Review Summary: Having a good hook for your album doesn’t seem to be necessary anymore, instead, just put together 30 tracks of half minute masterpieces, and call it an album.
Having a passion for grind core is a funny thing. You generally get caught in a bizarre crossfire between death metal, and grind, and you don’t really know which way the band may be leading off to. So all you're left with is this strange feeling inside of you like you've just been conned into personalizing your own beliefs in what the music really is. I myself am no exception to this massive cauldron of people who feel this way. Whether or not you do, it’s just a matter of allowing the content to grow on you a bit before you can really get into the actual differences. Death metal and grind, though very different, and very few similarities are present, it’s still apparent after a while what point of each is.
Napalm Death, formed in 1981, takes its style off of very generic subjects, in today’s society anyway. But back in 1987 when this masterpiece was released, it was immediately considered a revolutionary record of a very rebellious design. Napalm Death pioneered their genre in a grand assortment of various ways in "Scum". "Scum" was an excitement of monumental proportions mostly because of the way it was composed. The whole aspect of this album fills itself with very raw material, and typical grind core lyrics depicting that of pain suffering, unlike the violent gore expressed in death metal. This album takes its inspiration from very little sources, and is unlike anything that had been seen at this time.
If you take a look at Napalm Death's timetable, then you'll understand why this band was widely acclaimed for its content. If we look back at when this record was released, we also see pop culture exploding out of its little hole, and pushing into the mainstream world, which was only just a baby. As well as pop culture appearances, we have the whole hip-hop era which was also building itself up. The funny thing is, that along these somewhat cheerful aspects of music, and pumping your blood on the radio, you have this underground, raw, and gruesome band tearing the sound barrier to shreds. It only took six years for them to be fully realized, but when they really came out of their shell, boy, did they ever come out, harder than anyone could have expected.
Napalm Death has crafted an amazingly raw album. When this album kicks off with its intro "Multinational Corporations", it comes off as something you might have heard when you were at a club, or something out of a gang reference. But once this track passes and we explore the real tracks of this song, starting with the guitars in "Instinct of Survival", you can tell what I mean by "raw". This song is mostly instrumentals, but it sets the tone absolutely flawlessly for the rest of this album. Throughout the tracks "The Kill" and "Scum", the guitars maintain their place well. The bass for this album is of high quality that deems itself responsible for the volume regulation mastery that is seen up and down this album. The bass for this album is unlike a lot of grind records today. Whereas the bass were used for thunderous effect, and for tearing the sound barrier to shreds, in Scum, the bass is for sheer power.
The vocals in this album are of an interesting decent. The vocalist in this album has really outdone himself. Being the epiphany of grind core means having those routes where you were once the end all is all subject of your genre. And the vocals in this album definitely presented that trait in a nearly flawless manner. As well as the actual sound of the lyrics, come the excellent lyric decisions. The influences involved around pain and suffering are everywhere in this album. The vocalist has spared no expense.
The overall sound for this album is presented in a very raw manner. The entire album sounds as though it was recorded in a sewer. Especially songs like "Polluted Minds" and "Human Garbage". Although most all of the tracks in this album sound very raw, and are only 30 to 60 seconds long, a lot of work clearly went into each track. Even the world record holding "You Suffer", for being the shortest song ever recorded, clocking in at five seconds. This album isn’t without its faults for the tracks, but they are quite miniscule, and often overlooked while looking at the complete atmosphere of the album.
This whole album is constructed over several small tracks that come together as one. The setting for Scum is generally portrayed as several 30 second long tracks that sound similar to the next, and once there is a sound change, that when you know Napalm Death is moving on. Once the song "Siege of Power" comes on, you are instantly overwhelmed by the potential this four minute long track has in store for you. This song is the ultimate grind core experience to say the least. Nearly every grind group in existence today, has traced their own roots back to this one song, the whole album in the end, but this song has held monumental success for nearly 20 years, and isn’t about to end its reign.
Napalm Death has crafted the leader of all grind core experiences seen today. Scum has undoubtedly come out of the ground as a high end for the music industry. While many other acts take place, and come out as soon as they form, Napalm Death had been hiding one of the greatest acts ever seen under their sleeves for nearly a decade. But it was, is, and will always be assured, that once they exploded out of their shell, they came out hard and fierce, and ready for action to say the least. Scum had opened a new door for all future artists of the heavy metal genre itself, let alone the actual grind core genre. And even though the genre takes its inspiration from many different places, even death metal groups can look back on this for inspiration. Its intellectual design, compacted into the 28 track masterpiece, will be held as a monument in the heavy metal industry, as one of the world’s best as long as time still stands.