Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
There goes the neighbourhood... And the rest of town... With Vanitas, not only have Anaal Nathrakh returned to the imperious form of their first few releases, they have undoubtedly unleashed the heaviest record of the year by a very long way. Turning up the grindcore elements of their sound, they blast through a set of tunes so utterly destructive that, with a heady mix of machine-gun blastbeats, sickening riffs and a mix perfectly balanced to bring out the murderous intent below, this proves to be another highlight in a particularly vintage twelve months for metal.
Dave Hunt's vocals switch between flayed demon to sweetly melodious, adding an extra dose of catchiness to Vanitas whilst also being somewhat unsettling around those bestial guitars. And it is remarkable that, despite the furious pace and unrelenting heaviness, this is a very memorable and hook-laden record; 'You Can't Save Me' and 'Of Fire And Fucking Pigs' are vaguely sing-along-able, and will certainly blaze a trail of destruction around the brain for weeks. Anaal Nathrakh have come up with a triumph, a bloody and messy one, but a triumph all the same.