Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues: The Codex Necro/Total Fucking Necro

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Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues
The Codex Necro/Total Fucking Necro
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 44:45/49:25
Review by Dark Juan
10/10
10/10

Greetings and salutations once again, dear acolytes, followers of the Left-Hand Path and my army of zealots! It is I, Dark Juan, and today I have returned to regale you with information about why you should in fact give your soul to Satan (Hell has the world’s best lounge band, you see) eat all the delicious food and gorge yourself on the finest wines, spirits, meads and beers (fuck it all, you only live once and you give FAR too much of your lives to fucking wankers in suits and ties telling you that you aren’t doing enough to earn the pittance the capitalist scum pay you. Burn down their house) and play with the genitals of whichever sex tickles your fancy as often as humanly possible (just fucking because, OK? Trust me on this…) Also, listen to heavy fucking metal until your eyes bleed.

However, you should not attempt to have sex with Anaal Nathrakh being the soundtrack. There are several VERY SOUND reasons for this. Firstly, if you are a man above the age of forty and you try rattling the bones of your beloved at the insane tempos of an Anaal Nathrakh song then frankly you’re guaranteed a spell in hospital due to exhaustion and also, you’ll put your back out which is not a good thing. Maybe this is what happened to our Glorious Leader, Air Chief Marshal Richard “What I get Up To In My Bedroom Is No Concern Of Yours, You Fucking Northern Ape” Tilley. Secondly, your significant other’s pelvis will be reduced to rubble in short order, unless you are enjoying some oral action in which case there will be an immediate requirement for emergency dentistry and she (or he, or xim, them or any other pronoun that is inclusive. However, I am a heterosexual male so I will write primarily from my point of view) will end up sounding like Phyllis Pearce instead of the winsome, lilting voice she previously stole your heart with…

A lilting, winsome voice is something that V.I.T.R.I.O.L (unsurprisingly his real name is Dave) does not have. He sounds like a demented banshee screaming pure unadulterated hatred at pretty much the entire world and surrounding galactic environs. I am privately convinced that he is solely the reason that extraterrestrials haven’t yet contacted us, because they got wind of “The Codex Necro”, listened to it once and then had to go back to wherever the fuck they came from to repair their ship because V.I.T.R.I.O.L and Irrumator (Mick Kenney) basically fucked it to the point of structural failure with the power of their music. Which is a term I use advisedly.

Yes, I am currently turning my brain to soup with a reissue of Anaal Nathrakh’s utterly classic “The Codex Necro” on Metal Blade and by God it has just reaffirmed just how savage metal can be. This is ultra-primal, martial black metal of the very highest caliber, easily rivalling anything Scandinavia had to offer for sheer sonic violence. You will all no doubt remember that I don’t normally score reissues highly, normally viewing them as a cynical cash grab (hello, Paradise Lost) for bands that were financially not too badly off, but this is going to be disregarded today because of this motherfucking shitty arsed pandemic pushing our music to the brink. Frankly so many of our bands need some form of income to keep going and if you’re going to bang out a reissue during these straitened times, I say have at it. And to be fair to Anaal Nathrakh, reissuing their utterly classic debut album is a smart move. It makes everything released nowadays look wimpy and insipid, and still shows the righteous way for unrelenting brutality in music. I have always regarded them as one of the most sonically dense bands there has ever been, in company with The Berzerker (and now The Machinist).

Everything about “The Codex Necro” is fucking perfect. Unparalleled vocal fury from V.I.T.R.I.O.L is underpinned with nothing less than the aural equivalent of messy and explosive murder by Irrumator (who does everything else apart from the vocals). Rarely does the album’s velocity drop below Warp Factor 9 and the rageometer NEVER drops below a full on ten, and it is a testament to the quality of this album that after 20 years, it is yet to be challenged by any pretender to sonic Armageddon. It is also a testament to just how unrelentingly murderous full on black metal can be when it is underpinned by a proper production job, rather than the production being handled by a corpse painted heroin addict from Oslo who has put all the microphones in fishbowls while stoned out of his gourd and forgotten to turn up the bass on the mixing board. “The Codex Necro” still sounds fresh as fuck, mate. Everything is clearly heard, even though they go that fast there are times when you simply can’t take in the savagery and horror.

