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“The legitimacy of the state is underwritten by its capacity to enforce its rules, which ultimately leads back to its ability to wield force.”

The British extreme metal duo ANAAL NATHRAKH is back with a vengeance with their new masterpiece “The Whole of the Law” and they once again proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. Vocalist Dave Hunt replied our questions regarding the new album, influences and more about the band. Welcome to the audial world of destruction, welcome the two headed beast that is ANAAL NATHRAKH.

Hi Dave. I reviewed “The Whole of the Law” recently and kudos for creating another masterpiece. It is easily one of the best albums of 2016 and it’s gonna dominate many year end lists for sure. So how do you compare the new album with “Desideratum”? Was there a different mindset before writing the album, because I think it’s more aggresive and relentless than “Desideratum”.

Oh thanks, glad you liked it. The real answer is that we don’t compare it – that’s more something that journalists and some fans do. We just do what feels right at the time, we don’t do anything as a result of the context of what we’ve done before or anything like that. That way, evolution is natural, and we’re not trying to be something that at that point in time we’re not. But that does mean that the mindset is different from album to album, because nobody feels exactly the same way they did two years previously or whenever. Just like everyone else, we evolve as people, we have new ideas and new motivations and new vexations and new concerns. So each album is a different beast to us, even though we don’t try to concentrate on making it that way.

The phrase “The Whole of the Law” is taken from Thelema phylosophy. Thinking about ANAAL NATHRAKH’s characteristics, what was your intention in terms of concept?

There’s no relation to Thelema or anything like that beyond the structure of the phrase. Certainly not to the religion. I just like the way the phrase feels, how it carries its idea. The idea in our case relates to what I’d call normative absolutism, the notion that there can be an absolute, non-relative rule to guide actions. That’s not something I’m comfortable with supporting. And also, it refers to an idea that ties in with the song ‘We Will Fucking Kill You’ – that seems to me to be the animating principle behind a lot of what happens in the world. A hysterical, combative approach to conflict, where the aim isn’t to resolve the conflict but to punitively annihilate one’s opponent. At the top levels of power, it’s manifested in things like the doctrine of mutually assured destruction which operates in the nuclear arms sphere, and in the caricatured psychology of war, where phrases like ‘bomb them back to the stone age’ are used. That forms the basis of state authority, the legitimacy of the state is underwritten by its capacity to enforce its rules, which ultimately leads back to its ability to wield force. I’m not saying that it’s right that things should work that way, or even that there are no other ways of looking at things. I’m just saying that something like that kind of quite distasteful thinking underlies a lot of what happens in the world. I’m sorry if that sounds a bit pointlessly complicated, but that’s what I was thinking about with the title. In a way, it’s the opposite of the original Crowley line. Those sorts of ideas, and the ways in which they play out into the world more widely are woven into a lot of the material on the album. Obviously it’s an album of music, and you don’t have to pay attention to that stuff to get something out of listening to it all. But there’s a fair amount going on under the surface, so to speak.

When composing, do you write the epic chorus parts after everything else or do you sometimes just write a colossal vocal melody first and then build a whole song around it?

It varies from song to song, everything is done by feel and what inspiration might leap out at any given time. In fact sometimes I get the impression Mick has written a musical part with that sort of singing in mind, and so I do something different just to fuck with the structure. That doesn’t bother Mick, of course, he’s always happy to experiment and see what works, just like I am. That’s how we work, we try whatever feels right. The spontaneity is an intentionally big part of it, we think that reacting more spontaneously to the music gives the singing a more natural and instinctively satisfying feel. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, but whatever the reason, the way we work brings us results we’re happy with, and that’s all that matters in the end.

“The Whole of the Law” artwork showcases William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “Dante and Virgil in Hell”, just like GORGOROTH’s “Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam”. I guess you were aware of the GORGOROTH album beforehand, so what was the intention of using the same painting?

