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Anaal Nathrakh: The Codex Necro and Total Fucking Necro

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that Anaal Nathrakh’s A New Kind of Horror left such a strong impression on me that I’m not sure I need anything else by them. That album, a dark and masterful reflection on WWI, marked captured the band at their best. To be fair, I was also keen on the band’s follow up Endarkenment, but I don’t go back to it the way I do for A New Kind of Horror.

When I heard that Metal Blade was going to give some of the band’s earlier work the reissue treatment, I decided the time was right for me to do an even deeper dive into the band’s back catalogue. Before talking about the music, I should note that these two recordings are available on CD and LP. There are at least five limited-edition versions of the vinyl for both releases and so collectors might want to look out for those. There aren’t many bonus tracks, but the release of Total Fucking Necro has two Mayhem covers and the tune “Necrogeddon.”

Going back twenty years and listening to The Codex Necro might seem a little like going back and watching a movie like The Exorcist and then asking what all the hype is about. People borrow so much from influential albums (or movies) that the original ones sometimes seem familiar even though they were the ones doing something new. In the case of The Codex Necro, the band took the extremes of extreme metal and amplified them in ways people did not expect. This is especially true of the band’s extremely distorted sound and the way the vocals push listeners into incredibly dark and strange places. For me, the effect is a little like being stuck in a haunted house and the guy with the chainsaw is coming after you and he’s a little too into his job. If that image doesn’t work, let’s just say the album is a blend of black metal and industrial music but it isn’t just a mashup or an experiment. It’s more of a sonic assault. The crazy thing is that it works really well. The band will get better with time, but there was already something serious and thoughtful about this project from the start. The best thing about the band is how unassuming they seem to be. They just make crazy and powerful music, and they know it.

If you haven’t heard this album (or if it’s been a while) check out “When Humanity is Cancer,” “Paradigm Shift�"Annihilation,” or the Nietzsche-inspired “Human, All too Fucking Human.” If you need a break, listen to the beginning of “Incipid Flock.” The calm doesn’t last long, but it’s nice to be able to catch your breath.

Total Fucking Necro gives listeners the first two demos from Anaal Nathrakh and, in this reissue, there are also two Mayhem covers and one additional track. Most of this stuff has been available for many years and so most fans will probably be familiar with it. The cool thing about this release is that it provides a prolonged look into what the band was becoming as they prepared themselves for The Codex Necro (and beyond). The production is not quite as crisp here as it is on the band’s other releases, but I know that some extreme metal fans actually prefer that. I don’t find it particularly distracting.

One of the things I really dig about this release is how prominent the bass playing sometimes is. This band needs that low end from time to time because it provides a nice balance to the otherwise harsh and distorted attack. Leicia’s bass playing especially stands out on “Ice Blasting Storm Winds” (one of my favorite tracks) and “Necrodeath.” For those interested in the Mayhem covers, both “Carnage” and “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” sound pretty good. I had never heard “Necrogeddon” before, but I thought it was solid.

If you’re looking to get into Anaal Nathrakh, both of these releases will introduce you and might even get you hooked. If you’re looking for something more melodic or progressive, you might find the band’s relentless overall attack exhausting.

Track Listing: The Codex Necro
1. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance
2. When Humanity is Cancer
3. Submission is for the Week
4. Pandemonic Hyperblast
5. Paradigm Shift-Annihilation
6. The Technogoat
7. Incipid Flock
8. Human, All Too Fucking Human
9. The Codex Necro

Track Listing: Total Fucking Necro
1. Anaal Nathrakh (from 1999’s Anaal Nathrakh demo)
2. Necrodeath (from 1999’s Anaal Nathrakh demo)
3. Ice Blasting Storm Winds (from 1999’s Anaal Nathrakh demo)
4. Carnage (from 1999’s Anaal Nathrakh demo; Mayhem cover)
5. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance (from 1999’s Total Fucking Necro demo)
6. Satanachrist (from 1999’s Total Fucking Necro demo)
7. L.E.T.H.A.L.: Diabolic (from 1999’s Total Fucking Necro demo)
8. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (from 1999’s Total Fucking Necro demo; Mayhem Cover)
9. The Technogoat (from 1999’s Total Fucking Necro demo)
10. Necrogeddon (from the unreleased 2001 demo We Will Fucking Kill You)

Added: July 17th 2021
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band YouTube Channel
Hits: 563
Language: english

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