Everything about (he gaily repeats himself) “The Codex Necro” is perfect. EVERYTHING. It is a landmark of black metal and the perfect distillation of the rage that fuels heavy metal, stripped back to speed and aggression. If I were scoring this by itself, it would always be full marks, it is that seminal a work.

On to “Total Fucking Necro” then…After you, please.

A rather rawer recording composed of pieces from three demos (“Anaal Nathrakh”, “Total Fucking Necro” and the unreleased “We Will Fucking Kill You”) including two cover tracks from Mayhem (‘Carnage’ and ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’) compared to “The Codex Necro”, this album nevertheless showcases what was going to become the absolute last word in British brutality to devastating effect. With a sound not unlike being on the wrong end of an extensive and long lasting carpet bombing campaign with added incendiaries, Anaal Nathrakh set a fucking marker that the rest of the world could not ignore – here we are, we can play black metal better than you pasty faced, skinny limbed, church burning Scandinavian lightweights and we dare you to fucking come at us with your swords and your Satanism – we will destroy you with merely our teeth, for we are not warriors of Satan, we are fucking feral and we are going to chew our way through your faces.

Where “The Codex Necro” had a superb production that enhanced the power of the music considerably, “Total Fucking Necro” does not. The sound is woolly as fuck and instruments drop in and out of the mix willy nilly and at times curiously poppy sounding cymbals overpower everything – it must be remembered that this record is a collection of demos and they are still absolutely uncompromising in power and savagery. The speed of the playing sometimes impacts negatively on precision and there are a few dropped notes here and there, yet they don’t compromise just how promising the young and thrusting Anaal Nathrakh of 1999 was. V.I.T.R.I.O.L relies more on the classic black metal strangled yowl vocal on the demos before finding that hate fuelled roar that made him one of the finest BM vocalists ever and Irrumator clearly hadn’t learned the finesse he later displayed on AN recordings, appearing to be flailing desperately at every instrument he could lay his hands on, rather than playing them as he struggles to maintain the punishing tempos Anaal Nathrakh became famous for.

That’s not to say it isn’t good though. Raw, untamed Anaal Nathrakh can still kick the arse of pretty much every single modern black metal band with ease. This is absolutely fucking classic black metal from a band that desperately deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Mayhem, Emperor, Burzum (may Varg Vikernes forever rot in some endless fiery hell specifically for right wing murderous fucknuggets) and Darkthrone as black metal luminaries and leading lights. And they did this without recourse to corpse paint and pseudo-Satanic silliness… It also has to be said that Anaal Nathrakh are considerably better when they are ploughing their own massively furious musical furrow than aping their contemporaries, although this reviewer has an incredibly soft spot for the classical and expansive nature of Emperor and Dimmu Borgir, yet AN display touches that move them ahead of the black metal crowd even this early in the development of the band and their sound. Absolutely fucking irreplaceable.

And there we have it. Anaal Nathrakh have reminded me just why they will always be one of my favourite bands. As a retrospective recording of their early days, these two records are an essential purchase if you don’t already have them. If you don’t and you are the kind of masochistic person who will enjoy having your face reduced to its component atoms by concentrated musical hatred, fucking buy these albums. If you’re dipping your toes into the water of black metal and you ignore the fucking idiotic gatekeeper kvltists (who are all frankly boring dickheads) who will inevitably claim that AN aren’t black metal because they weren’t hanging around a certain record shop in Oslo in 1995, you really can’t do much better than Mayhem, Emperor and Anaal Nathrakh as your gateway into a scene that has pretty followed its own path in isolation from mainstream metal for decades. I can’t believe these records are over 20 years old – both still sound as fresh, vibrant and exciting as they did when this (at the time) teenage Hellpriest discovered them and Cradle Of Filth at the same time and made my parents wonder just what the unholy fuck was going on in my bedroom. And that was before I had managed to lure any teenage girls up there…

Absolutely superb. Absolutely fucking superb. I’m blown away as much now as I was then.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System can do nothing but award Anaal Nathrakh 10/10 for both fucking records. Both are absolutely uncompromising slabs of concentrated murderous hatred that get full marks for different reasons – 10/10 for “The Codex Necro” because at the time it was THE gold standard for brutality, and 10/10 for “Total Fucking Necro” for the sheer juggernaut raw power and untrammeled talent it displayed. By golly I’m proud to be British right now!

