Review Summary: The founders of grindcore are still here, and they will still eat your brains.
EDIT: I decided a 4 was a more appropriate score.
Scum. It is a landmark in the grindcore genre. Napalm Death's 28 track debut album released all the way back in '87 laid the foundation for grind bands as we know them today. Ask any grind acts today what their main influence is and I'm about 97.2% certain that "Scum" will come up.
But this isnt a review for Scum. Its a review for Napalm's 14th (!) full-length. Most bands never stay together long enough to reach album number 14, let alone put out album number 14 and have anyone left to care.
Of course, the founders of grind have done this, and they might be 22 years older than they were on Scum, and the members might be different, but this album will still make you want to hit something just like you wanted to 22 years ago.
Doing a track by track would be senseless, as anyone who is going to listen to this knows what to expect in general. Instead, i'll go through and highlight the standout moments, and little touches that make this band great to this day.
Time Waits For No Slave will be instantly familiar to fans of Scum and any of the 12 albums in between then and now. It features lightning fast chug-chug-chug guitar, harsh, guttural, punishing growls, drumming that will make your ears explode, and bass that... is there a bass player? Oh i just heard him play a note at the end of the title track, so he's there in fine form.
Gone are the second-long ***-fits that fill up their early offerings, TWFNS actually has songs with structure, and most of them pass the 3-minute mark, and a few even approach 5-minute territory. This doesnt hurt the band at all, in fact it might just draw in a few new people and make the music more accessible.
Having longer songs doesnt make the music any less exhausting though. The second you pop the disc in you'll be punched in the face with a guitar riff, kicked in the stomach with a quick drum fill, and then your ears will be raped by classic bursts of Barney Greenway shouting indecipherable lyrics, and you'll continue to get the metaphorical *** kicked out of you for the remainder of the time. And thats just track number one.
The next tracks leading up to the title track will leave any Napalm fan stupidly happy, as the boys seem to have reached a level of musical skill that allows them to carry an undeniable grind song for upwards of 4 minutes, something that simply would not have worked without 22 years of musical refinement.
The title track is definitely a highlight, if there has to be just one. It leads off with a highly technical guitar riff, builds into shouting and then clean vocals are implemented. What?! Yes, indeed, a brief section of semi-melodic vocal work is present, but it quickly descends back into Napalm's comfort zone, and the listener is treated to some of the best guitar work on TWFNS.
The rest of the album flies by in what seems like a matter of seconds, and the second best track shows up here: Larceny Of The Heart. It features some of the best vocal work on the album with a guitar section that carries the track.
Napalm Death have been around since 1981. That's 28 years kids. Longer than some Sputnik users have been alive. And they STILL are putting out quality music that wont disappoint fans of older material, while fresh enough to draw in new fans.