No, we weren’t aware of it. In fact, we were quite pleased that we’d chosen to base our artwork around a painting that only entered the public domain comparatively recently, because we thought no one else would have used it, haha! So yes, as it turned out they had used the same painting, but the respective album covers can only really be understood in isolation from one another. And I think they are actually quite different uses. I first came across Bouguereau’s work in person in a museum, when I saw one of his paintings and was very struck by it. Nymphs with Satyr it was called, you can see it for yourself on the internet. Perhaps you’d need to see the real thing to get the effect, but I think there are some good photos available. It wasn’t the subject, it was the depiction of light and the weird fantastical realism. So when we were considering what to do with the artwork for this album and we came across the Dante and Virgil painting, it seemed a good idea to use it on a personal level. And it fit with the dominance and conflict ideas involved in the album title, so it seemed perfect. Then Mick took it and made it into a more focused image that to me seemed even more timeless, like an eternal symbol of a human archetype, an ancient statue or something. What he did to it is quite subtle, it’s not like he totally remade it as a sculpture out of driftwood or anything like that, but I think it has a profound effect. So yeah, I can’t say anything about the Gorgoroth cover or anyone else who might have used it because I haven’t spoken to them about it. But I can certainly say that our use of Bouguereau’s image has a unique intent, is uniquely tied in with the subject matter of our album, and is visually both striking and distinctive. That makes it an excellent cover as far as we’re concerned, and nothing else matters to us.

Most people label you guys as industrial black metal/grindcore. Albeit you have obvious industrial elements in your music, do you see yourselves as a textbook industrial black metal band or just an extreme black metal band that utilize some industrial elements among some others, unlike some real industrial black metal bands such as ABORYM, DODHEIMSGARD, etc?

We don’t see ourselves as anything – like the album comparison thing you mentioned earlier, that’s something that journalists do, not really what we do ourselves. We don’t care about genres, literally not at all. We use different sounds because we like them, and we feel they fit well with and enhance the music. They’re essentially just another instrument we can use alongside guitars, bass etc. Anything that lets us make the sound we want to make is a valid tool as far as we’re concerned, and whatever that means about genres is immaterial to us.

The King Diamond vocals on “Extravaganza!”. Were you planning to use these kind of vocals when the song was in progress or is it a decision made during recording? I think they fit the song perfectly and also a nice surprise within all the chaos.

During recording – that’s how all of our decisions about vocal styles are made, because usually I haven’t heard the music until we start recording. So forward planning of that kind of thing would be impossible. It’s an intentional way of doing it, we think it works best that way because the vocals are always a gut feeling reaction to the music, and we find that makes them fit more instinctively with the music. If you go into recording with preconceived ideas about how to tackle a song, you’ll automatically be a bit more resistant to changes, and so you may have a tendency to try to stick with one idea when something else would actually work better. Having no plan means that the results can be more spontaneous and a more direct interpretation of how the song feels. And we think that produces better work. In the case of Extravaganza! I just thought that the music had a spooky feeling to it which lent itself to that King Diamond-esque kind of vocal style, and that child’s nightmare kind of feeling also fit with the way the lyrics worked. Plus like you say, it seemed like a bit of a surprise, something that you might not expect. We’re really happy with the way the song turned out, we think it sounds cool.

It’s obvious that you have all kinds of inspirations and looking at your music, your image, the band shirts you wear, etc, I’m sure you have so pretty obscure, cool suggestions. Can you tell us some of the bands you discovered recently and thought they kick ass?

A standard touchstone between the two of us for the last couple of years has been Broken Note, which is heavy dub-inspired electronic music. We loved Black Mirror and Terminal Static, and we’re looking forward to the new release, when it arrives. We’ve also listened a lot to some modern Dancehall stuff like Tommy Lee Sparta’s songs Psycho or Di Creature. We think of that as something like King Diamond. And personally I’ve been listening to a lot of classical stuff lately. I can’t stand a lot of it, because it sounds smug and trite to me. But there’s a wealth of classical music that I think is really compatible with the darkness and drama of extreme metal – check out Shostakovich’s second cello concerto, for example. The beginning is darker and doomier than most actual doom or black metal. And the biographical details about Shostakovich himself are fascinating and terrifying. Or something like Lyatoshynsky’s third symphony. I’m quite keen on democratising classical music – it’s seen as something for the rich or culturally elite, but really it shouldn’t be. It’s an inheritance for all of us, and it’s widely available, often cheaper than pop music or whatever. So for people like us with very much working class backgrounds, it feels good to kind of demand that we’re just as entitled as anyone else to enjoy it.

This was all, thanks again and congratz for the upcoming album, hope to see you guys in Turkey some day. Cheers!

Thanks, hopefully we will make it there some day. It’d be a fascinating place to visit and play. And cheers for the support.

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“ANAAL NATHRAKH (English)” yazısına 1 yorum var

  1. killyourselfchuck says:

    Röportajda sorulan cevaplara baktığımda buram buram ingiliz aksanı geldi kulaklarıma yemin ederim. Teşekkürler.

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