Anaal Nathrakh - Endarkenment (2020)
A couple of weeks ago when I reviewed Napalm Death’s newest album, I briefly talked about my limited experience with grindcore as a subgenre and how I have very little interest in exploring the genre further, even after Napalm Death’s new album was much better than I anticipated. Now we have the newest record from Anaal Nathrakh and it’s all coming back to me again.
The production of this album sounds like shit. The vocals are over-compressed and are peaking in the mix, the bass presence is non-existent and the percussion sounds like it’s only about a few clicks away from falling entirely out of sync with the rest of the band! The guitars are heavily over-mixed as well and are jammed right to the front of the mix, where even the vocals are drowned out.
This album is not subtle. Because of the mixing in the guitars, the compositions have very little in the way of diversity. And I mean that from the perspective individual songs because the album does take risks at points. My favourite tunes on the album are the ones that carry some melodic weight, like on “The Age of Starlight Ends”. But the unique songs are very simplistic; with no dynamic swell or melodic growth, even these songs get repetitive very quickly. And you can only imagine what happens on the more grindcore leaning songs.
What it all boils down to is another grindcore album. I do like the attempts from Anaal Nathrakh to incorporate black metal elements into the mix, which does cause it to stand out among the rest. But at the same time, horrendous production is what has always driven me away from grindcore in the first place, not the compositions. And going back and listening to other records from this band, it is clear they have no intentions on changing anytime soon.