Anaal Nathrakh are a British extreme metal band formed in 1998 in Birmingham. They fuse black metal, grindcore, death metal and industrial music. They are currently signed to Metal Blade Records. The band's name comes from Merlin's Charm of Making in John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur; in the film, "anaal nathrakh" means "serpent's breath."
Anaal Nathrakh started off in 1998 as a raw black metal band. Two demos were released in 1999, Anaal Nathrakh and Total Fucking Necro. Following this, the band were signed by indie record label Mordgrimm, who released the duo's debut album, The Codex Necro, in 2001. In 2002, Anaal Nathrakh's first two demos were compiled into a single disc entitled Total Fucking Necro. This was released by the UK underground metal label Rage Of Achilles. In 2003, Mordgrimm released the band's first EP, When Fire Rains Down from the Sky, Mankind Will Reap As It Has Sown.
In 2004, Anaal Nathrakh released their second full-length album, Domine Non Es Dignus, on the French label Season of Mist. Domine Non Es Dignus showed a departure from the band's raw black metal roots. In 2006, the group's third album, Eschaton (a form of prophecy concerning the end of the world), was released. Eschaton's music continued in the same vein as Domine Non Es Dignus. This album featured guest appearances by Shane Embury of Napalm Death and Attila Csihar of Mayhem.
The album Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here was released through the band's new record label, FETO Records, in October 2007.
In 2009, Anaal Nathrakh announced that they signed to record label Candlelight Records for their upcoming release of In the Constellation of the Black Widow. Commenting on the signing, V.I.T.R.I.O.L. stated, "Candlelight have shown a strong belief in Anaal Nathrakh and looking at some of the acts on their roster both past and present it seems they are capable of backing up their good intentions. With their help we hope we can finally get the planet cracked in half", and "Constellation will be faster, more insidious, more ominous, more musically dexterous and wilder than ever before. The album will feature a curve ball guest appearance from Zeitgeist Memento of Mexican extremists Repvblika." In the Constellation of the Black Widow was released in June 2009, and swiftly received many positive reviews from respected magazines and websites. It went on to be placed in numerous international "best of 2009" lists, including About.com and Terrorizer magazine.
Anaal Nathrakh released their sixth full-length album, Passion, in 2011 and their seventh, Vanitas, in 2012. The band finished recording for their eighth full-length album,Desideratum, in February 2014. The release date was October 28,2014, and was the band's first since signing to Metal Blade Records in June of the same year.
Anaal Nathrakh began as a purely studio-based project; the band never looked to take Anaal Nathrakh to the stage. However, following a successful BBC Radio 1 live session with John Peel (as heard on the 2006 re-release of The Codex Necro), they sought to play live again, although only for special one-offs. They have stated they do not intend to become an ordinary touring band.
Anaal Nathrakh made their live debut at London's Underworld on 15 December 2005, as headliners for Terrorizer Magazine's "A Cold Night In Hell" Christmas show. This was followed by another show at Birmingham Edwards No. 8 on 16 December, supported by Narcosis and Ramesses.
Since then the band has performed at several festivals and the occasional live show. Notable appearances in 2007 include the Inferno Metal Festival, the No Mercy Festival, the Damnation Festival, the Hole In The Sky festival, and a hometown show in Birmingham. In 2008 the band embarked on a small tour, which included several UK dates, headlining the Maryland Deathfest and FETO Fest, and playing Hellfest in Clisson, France. In 2009 Anaal Nathrakh supported Testament in London, and performed at the Brutal Assault festival, the Summer Breeze Open Air festival, and the Incubate festival. In 2010, Anaal Nathrakh performed with Marduk on the Funeral Nation Tour, playing ten shows in the UK and Ireland. In 2011, the band played the Candlelight Records Candlefest tour. In 2012, the band played the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Finland and the Bloodstock Open Air Festival in the United Kingdom. In 2013, they played a show at Roskilde festival.