By Jonathan Smith
In The Constellation of the Black Widow begins with a head-first charge into the listener’s gut. England-based Anaal Nathrakh’s latest album is just over half an hour of black metal-tinged grindcore that barely stops to take a breather, and it ends just as chaotically as it begins. Vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L (Dave Hunt) sounds as though he’s about to expire from a wasting disease while simultaneously being strangled, and his choking performance fits the crazed sound of the album as a whole. However, the instances of “almost” clean singing sound out of place and awkward. Tracks like “The Unbearable Filth of the Soul” reveal a certain rhythmic clarity, but such moments are quickly overshadowed by the thunderous blast-beats and manic noise that comprises the majority of the songs. It’s a tough album on which to get a grip, even after repeated listens, and at times it all sounds rather monotonous despite its short length. A certain challenge in terms of accessibility could be part of the point, but that wouldn’t change the fact that Anaal Nathrakh’s newest raw slab of an offering comes and goes without leaving as much to savor as its bombastic style suggests it could.