this oddball of a record, even if there’s not much substance to be found past the rough aesthetic; it just sounds really fucking cool.
Anaal Nathrakh have never been known for being very diverse, unfortunately. You’d be hard pressed to pick many of these songs apart, and I swear I heard the same exact riff four or five times throughout
their entire album—perhaps more throughout the discography. It’s a really cool riff, but maybe instrumental front Mike Kenney should try to pick a different scale to write their music in. I’m not quite sure whether it’s an attempt at achieving some sort of signature sound and continuity or just lazy songwriting. As good as it sounds, Passion may feel a bit predictable.
Production is a bit lacking as well, most notably in the vocal department. I’m quite a fan of Dave Hunt’s vocal approach and hold his creative vocal approach on par with Mike Patton in terms of intense delivery with reckless abandon, but the vocal tracks are clipping almost constantly. The music seems fine for the most part, save for some murky mixing that can be chalked up to the desired aesthetic.
All in all though, Passion doesn’t disappoint. Anyone who picked up the album in the hopes of hearing anything different than a mess of apocalyptic voices fashioned together is on a fool’s errand. Basically amounting to In The Constellation Of The Black Widow Part II, Anaal Nathrakh knows their niche. There are those who simply “get” Anaal Nathrakh and those who don’t. If you see Anaal Nathrakh as nothing more than maddening noise and directionless chaos insanity, then mission accomplished; pass on Passion. For the rest of us patient enough, there’s a schizophrenic journey waiting, and it’s pretty badass.