TRACKLISTINGS:

The Codex Necro:
01. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance
02. When Humanity Is Cancer
03. Submission Is For The Weak
04. Pandemonic Hyperblast
05. Paradigm Shift Annihilation
06. The Technogoat
07. Incipid Flock (sic)
08. Human, All Too Fucking Human
09. The Codex Necro

Total Fucking Necro:
01. Anaal Nathrakh (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
02. Necrodeath (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
03. Ice Blasting Storm Winds (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
04. Carnage (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo; Mayhem cover)
05. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
06. Satanachrist (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
07. L.E.T.H.A.L.: Diabolic (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
08. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (“Total Fucking Necro” demo; Mayhem cover)
09. The Technogoat (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
10. Necrogeddon (“We Will Fucking Kill You” unreleased demo)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Steven’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020

Steven’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020
By Steven Hooke

Hi Everyone,

Here are Steven’s top ten releases of 2020. As you’ll see this is a hugely eclectic selection that, regular readers, might struggle to fully embrace…but music is always a wonderful journey, regardless of genre. Putting this together has certainly opened my eyes to a couple of artists who I may not have, otherwise, bothered with!

Rick


10. Caspian – On Circles (January 2020)

www.facebook.com/CaspianTheBand

‘Circles On Circles’ (Visualiser)


9. Gold Key – Panic Machine (May 2020)

www.facebook.com/GOLDKEYMUSIC

‘Sweet Darkness’ (Official Video)


8. Joji – Nectar (September 2020)

www.facebook.com/jojikansai

‘Your Man’ (Official Video)


7. Trivium – What the Dead Men Say (April 2020)

www.facebook.com/Trivium

‘Catastrophist’ (Official Video)


6. Palm Reader – Sleepless (October 2020)

www.facebook.com/wearepalmreader

‘Willow’ (Official Video)


5. Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment (October 2020)

www.facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial

‘Endarkenment’ (Official Video)


4. Creeper – Sex, Death & The Infinite Void (July 2020)

www.facebook.com/creepercult

‘Cyanide’ (Official Video)


3. Phoxjaw – Royal Swan (July 2020)

www.facebook.com/phoxjawofficial

‘Half House’ (Official Video)


2. Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone (February 2020)

www.facebook.com/SpanishLoveSongs

‘Beachfront Property’ (Official Video)


1. Code Orange – Underneath (March 2020)

www.facebook.com/codeorangetoth

‘Swallowing The Rabbit Hole’

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 02/10/20
Running Time: 41:04
Review by Steven Hooke
9/10

There may not be a band that completely and totally summarises the state of planet Earth in 2020 quite like Brummie extreme metal titans Anaal Nathrakh. There’s been plenty of punk albums this year that rag on US and UK politics, social commentaries and global injustices, and there exists a near-limitless supply of blood-curdling grindcore, black metal, death metal, etc. albums to really amplify the feelings of internal frustration, Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt though bring together both sides of the turgid, decaying coin and leave you constantly coming back for more.

And it’s been pretty much the case since their inception over 20 years ago. Although Anaal Nathrakh have offered a rare glimpse into their lyrics for the latest album, they have traditionally remained reserved and protective of them, with tr00 necro experts piecing together unofficial lyric sheets, depicting the inner-monologue of Hunt’s mind as he lambasts religion, modern society and political leaders all in the name of a false freedom. The title track – which both opens the album and was used as the lead single prior to the album’s release – shows no shred of backing down, admonishing people for their callous mindset of “I side with whomever gives me a better reward” instead of looking at the bigger picture of how any particular declaration, political or otherwise, helps a broader audience.

It’s a real, organic response to the world. Hunt even states “personally, I feel more cynical, more bitter, with a greater sense that the world is fucked, and is continually re-fucked by people who have no idea what they are doing.” It’s all stuff that’s happening today too, ‘Punish Them’ acts as a short but scathing commentary to the situation involving a British woman in Malaysia being sentenced to death for allegedly smuggling drugs into the country (reportedly against her will). As barbaric as it seems to condemn someone to death for a crime even in 2020, the infamous comment sections of newspaper pages showing people to have no compassion or empathy when dealing with a person’s life. ‘Singularity’ deals with the human race’s innate ability to destroy itself, and that we’re losing our own identities to artificial intelligence, social media culture, all the while allowing a small room full of people dictate the behaviour of entire countries just to please a small fraction.

