Review Summary: Fear, Emptiness, Despair is amongst the finest death/grind hybrids of all time if not the best.
Fear, Emptiness, Despair is one of those rare albums that come along every once in a while and completely consume you with its overwhelming weight. Indeed, it could be said that Napalm Death are one of those rare bands
that come along every once in a while and completely consume you with their overwhelming weight, it would no short order to say that the Birmingham quartet helped to revolutionise extreme music with their sheer heaviness. No, i'm not just saying they are fat. Lets have a look at Fear, Emptiness, Despair.
Napalm Death are famous for inventing grindcore, a fusion of punk and metal in a cacophonic mix which was unheard of at the time of their first release Scum. It followed with From Enslavement To Obliteration, possibly the greatest grind release ever recorded to date after the genre became a bit of a running joke then the band decided to focus their attention on dull straight death metal with Harmony Corruption which many saw as a sellout. After this they slowly focused on becoming a straight death/grind hybrid with Utopia Banished and ultimately, what I would consider one of the many pinnacles of their career in Fear, Emptiness, Despair.
Fear, Emptiness, Despair is everything you could want from a death/grindcore hybrid. It's uncompromising attitude in Barney's lyrics and screaming to the buzzsaw guitars and pounding drums is just oozing anger, and from the get-go with Twist The Knife (Slowly) it does not let up. The speed isn't particularly frenetic in comparison to the earlier days but it makes up for it with a characteristic weight
it is difficult to hear in another band. The real fruits are rewarded by listening closely to the technicality of the musicianship as every riff and rhythmic chug just feels right
, the drums are spot-on and the bass is mixed well (which is notoriously lacking in most metal bands). Each song is fairly indistinguishable from one another at first, but it's all gravy once you train yourself to listen to it right.
Fear, Emptiness, Despair is amongst the finest death/grind hybrids of all time if not the best. Napalm Death is certainly one of the best metal bands of all time, and whilst almost none of their releases slack this stands above a number of them.