"Vanitas" proves Anaal Nathrakh is THE extreme metal band. It's not their best album, but I still lost a layer of my skin listening to Anaal Nathrakh as they continue running this monstrous god-slaughtering machine of a band over everything in existence. The greatest part about "Vanitas" is its intensity; something Anaal Nathrakh drones have come to cherish. Dave Hunt and Mick Kenney ( or V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and Irrumator if you're still following their pseudonyms) utilize just a few tools to create the diabolical black metal/grindcore hybrid that's present throughout "Vanitas," and it really isn't much different in terms of musicality than 2011's "Passion." However, "Vanitas" sticks with better efficiency and generally sounds and flows like an improved record. Not to imply "Passion" was a decline in any matter, mind you; Anaal Nathrakh has always been a very consistent project.
"Vanitas" is a lot more modern and structured than the raw black metal origins of Anaal Nathrakh's uprising, so don't expect a cloned "The Codex Necro." It's actually really interesting to hear chorus-based anthems like "Forging Towards the Sunset" and the general acceptance ofI'm using this looselymodernized musical styles. Of course, that's not to suggest this is tame or a cop-out, because Anaal Nathrakh sounds like it's going to claw out your eyes and send you to Hell. Kenney's endless arsenal of bone-shattering guitar work is unapologetically pulverizing and hot; tons of noteworthy riffs all over the place. Percussion elements are often blast-laden and equally intense, with an abundance of fast-paced tempos and the frequent dip into hammering mid-paced patterns. "Vanitas" minces auditory matter into nothingness; it's still an Anaal Nathrakh record that vomits fire and blood all over your face.
I feel the album's finer moments are found in songs with strong choruses: "Forging Towards the Sunset," "Of Fire, and f***ing Pigs," and the awesomely titled "You Can't Save Me, So Stop f***ing Trying" are masterfully written anthems, totally addictive and splintering. Is it coincidence that the aforementioned tunes also have the most impressible riffs? Don't know, don't care; great things come in packages, or in this case, body bags. David Hunt's voice here is just nuts. He shrieks, shouts, gurgles, howls, sings and regurgitates a multitude of insane tenors around every corner, and he's easily one of the finer dudes in the business. His lyrics are equally compelling, with such exquisite contributions like "GAAAIEEEUEIIUE GUAAAUIIEEUUGAHHH" and "AHHH! WWWWWWAAAAAHHHHHHH! GUAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"
Only kidding. Hunt's throat is largely indecipherable as usual, but you can make out some of the blurry blasphemy if you pay close attention, and it's pretty cool stuff. Anaal Nathrakh is just a swell band in general. They don't screw around, but they've included industrial traits and modern influences that actually benefit their genetics; quite the contrary of one Morbid Angel and their touchy output that was, unfortunately, 2-Xtreme. While other bands pretend to be extreme, Anaal Nathrakh IS the poster child of extreme. "Vanitas" is as riotous and flammable as they come, and it further gives testament to the blazing path of unrelenting chaos birthed from the womb of Anaal Nathrakh. I'm personally more inclined to whip out "The Codex Necro," but I'm still drooling over "Vanitas" because ravenous, bloodthirsty violence is truly a beautiful thing.