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Anaal Nathrakh – ‘When Fire Rains Down from the Sky, Mankind Will Reap as It Has Sown’ (Reissue)

Metal Blade Records
Nasum, Full of Hell
Release Date
August 13, 2021
Metal Blade Records
Black Metal/Grindcore/Industrial

Picture this, a body lays limp with limbs bounded by rope against a wooden stake, the flesh is riddled with bullet holes as the scent of fresh crimson and gun powder suffocates the air…a short distance away, the wails and cries that rip against the throat escapes a widow as she clutches her infant surrounded by a militia as reddened eyes look upon the corpse that once held life. If sound had the ability to paint its own portrait upon a canvas, I believe that each brush stroke would form the above described…of course I am referring to Anaal Nathkrakh’s first and only EP,‘When Fire Rains Down from the Sky, Mankind Will Reap as It Has Sown’ (now reissued by Metal Blade).

Last time I had reviewed the band’s fourth re-issued album, ‘Hell is Empty and All the Devils are here’ which unleashed a mechanical apocalypse upon the listener, so feel free to check out that review! This time we would be taking a step back into the year 2003 when this EP was first released, containing 6 tracks and clocking in close to thirty (30) minutes, so how is it? In the esteemed words of Varg Vikernes… “Let’s find out!”

It’s important to note for newcomers to this EP that this material represents a snapshot of things to come, as the time of its release, it was the first recording after the first full length (‘The Codex Necro’), so the result shows itself as a naked being whose flesh has been untouched by the armor that it will don in the future, but this does not discount the EP’s positives, in fact its unsullied nature is why this release prevails, as the mechanical feeling is substituted for a more primal aesthetic, in other words, the Black and Grindcore elements take more precedence here where the Industrial injections are more subdued ( but still present).

‘Cataclysmic Nihilism’ is one track which demonstrates the unsettling nature whose pungent stench reeks upon this release, as the song finds a balance between both genres mentioned where it doesn’t feel like a cut and paste effort, but feels more like the binding of fluids in order to birth an abomination from the womb. This is achieved by once again the unification of the musical and vocal components which at times give the vibe of someone on the brink of self-destruction as a legion of voices tempt the fate as salvation lies within the barrel of a shotgun. ‘Never Fucking Again’ is another excellent track which displays the musical side of Anaal Nathrakh as the track itself cloaks its body in that of Grindcore where it channels the chaos with the frenetic riffing fused with the machine gun sounding percussion, what is also appreciated is that the same sounds produced feels as though it is looped in certain segments of the song giving the sensation of insanity slowing devouring the silver threads that anchor one to reality.

Even though this is a re-issue of the past, I think it’s fair to mention the consistency that this band displays, as the EP is eighteen(18) years old, yet if you stack this against let’s say ‘Endarkenment’(2020) or ‘A New Kind of Horror’(2018), the DNA is still there, the strain still strong and unaffected, and maybe it’s the fan in me speaking, but I truly believe the stability in terms of quality  achieved with this band is a feat that should be taken into account when listening to this EP.

‘Atavism’ is another memorable moment upon the album which can also be viewed as a precursor for future ideas to come, as in my opinion the song possess the tendons and sinew that links itself to future tracks that carry the heavy scent of Industrial elements as well as the sporadic groove components that will later arrive. However, it should be noted of the guest appearance by none other than the voice behind ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’, Attila Csihar! Who brings his wraith-like presence of a decrepit messenger adding a ghastly yet ceremonial aura to the track.

Final conclusion? This is an excellent release, especially one that is eighteen years old and has cured like fine wine, as the elements within still sound as fresh with no signs of decay as if the EP was persevered in formaldehyde. Like before, if you are a newcomer to this release or have begun exploring the deeper caverns of Extreme Metal, I would absolutely recommend this, for in its short run time, it’s as though time itself has slowed down while a bullet passes through the nasal cavity before it exists through the base of the skull, everything in between the final exit is what is portrayed here…unbridled raw negativity in the form of sound.

This is an excellent reissue and like a fine wine, it has aged wonderfully

Come on in!

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