Is it that time again already? Anaal Nathrakh seem to produce albums at the same rate a Jeremy Kyle Show bound scummy mummy plops out sprogs into the arms of social services and the process is no less grisly and slime encrusted. The Birmingham bruisers have come a long way from the legendary audio terror of “The Codex Necro” and over the past decade have refined their apocalyptic yet hook laden battery to a consistently high standard. But with such a high output of material, isn’t it risking becoming a bit too over familiar? The answer is an unsatisfying “maybe”.
“Desideratum” starts off promisingly enough with the blackened-grind-meets-Aphex Twin intro of “Acheronta Movebimus” and the surprisingly mid-paced “Unleash”. That typical Nathrakh acidic riff is ever present, songs like the catchy “Idol” set to be a new live favourite and “The Joystream” doing something a little bit different to throw you out of your comfort zone (in the addition to having a title that sounds like a euphemism for ejaculation). But even with these exceptions, everything seems distinctly unremarkable as it’s lacking that one huge riff or big chorus in any of the songs that were so consistently present on “Vanitas” or “In the Constellation of the Black Widow”.
One of the biggest let downs is frontman Dave Hunt who really phones it in on this album. His screams are often low in the mix and so heavily drenched in effects they just feel like a distraction, his warbling falsetto is sometimes unintentionally comedic, bringing to mind YouTube musical funny man Matt Mulholland. Also his persistent reluctance to post any lyrics only makes his song titles and demeanor irritatingly pretentious.
“Desideratum” is not a bad album by any means, but it is a sideways step and for a band who have such a sizable back catalogue it feels unnecessary unless it’s simply fulfilling label obligations.