As previously stated, it’s not just lyrically where A.N. excel at bringing forth clouds of despondency; always expanding the realms and limitations of black metal to create images of horror in their sound, “Endarkenment” continues the trend of “let’s make something really bastard heavy, add a melodic bit that people can sing along to, but sing in a King Diamond-falsetto and sound like a ravenous harpy”.

Again, the title track is an early example of this as well as a prime example of Mick Kenney’s ability to tell a story through music and structure. Pitched as the complete antithesis of ‘enlightenment’, the high-pitched shrill vocal echoes Hunt’s clean delivery of “endarkenment”, the encroaching evil in an already chaotic and unstable environment. ‘The Age of Starlight Ends’ is another great example of this, with the pitch of the chord progressions steadily increasing, only to drop on the bellow of the chorus.

The deeper into the album you go, the more experiences you are sure to find. ‘Thus, Always, To Tyrants’ is a song that sounds like it’s collapsing in on itself, with some exceptional guitar work from Kenney for good measure, ‘Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks In Its Eyes)’ and ‘Create Art, Though The World May Perish’ sound plucked from an alternative universe where Niklas Kvarforth pursued a career in power metal and ‘Beyond Words’ is dissonant noise that make Author & Punisher blush.

“Endarkenment” is a triumphant onslaught of aggression. An ever-elaborate world of discordance and melody, knee-jerk reactions and patience, fear and, well, more fear. But if nothing else, it is a testament to a band 20+ years and 11 albums in that can remain concise and relevant to the world around them, but to also maintain such a profound level of quality in their delivery.

Anaal. Fucking. Nathrakh.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Endarkenment
02. Thus, Always, To Tyrants
03. The Age Of Starlight Ends
04. Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks In Its Eyes)
05. Beyond Words
06. Feeding The Death Machine
07. Create Art, Though The World May Perish
08. Singularity
09. Punish Them
10. Requiem

LINE-UP:
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Vocals
Mick Kenney – All instruments

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Anaal Nathrakh/Akercocke/Khost – The Asylum, Birmingham – 05/04/2019

Gig Poster

Anaal Nathrakh
Akercocke
Khost
The Asylum, Birmingham – 05/04/2019
Review and Pictures by Sheri Bicheno

Having just had my chat with Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh – myself, Jim Beerman and Dave Wilkins headed into The Asylum to get our metal on.

The Asylum downstairs main stage is dark, big and already starting to get full and down the front at the barrier, a crowd of people eager to get a similar amount of metal on is starting to take shape.

Khost
First band Khost are from Birmingham and if you like your doom, these are the guys to check out. They appear on the stage as a two man act with guitars, synths and raw, deep vocals, chanting and satanic growls, like something you’d expect from a horror movie ritual. Their track played live ‘Subliminal Chloroform Violation’ is a clear example of this. Stage presence is kept dark and smoky with an air of mystery about them. The drawn out, deep and bassy strings deliver an intoxicating feeling with the growling and backdrop of chants and cymbals. I really enjoyed watching these guys perform and liked that the doom and elements of black metal were not compromised.

01 Khosthttps://www.facebook.com/khostband/

Akercocke
Whilst waiting, Jason Mendonca goes along the front line and addresses everyone to ask if they are “READY FOR SOME METAL”. Behind me, the room has filled right up, jam packed to the very back – moving to another spot would be a challenging option here… and the hype is getting more and more intense as the stage fills with red lights and smoke, a red mist effect, and…

Akercocke take to the stage, Sam Loynes smashes right into the long drone of the keyboard synths and then the guitars and bass are let loose on the low and melodic intro to ‘Horns of Baphomet’. Immediately, Jason’s vocals are delivered to us at their full pelt, it is almost majestic. We get a combination of high growls & beautiful whale song type vocals through lyrics “I can hear you calling” to low & deep growling plus the emotion of the wailing for horrifying effect.

David Gray’s drums are masterful, the backbone of what holds Akercocke in place – everything just fits perfectly with the tempo and pace of vocals, strings and synths. How Akercocke can cram so many elements of their style into each song, from one extreme to the other and make it not sound like it’s thrown together is mind blowing.

We are then taken into the song ‘Verdelet’, it is fast paced and energetic. The pit behind me is already going crazy and the crowd surfers have begun. Everyone is having an utterly wicked time. As the set goes on, we get a proper journey through what Akercocke are about, performance wise. How they blend through tones that are hard, fast, energetic walloping into some gentle, progressive and beautifully paced moments to creating devastating emotion, are displayed throughout.

