Napalm Death

Grindcore band who helped the evolution of the genre by creating deliberately off-time, aggressive, anti-continuity music in the early eighties that blossomed into death metal influenced neo-ambient speedcore.

Scum/From Enslavement to Obliteration
Production: Gritty and raw but fitting.

Review: The extreme of protest rock, Napalm Death took the primal thrash ideas of C.O.C. or D.R.I. and threw them into a Discharge-styled highly abstract and virtuous violence, forming grindcore from the remnants of extreme gesture in other genres.

These songs, almost micro-songs, are almost all under two minutes, and most under one, illustrating their genius: although this music hopes to communicate, and does so with surprisingly complexity, it does so directly in thrashing balls of fury that are these two- and three-riff songs. Guitars are almost all power chords in very punk-styled open progressions, but also collide in surges of rhythmic abandon with even interval chord strips that have a savage directness.


1. Multinational Corporations
2. Instinct Of Survival
3. The Kill
4. Scum
5. Caught... In A Dream
6. Polluted Minds
7. Sacrificed
8. Siege Of Power
9. Control
10. Born On Your Knees
11. Human Garbage
12. You Suffer
13. Life? (Brought Into This Emptiness)
14. Prison Without Walls
15. Point Of No Return
16. Negative Approach
17. Success?
18. Deciever
19. C.S. (Conservative Shithead) (Eminent)
20. Parasites
21. Pseudo Youth
22. Divine Death
23. As The Machine Rolls On...
24. Common Enemy
25. Moral Crusade
26. Stigmatized
27. M.A.D.
28. Dragnet
29. Evolved As One
30. It's A M.A.N.S World!
31. Lucid Fairytale
32. Private Death
33. Impressions
34. Unchallenged Hate
35. Uncertainty Blurs The Vision
36. Cock-Rock Alienation
37. Retreat To Nowhere
38. Think For A Minute
39. Display To Me...
40. From Enslavement To Obliteration
41. Blind To The Truth
42. Social Sterility
43. Emotional Suffocation
44. Practice What You Preach
45. Inconceivable?
46. Worlds Apart
47. Obstinate Direction
48. Mentally Murdered
49. Sometimes
50. Make Way!
51. Musclehead
52. Your Achievement
53. Dead
54. Morbid Deceiver
Length: 64:59

Copyright © 1988 Earache

A good deal of the drumming on this album is timed to be discoordinate with the guitar shredding, and the ranting muffled hoarse ejection of vocals sloughs entirely randomly at opposition to any coherence in that solidified rhythm. Often, as if spent, the band lapses into a growling tide of noise, but the most consistent attribute here is ripping grindcore with furious blast beats driving toward brutal attitudes.

Arguably the best work ever from this band, these two LP's represent a motion in music toward an ultra-minimalist, ugly and seemingly nihilistic style of composition for the sake of removing the blindness of modern social existence, and in their sheer audacity of simplicity and rhythm they succeed.

Utopia Banished
Production: Flat without good representation of guitar tone, although conducive to rhythm without too much distortion, but still unclear enough to lose detail which would otherwise be welcome. Also: curious why this CD was not mastered at a louder volume.

Review: For all of the standoffish rhythm embedded in these songs, their basic approach to music provides an extremely accessible format of death metal-influenced grindcore which builds two riffs into a self-reversing pattern with the integration of vocal rhythms to structure the narrative content of the piece, which rearranges its essential riff structure to make room for itself. A sense of cyclic melody drives each riff together but does not operate to unify the songs as a whole (the engaging vocal rhythms of flatfoot woofman Barney Greenway do this admirably).

Lead guitar work is mostly forgettable; solos are tailwagging fretruns along patterns of simple chromatic derivation. Drums provide a solid basis in a more aggressive translation of rock beats in the clothesline approach: an even meter to hold clothes which breaks easily into further divisions and rolls up for the chorus. Most of what one would want to hear in this music is the correspondence between the sawhorse guitars - the primary rhythm agents - and the vocals in the context of tempo upkeep percussion.


