By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: October 2, 2020
Genre: Extreme Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Anaal Nathrakh, the extreme metal band based out of Birmingham, England are eager to return to the spotlight of the metal scene with the release of their eleventh album, Endarkenment. The extreme metal duo’s new album was both tracked and produced entirely by multi-instrumentalist Mick Kenney at his own studio in Southern California, while the vocal tracks by vocalist Dave Hunt were laid down in an industrial estate in Birmingham.
The album’s title of Endarkenment comes from the current state of things around the entire world at this very second in time, and it stands as the opposite of enlightenment. The title track opens the album with such intensity, following the album’s intro track. Blast beats at breakneck speed engulf around blistering guitar riffs, harsh vocals, and powerful clean vocals reign through the choruses. The song’s lyricism tackles the constant widespread rejection of values such as rationalism, skepticism, and the rejection of faith in favour of judgements based on theories and ideas that aren’t factually correct.
“There has been, and continues to be, increasingly widespread rejection of enlightenment-style values such as rationalism, skepticism, the rejection of faith in favour of judgements dependent on empirically verifiable phenomena and so on. There are local versions in many places, but in our native UK, this was summed up by politician/sinister gnome Michael Gove’s famous claim that we’ve ‘had enough of experts’. Thus we enter the age of endarkenment,” says Hunt.
The track “Thus, Always, To Tyrants” is a ton of a lot heavier than the previous track. The vocals delve into a very raw, high gain-style. Whereas the guitars and drums are lightening fast and come to destroy the being of whoever is listening. The song touches on the topic of John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. It’s allegedly said that when Booth shot Lincoln he said the Latin pronunciation of thus, always, to tyrants, “Sic semper tyrannis.” The album’s third track, “The Age of Starlight Ends,” gives off the same vibe as the title track. Chaotic guitar riffs meeting up with the ferocious breakneck blast beats once more. “The Age of Starlight Ends” tackles worldwide corruption. Hunt draws influence for the track’s lyrics mainly from Tufton Street, Peter Thiel/Palantir, Carole Cadwalladr, prorogation, the press, attacks on judicial independence, children in twenty-first century concentration camps, and contempt of parliament.
An integral part of Endarkenment and the message the band is trying to convey on its songs lies within the album’s uncensored artwork, which features a close up of a pig with male genitalia in place of eye balls. It ties directly to the track, “Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks in Its Eyes).” The bold, striking idea of the album’s artwork was conceived by Hunt, but was put in place by Kenny.
“The idea is basically to depict the ideal human circa 2020. The idea is older, but the depiction is as current as it ever was. We are livestock, shorn of dignity, humiliated, and blind to the reality of our predicament because all we see and care about is libidinous rubbish. And even when one of us thinks they’ve found something real and rears up to jab their finger at the air, it’s still often oddly fetishized -you can practically see the hard on and smell the groin sweat. And all too frequently, we who observe feel that, as the saying goes, ‘the stupid, it burns’. Bill Hicks once talked about culture as a sedative or diversionary tactic- ‘Go back to sleep, America…’ Zappa said something similar via the metaphor of cheese. The take implicit in our cover art for Endarkenment is similar, but more aggressive and embittered. As the line in one of the songs on the album goes, ‘pigs with cocks in our eyes, masturbating to the end of the world’.”