02 Akercockehttps://www.facebook.com/akercockeofficial/

ANAAL NATHRAKH
They enter through a dark mist and the UTTER DESPAIR begins straight off the bat. Behind me, a sea of people are going absolutely mental – this is Anaal Nathrakh’s first home town show for a while and they are welcomed back with so much passion from their viewers. It’s bloody beautiful.

Upon entering the stage, the presence of these guys is something to behold. The utter energy that radiates off the stage… strings and beats just bounce off each other, the pace is ever changing and brings a new vibe around every corner. Dave Hunt’s vocals demonstrate demonic low growls and high pitched wails to a beautifully balanced range… all at once! The concepts that come out in the lyrics are of utter relevance, addressing the global issues of poverty, warfare and depravity.

The live track that stood out for me is ‘Forward’, taken from their most recent album “A New Kind Of Horror”.

Lyrics:
“Forward!
Forget your fear, the guns at your back scream
Forward!
Who gives a fuck if your enemy’s starving?
Forward!
No place for cowards, up and over
Forward!
Your country needs you, so start killing”.

Throughout their set, bodies are floating amongst the crowd and pints are flying from every direction. There’s a guy next to me that tries his hand at sitting on the barriers and getting his friends to catch him as he falls – which hilariously and epically fails but, unscathed, he emerges back to thrashing around in the room sized pit behind me… cue where Jim Beerman’s famous “Nathrakhccident” happened… but it’s ok, he found a new tooth. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with Anaal Nathrakh, now is a good time to get your ears into these guys. – mixing elements of progressive, death, black and extreme metal, they are a force to be reckoned with!

03 Anaal Nathrakhhttps://www.facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial/

Rick Here;
Thanks Sheri, sounds like everyone had a fabulous night! If you haven’t then you definitely need to check out all three bands!

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh

Logo

Interview with Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh
By Sheri Bicheno

Good Evening – Rick Here. On 5th April Sheri was lucky enough to go to The Asylum in Birmingham to cover the Anaal Nathrakh / Akercocke Co-headline show. Whilst there she also got the chance to interview Anaal Nathrakh’s vocalist Dave Hunt. I’d like to thank both Dave and Sheri for a great interview. Read on…

I was invited to Uprawr Studios, Birmingham to have a chat with Dave Hunt, vocalist of extreme metal band Anaal Nathrakh. He greeted me warmly and we went to find a place to chat away from the hustle and busy sounds. We found an empty studio and with one chair between us, no one was rude enough to take it.

Sheri: “ANAAL NATHRAKH! That is from a film is it not?”

Dave Yes, it’s from Excalibur.

Sheri: In the 80’s. No?
Dave Well, I first saw it in the 80’s – I think early 80’s is when it came out. It’s just a film that me and Mick both liked. It’s all it was. There’s no great significance to it to begin with, because when we started out doing stuff, we were just knocking about in the front room of a… shit house (laughs). So we weren’t thinking “what would you like your band to be called when you’re on the bill at Wacken” or ya know, nothing like that was in our heads. It was just some name for a thing haha.

Sheri: Dark sounding, really haha.

Dave: Yeah haha that’ll do. But by the same token, I’ve said this in interviews before, what’s a Metallica? No one knows what a Metallica is because it’s just a bollocks word that’s just a name for a band. Ours has slightly more significance than that, so in comparison to that, we’re doing alright! Haha!
It’s part of this spell that’s used in the film, it’s a very destructive force that the actor who plays Merlin, he had a great voice… he did refer to it as The DRAGON haha!

Sheri: I’ve friends who have seen it who recommend it. So you guys have been going for 20 years now?

Dave: Apparently…

Sheri: Haha does it feel that long?

Dave: No it doesn’t, that’s the thing! We didn’t know. We’ve never paid much attention to things like that and we did this album and people are going “You’ve been going for 20 years now” and we’re like fucking hell really! I didn’t know. So to us, it’s never seemed that we’ve been going for more than about 4 or 5 years really.

Sheri: That’s really humble…?

Dave: Well, it’s the way it is, we don’t notice it, we’re not really self grandiosing and we’re not very reflective about what we’ve done…

Sheri: You’re just loving it?

