Review Summary: While Scum's worth to the music industry is clear, its worth as an album isn't much.Scum
is an admirable album. Napalm Death tried something no one had before – to provide a thorough, merciless ear rape in the form of a 33-minute long, 28-track CD. In many ways, they succeeded. During its 33 minutes, Scum
is never forgiving. As you can tell by the tracks-to-album length, these songs aren’t long, a majority of them barely reaching the one-minute mark. The shortest is ‘You Suffer’, which also happens to be the shortest song in the world clocking in at a nifty 1.316 seconds. All of the songs are distorted, dissonant, and downright filthy to listen to. Not a disdainful filth, an entrancing one – after a while the pure insanity of these songs puts you in some sort of a trance as your ears get pummeled by each testosterone-fueled riff.
It’s amazing really what Napalm Death managed to accomplish with Scum
, objectively at least. The problem is that the songs aren’t very good. Most of the riffs are elementary and about half of these songs sound exactly the same. It’s also a very lazy album. Each half has its own vocalist and production job, and while the vocals are fine for this kind of music, the production is just awful. The guitars are insanely distorted, as they should be, but in this case they're so
distorted you can hardly tell what they’re doing, and they don’t even sound in tune half the time. Everything just sounds sloppy, ‘The Kill’ being the worst offender. Nik Napalm shouts utterly indecipherable lyrics, the guitars and drums carelessly blast the same riff as fast and loud as possible, then it ends. That's basically the formula for most songs here. Each track is like a gust of wind that flies by before you even realize it was there. They have no lasting impression, and by the time the albums over you don’t even remember what you had just listened to, and that’s the problem with Scum
. For it’s time, it was unlike anything anyone had heard before and was highly praised for its ingenuity, and to an extent, rightfully so – it’s a technically impressive debut and they had managed to create a sound many bands still try to emulate to this day. However, due to Napalm Death's substantial improvement on their sophomore release and hearing how grind has evolved since its birth makes one think Scum
's profound influence is really all it had going for it.