Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law (Metal Blade)

Genre: Extreme Metal/Grindcore

Now nine albums in, Anaal Nathrakh show no signs of slowing down or offering any respite to their listeners. As political demagogues rise, ultra-nationalism erupts and bombs continue to fall, the duo’s end times soundtrack seems like the perfect accompaniment to the modern age… and The Whole of the Law is yet another nuclear firestorm to face head-on.

However, while this record is steeped in the Brummies’ trademark malevolence, it isn’t a Nathrakh pastiche: the duo are still moving forward, still evolving. Depravity Favours The Bold, for instance, blasts off with the kind of jaw-dropping assault that we found on Eschaton and Domine Non Es Dignus, but rather than repeat itself, the track morphs into something more conventionally tuneful – catchy even. Indeed, there’s plenty of melodic bombast among the blastbeats, whether it comes courtesy of Mick Kenney’s imperial, blackened riffery or vocalist Dave Hunt’s titanic choruses (In Flagrante Delicto is a case in point).

The Whole of the Law also sees Anaal Nathrakh employ cyber warfare tactics a touch more than we’re used to, ranging from the symphonic synths of The Great Spectator to the gabba barrage that bursts out of Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion – a song that pleasingly borders on the totally unhinged, and which also boasts some of the album’s most impressive melodies.

And then we come to the bonus tracks – Maiden’s Powerslave is given an apocalyptic grind makeover and The Specials’ Man at C&A… well let’s just say it has to be heard to be believed.

Few bands can touch Anaal Nathrakh at the moment and like the best of Midlands acts, from Sabbath to Godflesh, they do it their way…

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 They Are The Law