Dave: Yeah, we’re just interested in what we’re doing now and what we’re doing next. So when I say apparently… haha. It’s true. I am now aware of it, but we weren’t until recently.

Sheri: You are now on tour with the guys in Akercocke… I’ve known Sam for a good few years, brilliant bunch of guys… you kicked things off in Bristol the other day?

Dave: Yeah, it’s only a Tourette, the one in Bristol and then the three over the course of this weekend – it’s not some great big long six week night liner affair, but it’s been nice to play with them, they are a good bunch of lads, we’ve been known and for years we’ve played with Sam and Dave haha! I like the idea of calling them Sam and Dave… I got an email that was addressed to me and it said “Dear Sam and Dave”, cuz I like my Motown and Soul music that Sam and Dave were, ya know, “Hold On, I’m Coming” and all that… But yeah, obviously we’ve played with them and the guys in Voices…

Sheri: I do love Voices!

Dave: Yeah, we’ve played with them a few times. It’s been nice playing with them and it kind of feels overdue cuz we’ve known them for years and we’ve played once or twice with Mistress when me and Mick used to be in another band called Mistress. So yeah, finally playing properly together like this, it’s kinda cool.

Sheri: It is cool, because you do compliment each other as artists and are compatible with each other.

Dave: There’s this thing in really early neuter, it draws a distinction because he used to go on about Ancient Greek culture and stuff, it draws a distinction between the Apollonian and Dionysian, stuff that takes after Apollo – and stuff that takes after Dionysian. I think that, in a weird way, sort of limits the difference between us and Akercocke. Apollo is clearly defined lines, it’s architecture so, in terms of its application…Dionysus is more drinking and dancing and no clear lines and the orgiastic experiences, they tend to be a bit more technical and a bit more sort of careful with the way their style of their playing and stuff like that and we’re a bit more punky and anarchic… we sort of compliment one another quite well.

Sheri: Two extremes on either side of the spectrum. I hear you. As you’ve have been going for this amount of time and with your experience… do you have any advice for aspiring bands that want to keep ideas fresh within their writing, inspiration and such? There isn’t a bad Anaal Nathrakh album so have you got any wisdom for other bands that you want to bestow?

Dave: In respect to younger bands… no. Haha. But also the opposite of no. I sort of actively haven’t denied them any advice within those lines. There’s loads of advice they should be given when they first start out. Haha. Most of it, in my experience, revolves around getting legal counsel when it comes to signing to record deals and I mean that’s in just one specific instance. But generally, just in general getting someone who knows that business side of things, just to make sure you don’t fuck up. Because no one wants to concentrate on that… that’s not why anyone does any of this. But you will get hamstrung by people who do concentrate on that and you know, aren’t necessarily interested in your creative output. So some advice along those lines, make sure someone is taking care of all that for you. They are doing so that you don’t have to think about it so much, THAT kind of advice, yeah. Know what PRS is, know what mechanical loyalties are, know what things like that are so that you don’t have to think about it. But on more of the creative side, certainly in terms of insuring longevity or anything like that… no. Because… if you don’t already have the answers to that, then just stop!

Sheri: There’s no point…You have to take your own journey?

Dave: I think, yes. You should have that in your mind, heart, and soul, whatever it is. Somewhere within you, you should have some kind of answer to that, even if you can’t put it into words before you pick up a guitar, before you write a song. Mick said to me once, as he records bands and stuff, he says sometimes he gets the impression some people aren’t sure why they’re doing it. One thing you have to do when recording bands is to help them get into the right head space to produce a good performance – and that can involve a conversation you know, remember what it is, what is this song about for you and all that kind of thing. I think if you struggle to answer questions like that then you’re doing something wrong in a more fundamental way. Then again maybe I’m just talking bollocks! Haha!

Sheri: Not necessarily at all. One of the things that I don’t see eye to eye in the music industry with is, you know, I work with festivals and a number of underground bands and there is a lot of exploitation going around with a number of people who are kinda out for themselves. I get that a business is to be run but doing things for the love of it is more rewarding…

Dave: I think so too. At the same time though, if you do things for the love of it, you’re laying yourself open sometimes to being exploited by people…

Sheri: And this is why you were saying you have to be clued up…?

Dave: Yeah exactly and that I say the two sides do have to go hand in hand. You have to know what you’re doing on the annoying business side just to make sure that someone isn’t taking advantage of you – but beyond that minimum, you shouldn’t have to worry.

