LIVE REVIEW: ANAAL NATHRAKH + CODE – ELEKTROWERKZ, LONDON [30/11/12]

By Leo Kindred
Elektrowerkz, just behind Angel tube stop, deserves a mention for being a venue that make you feel like you’ve just stepped into a movie set somewhere in gritty eastern Europe. With its bare brick walls, exposed pipes and the queue for the bar which has no beer taps, only cans being dispensed (and a fridge which stores some sort of beverage called “Pussy”) – there’s an almost over emphasis on an ideal of grim integrity. All highly fitting for tonight’s home grown-ish black metal line-up, courtesy of Terrorizer magazine, even if the cloak room has to be reached by a broad stone staircase and makes you feel like you’re leaving your hoodie in something between an abandoned quarry and the vault of a medieval castle.

Code are a cultured lot – displaying a form of black metal high on ritualistic sound but quite well grounded in a blend between metal and classic rock, reminding of somewhere between Ackercoke and Led Zepplin. They’re entertaining if not necessarily arresting, the main enjoyment for myself being Wacian’s vocals, which, with their home county inflection, sort of remind of a wacky hammer horror character preaching before a ceremony to summon some badly designed creature from the underworld.That and both he and ginger bassist Syhr are both broad, bearded, gentlemen who standing at the front of the stage simultaneously resemble the BBC’s Hairy Bikers and, in Syhr’s case, the love child of former Fear Factory bassist Byron Stroud and Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds.

Whilst I’m not won over to their unique sound their charm is undeniable and, when Wacian shouts “Let’s get skeletal Necro-spiritual!!” on ‘Smother The Crones‘, it’s hard not to crack a smile.


Anaal Nathrakh
are not really a band you can watch, you sort of get absorbed into the swirling maelstrom of blasting black metal, extreme nihilistic vitriol and grinding punkish energy.

From the moment ‘In the Constellation of the Black Widow‘ attacks there’s no real let up to what can best be described as one of the most violently intensive assaults on the senses that exists in music. People leap from the stage during the carnage, in between which vocalist Dave Hunt grimly cajoles and rants about the failings and moral blindness of humanity, a viewpoint that informs the dark misanthropy at the heart of this musical armoured rhino. Hunt then screams and yells like a man possessed, whacking his head with the mike and giving a performance fitting a man dressed head to toe in black and wearing a belt buckle adorned with a picture of The Scream by Edvard Munch.

The set list contains the new anthems to this apocalyptic vision, ‘Forging Towards The Sunset‘ along with the classic ‘Submission Is For the Weak‘. Necrogeddon reigns through ‘Between the Piss and Shit We Are Born‘, which is introduced with a Macbeth reference – always appreciate a Shakespeare reference in my crushing blackened grind, all whilst bodies fly and flail in all directions like a scene from Pandemonium.The rather over-display of down-to-earth genuineness from Hunt grates slightly after a while. His protracted explanation of not “lying” to us by not doing an encore, for example…I mean I appreciate knowing there’s only going to be two more songs, but if you’re trying to make a point about not cowing to showmanship this has a tinge of hypocritical posturing.

Of course this matters little in context to the rabid assembled. Even less so when ‘Of Fire and Fucking Pigs‘ promptly followed by ‘More Fire Than Blood’ drops the bottom out of this shitstorm from hell leaving us grinning, and possibly irradiated, in the afterglow of another great Anaal show in the history books.

Blasted and bludgeoned as I am, I still don’t have the courage to ask the barmaid, “how much is pussy?” Probably for the best.

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