Review Summary: A largely forgettable groove influenced album by the Godfathers of Grind.
Formed in 1981, Napalm Death is a legendary English extreme metal band. They are credited with defining the grindcore genre by incorporating elements of hardcore punk and death metal with short songs, fast tempos, deep guttural vocals and sociopolitical lyrics. The band’s first two albums Scum
and From Enslavement to Obliteration
are considered grindcore classics, and have proven to be extremely influential throughout the global metal community.
With vocalist Mark ‘’Barney’’ Greenaway joining in 1989, the band shifted towards a more death metal approach, with more longer and structured songs. Diatribes
has been considered quite a controversial release by the band, splitting their fanbase with its mid-paced, groove inflicted death metal, and even some industrial inspired sections. The sound of the album could be compared to the likes of Machine Head
Greenaway’s vocals are disappointingly straightforward and uninspired for the most part, however, some songs, such as the brilliant Greed Killing
feature some extremely powerful vocals, showing that when done right, the band lose none of their previous power. The same cannot be said for Cursed to Crawl
, which features rapped vocals that sound completely out of place and bored. The song is also not helped by its generic and unmemorable plodding riff. Another example could be Cold Forgiveness
, a mainly forgettable track with monotonous clean vocals and poor growls. It outstays its welcome rather quickly, and is yet another track where Barney sounds bored and lacks aggression.
There are very few compelling riffs on this album; they are largely generic, unmemorable and repetitive. However, credit must be given to Danny Herrera for an excellent drum performance, which manages to keep interest in the listener where the riffs fail. There is a heavier use of toms and less reliance on blastbeats. A highlight of Herrera’s performance would be the faster Placate, Sedate, Eradicate
with it’s interesting fills. Shane Embury’s bass is quite solid when it is heard, yet it is largely inaudible for most of the album.
Overall, this album is far from a great one. It is one of Napalm Death’s weakest, however it does feature the brilliant Greed Killing
, yet for every Greed Killing
there is a Cursed to Crawl
. The band, except for Herrera, largely sound bored throughout, with generic riffs and one of Barney’s weaker vocal performances. For the most part, Diatribes
is a mostly forgettable album in a mostly great discography. Napalm Death produced two more groove-styled albums before going back to the grindcore influenced death metal of earlier Barney era albums. Average.