1. Discordance
2. I Abstain
3. Dementia Access
4. Christening of the Blind
5. The World Keeps Turning
6. Idiosyncratic
7. Aryanisms
8. Cause and Effect (Pt. II) 9. Judicial Slime
10. Distorting the Medium
11. Got Time To Kill
12. Upward and Uninterested
13. Exile
14. Awake (To A Life of Misery)
15. Contemptuous
Length: 39:03

Copyright © 1992 Earache

Where Napalm Death are excellent is the ability to ride a grindcore melody and break it into a diversity of substructures without deviation from a driving consequentialist approach to music, which emphasizes the tonal conclusions without making the arrangment of tones and more important than where in support of overall structure, an idea poetically keyed to the lyrical/vocal emphasis of this music.

With its use of tremelo strum timbres alongside buffeting grindcore chopstyle riffs and a simultaneously emphasis on riding tones in order to obliterate them in seemingly tangential but recyclic patterns, the blasting grindcore of Napalm Death stands as something both easy and hard to accept in the aural space of modern time.

Death by Manipulation

Production: Industrial strength guitars and vocals, with everything else strong in a noisy whole.

Review: Forging a link between the hard-edged pulsing grind like Repulsion and the death metal bands contemporaneously raging across the underground music world, the UK blasters put together songs with discernible themes in rhythm centered around riffs using basic phrases of mostly open intervals to supported the cadenced dynamic vocation by the talented and loud Barney Greenway. The result is both abrasive and addictive listening in its compulsive rhythmic assault.

Like a Halloween party, these songs like to break many visible rules and in doing so employ a range of tempo changes and bizarrely cyclic song structures to maintain a discursive nature to the music, yet drive ahead to clear conclusions to dramatically significant motifs presented within the arrangement and harmony, limited as it is, of each song. Riffcraft is fingerwork between the first five frets with some surprises including a range of longer runs which inspire a great momentum through space in the conception of the listener. Other short phrases are microriff blasts of the opposite: a shuddering approach to stillness lifted off just in time to present another battering insurgency of ideal.


1. Mass Appeal Madness
2. Pride Assassin
3. Unchallenged Hate
4. Social Sterility
5. Suffer The Children
6. Siege Of Power
7. Harmony Corruption
8. Rise Above
9. The Missing Link
10. Mentally Murdered
11. Walls Of Confinement
12. Cause And Effect
13. No Mental Effort
14. Multinational Corporations
15. Re-Address The Problem
16. Changing Colours
17. From The Ashes
18. Understanding
19. Stalemate
Length: 35:55

napalm death - death by manipulation 1991 earache
Copyright © 1991 Earache

Riffs are frenetic to break the calluses of the mind, engaging in a Protean internal dialogue over the resolution of motif in blasting grind. Minimum rock-n-roll adornments in these songs are the solos which in a Slayeresque noise satirize the solo and use it as a structural focus on the recombinance of basic patterns. There is only an associative connection between much of the internal riff forest, so it is easy to get lost but some listeners argue, more fun that way, when parsing the dialogue across rhythm and tone that is the lengthy array of phrases used here. Elements from darkly masked heavy metal rhythms to pure punk arise within the mix here.

Although this album endures for its pure grind spirit and perhaps the most solid composition of the transitional Napalm Death albums, sometimes its unrelenting nature that is its strength becomes its albatross in an overcentralization of sonic signatures to its motifs. However it is this same hot-bloodedness that makes the band as a whole a sensual and aesthetic-destructive listening experience, and for that this album shall be forever celebrated as a blueprint of deathgrind to come.

Words From the Exit Wound

Production: Thin but balanced and clear.

Review: One of the perpetual problems in making extreme music in a non-virtuostic manner is avoiding the catatonia of repeating similar ideas. During a lifetime as a band of changing members, Napalm Death have moved from blurring loose and muddy grind to a rigid death metal influenced hybrid which claimed a huge audience, and from there to almost tuneful and logically-defined songs on "Fear, Emptiness, Despair." At the current time, the band have turned their grind toward pop and progressive both with a neo-prog album that is in a seeming inversion of the older ideals of this band, harmonious.