Sheri: This in itself is good advice. So… your vocals – let’s talk about your vocals… they’re very diverse. Do you coach and stuff or…

(Dave shakes head sheepishly and grins)

Sheri: Ahh! Self-taught! I mean it’s very low, very high, very deep and then very raw all at once. A good example is ‘Reek of Fear’ – I was listening to that the other day – how do you go from one extreme to the other?

Dave: Badly usually haha! Maybe practice haha. I’ve always been guided only by what I thought sounded right. Sounds like the appropriate thing to do. I’ve never paid any attention to whether or not I could do it. Cuz if you try something and it doesn’t work, you just do something else. So you give it a go. But beyond that, I’m terrible! Haha, I haven’t got a clue about technique or anything like that. In the past couple of years, I’ve started doing a bit of warming up before gigs and that’s about all I’ve done… and that causes problems sometimes, you know, it can hurt and stuff like that. But… I’d rather have it that way. Because I’ve attempted at times to exercise a bit of technique or control or anything like that. Not that I know massively what I’m doing haha but you can find things on YouTube or whatever that tell you what to do. I think it’s antithetical to doing music properly, personally. I can’t stand the idea of being halfway through a gig and the thing that’s in the forefront of my mind is “hmmm, how’s my technique?” Just doesn’t seem right. And it’s… maybe you can get good enough at technique that it ceases to be something that enters your head and even though you’re doing it properly, you’re still thinking about what I would think are the right things. I don’t think Pavarotti struggled thinking about technique. He was able to stay focused on what he was doing because his technique was flawless in the first place. Or close enough to it. I’m not good enough for technique to do that, I’d have to be thinking about it and that to me detracts from what you’re doing. To me it’s more important to have the method acting sort of a mind set about it. It comes out the way it does because you felt the way you did. Not because you studiously practiced.

Sheri: With feeling behind it… and that’s how it should be?

Dave: I think so, yes. The thing is… that ends you up with a sore throat haha!

Sheri: And a multitude of Vocalzone haha?

Dave: Yeah haha! I’m not saying that is the right way to do it but that’s the only way I can…

Sheri: I think that’s probably good advice as well. I mean I have friends that are in younger bands that DO have that barrier there about their technique.

Dave: Music is about expression to me, if it’s not expression then you’re doing it wrong.

Sheri: This leads me onto… Where is the most interesting or most memorable place that you have played?

(Dave pauses for a moment in thought and laughs)

Sheri: I know you’ve been to many exotic corners of the world haha!

Dave: We’ve played a few…haha! So yeah… trying to think of something… I mean we not long came back, before Bristol last week, the show we did before that was in Brisbane in Australia. That was, in Australia, was sort of on the way home almost, from Japan. Four shows in Japan. Not to overlook Australia which is a wonderful and fascinating place in its own right, haha, but Japan being so exotic and so different to the West… especially in Osaka. We went around a few places and that can be weird, sometimes you go to a bit and it looks, sort of like… like England? But you know big cities all over the world, you know, big tall concrete buildings, great big state roads, but then you go to some places and the back streets of Osaka are not anything like that. Some places, you’re just like… I really am somewhere else… Cuz there are stages of difference. If you go from here to Holland, you know, then in Holland the buildings look a bit different and the people have a certain atmosphere about them that people do in every place and everywhere. But other than that, it’s mostly the same. Or you go to Germany and it’s very very similar, the food is quite similar and all that. But then if you go a little bit further to say, Greece or Bulgaria or somewhere like that. The writing is different on the road signs. You know, there are tell-tale signs that this isn’t the same place. Then it seems to me, having been around to a lot of places, possibly the strongest difference in that sort of thing is being translated somewhere in the back streets of Osaka, haha. Because you don’t know what anyone’s saying haha. You don’t know what any of the shops are because they’re selling things or doing things that you don’t get back home. You don’t know what any of the signs say, you don’t know what any of the food is. The smells are around you know…?

Sheri: And that can be really cool actually. Just kinda getting lost and not really knowing where you are can be one of life’s most thrilling experiences.

Dave: It can be yeah! It does depend where haha! I was in Bogota in Colombia with Benediction and I was tempted to just go for a wander. I went to a place in Copacabana in Bolivia, it was about 3 or 4 in the morning and I was a bit drunk…and I thought I’d go for a good walk, go for a look around. The local guy as I was walking off, just grabbed my arm and was like “Dont go that way…go that way” (points to the opposite direction) and I was like right… and then it sort of dawns on you, actually I’m not in Kansas anymore and apparently down there, wherever down there was, was dangerous especially if you were foreign and stuff. The difference is sometimes of questionable benefit to you haha, you could end up in trouble kind of thing… but for the most part, difference is a good thing.

Sheri: Your most recent album was released at the end of September last year, it’s still pretty young but has had great reception, and one of my favourite songs from it is actually ‘Forward’!

Dave: Ok, cool!

Sheri: There are elements of, I think a World War One kind of vibe… can you elaborate on that a bit?

Dave: Yeah, World War 1 was one of the big aspects of inspiration for it. Because it was 2018, obviously it was 100 years since the First World War and although there had been a significant amount of commemoration of it, I thought culturally in this country, we had undersold the centenary of the First World War. Some good stuff on Radio 4 actually, they had a day to day series called Home Front and stuff like that. I mean there were things but it seems to have passed a bit more easily for me. One of the things I remember from school was some of the war poetry we studied. Which was our first exposure to it, I don’t know if kids nowadays, I don’t know if you did it at school, but it was standard…

Sheri: Haha I’m 32 this year, we studied pieces of scripture…!

Dave: There you go haha yeah, well I’m 10 years older than you haha, so things might have changed. But apparently not no, haha. But one of the things that made a profound impression on me from that was a poem called Dolce et Decorum Est – and that is basically a poem, a first-hand account of being in a Chlorine Gas attack.

Sheri: Wow.

Dave: Yeah…it’s not…fun. There’s another one by Siegfried Sassoon and the authors of those poems knew one another in real life…and Sassoon who did “Aftermath” which appears on the album, basically got to know Wilfred Owen, who wrote Dolce et Decorum Est, in hospital and begged him not to go back out into the war. But he did and was killed seven days almost to the hour before the Armistice was signed…so one week, on the 4th of November… and to know that was his story of this you know, poor sensitive boy who was thrown into Hell… and to read the words of that poem and others like it… that seems to me to capture something that was absent from the commemorations and centenary. So it felt fitting for us to include some of that for inspiration on the album.

Sheri: That’s a good concept to have for the album, it’s not something that many people would look into, and things are looked into on a much larger scale…

Dave: Yeah and one thing that struck me about reflecting on all of that, because first of all, the poetry and some of the art was pretty impactful and profound you see, but it was also the parallels between then and now, or last year – so for example, the mention of use of Chlorine Gas in that poem, Chlorine Gas had been used in warfare before – I am no war historian, I’m aware that it had been used before – but not on that scale, because no one would do that, because that’s just too horrific! … until they did it. Then at the time that we were putting some of the album together, the Satan 2 rocket system was unveiled by Putin. This is a continental ballistic missile system capable of delivering payloads anywhere on the globe, so i gather, including nuclear ones. It just struck me how strong the parallel was between that and Chlorine Gas. We can put a nuclear bomb anywhere on the planet – but we wouldn’t because that would just be too awful! In just the same way that Chlorine Gas was… and at the same time, Chlorine Gas was being used as an interior, still. Like, 100 years later, we are still doing this to people. So yeah, a series of parallels seem to crop up between that and the modern day as well. It was kind of like having settled on that idea of part inspiration, it was the gift that kept on giving, and you know, there’s loads more stuff that just falls out of it once you start to think about it. So there’s quite a lot going on the album haha! Conceptually speaking.

Sheri: Fantastic! Is there anything you can let us know that might be going on for this for you guys? What are you up to?

Dave: I mean obviously we’re doing shows and that so we’re not in the studio at the moment. At the moment, we had the last album, A New Kind Of Horror – with the last one that we had under the deal that we had with the record company – so technically, we are sort of not signed at the minute – I would expect there to be an offer to carry on haha!

Sheri: Absolutely, it’s not gonna be long at all.

Dave: No, I wouldn’t have thought so, we’re sort of trying to figure out what we’re going to do. So we’ve got these gigs lined up but we’ve also got a load of live audio from the Japan and Australia tour – so we might put together a live release or we might keep it back for bonus tracks on stuff. Other than that, everything’s sort of up in the air – and we quite like that! Haha! I’m not sure what’s gonna happen next but we’ll find out!

 

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Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.