1. The Infiltraitor
2. Repression Out Of Uniform
3. Next Of Kin To Chaos
4. Trio-degradable/Affixed By Disconcern
5. Cleanse Impure
6. Devouring Depraved
7. Ulterior Exterior
8. None The Wiser?
9. Clutching At Barbs
10. Incendiary Incoming
11. Thrown Down A Rope
12. Sceptic In Perspective
Length: 41:10

napalm death words from the exit wound
Copyright © 1998 Earache

Guitars are tuned in emo-rock style and played with an adept transfer of technique from tight-wound speed strumming to muffled churning of power chords, but phrases now focus less on angular arms of near-chromatic modal strips racing to recombine a passage to successive concluding notes, and more on holding a pattern which captures in its breadth of tonal motion a sense of space, augmented by newly toneful chord voicings etching a parallel harmony to the passage of of narrative in phrase. Instrumentalism is a notch upgraded to the flexible and excited, allowing exploration and a more consistent approach to inventive maintenance of details of song continuity. The guttural vocals are still present but often hold back from a pace that dominates the forward edge of the beat, letting the roar fill a space created by the ringing of a series of tones in a pattern that denotes consistent change. While this album sacrifices the grinding mayhem of earlier works, it is immediately welcome because of the need to move toward new things or at least something as a challenge or experiment.

Here there is no actual commercial intent successfully executed, but the end result creates resonant pop not unlike many of the My Bloody Valentine- and Ride-styled guitar fuzztone bands, except with a forceful and unrelenting symbolic development that could only come from the underground. Drums are absurdly happy but alluringly pocketed in some sleight of kit complexity, and nail a framework for these somewhat ambitious songs. Although there is no musical revolution on this disc, it is a new space in which Napalm Death can move and remains a well-executed, evocative album.

1. Politicians (Raw Power)
2. Incinerator (Slaughter)
3. Demonic Possession (Pentagram)
4. Maggots In Your Coffin (Repulsion)
5. Back From The Dead (Death)
6. Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys)
Leaders Not Followers (Earache, 2000)
A slick production EP that features easy covers of older bands (Raw Power, Slaughter, Death, Repulsion, Pentagram, Dead Kennedys) in a quick listening package. There is no complexity to the treatment here but a few surprises, and excellent, self-confident playing that straightens up some of the mess of older recordings and styles by placing them in a rigid modern arena where time is almost digitally precise and demanding. Styling approximates the Napalm Death of "Death by Manipulation" more than the recent neo-prog outfit.

1. The Kill / Prison Without Walls / Dead Part 1
2. Deceiver / Lucid Fairytale / In Extremis
3. Blind To The Truth / Negative Approach / Common Enemy
4. Obstinate Direction / Life / You Suffer Part 2
5. Multi-National Corporations / Instinct Of Survival / Stigmatised / Parasites
6. Moral Crusade / Worlds Apart/ M.A.D.
7. Divine Death / C.S ./ Control
8. Walls / Raging In Hell / Conform Or Die / S.O.B.
9. Unchallenged Hate / Murdered Mentally
10. From Enslavement To Obliteration / Suffer The Children
11. Retreat To Nowhere/ Scum
12. Deceiver / Social Sterility
13. Glimpse Into Genocide
14. Greed Killing
15. My Own Worst Enemy
16. Anti-Body
The Complete Radio One Sessions (Strange Fruit, 1997)
Some time ago, Napalm Death - The Peel Sessions was released, and a classic of incomprehensible rage and dissident anti-materialism was set forth, unlocking a public lust for something to mirror the baffling pseudo-logic of a neurotic society in fast forward. Blurring grind slightly dissonant and dissynchronized from its chaotic percussion, the music on this re-release with both BBC sessions knocks through consciousness in a nearly unlistenable but alternatingly angry, miserable, humorous and empty in its pursuit of inner human conflict.

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