Review Summary: Once again Napalm Death keep themselves relevant
There is much to be said about Napalm Death, even enough to fit a review on an album in Sputnik, a long one but I'm not going to do that, I'll keep it brief and get to where this album stands stylistically.
Back in '87 napalm death released one of the most important records to metal of all time. It may not have been the best of its kind and there were others that topped it at around the same time but it was the most important of its kind. That album was as all who is probably reading this knows is "Scum." But the story doesn't end there Napalm Death then perfected the ideas and techniques put forth on scum with "Enslavement to Obliteration",then they decided to let off the grindcore and put their focus on other forms of metal (which were also relatively new and experimental at the time such as groove metal). Then 13 years later after multiple member changes they had released "Enemy of the Music Business." This album was a game changer for Napalm Death as it allowed a band that was beginning to deteriorate find a sound that somehow made them feel relevant again, even in the second decade into their career. With "Enemy of the Music Business," they have created a new general approach to their songwriting style that they could easily toy with and keep relatively consistent with making them able to last even longer. They've kept with this for 15 years now and they have come to their 15th record: "Apex Predator: Easy Meat."
Now that I'm done rambling on about the band's past, let's move on to the album!
There is nothing outstandingly new here about Napalm Death (surprise) but this album sure has that kick to it that Napalm Death has had for the past 15 years.But this definitely has one of the more potent kicks they have had in the past 15 years maybe even as strong as the one in "Enemy of the Music Business." The only thing that has really lessened that kick in the past 15 years were minor things that they have improved upon and forgotten about maybe a few records later then such as album flow, consistency, and production. But this time around Napalm death has gotten a solid grip on all of the above and has pulled out a record that once again stands head and shoulders above many other death metal bands.
On this album, the album art pretty well describes the sound of it pretty well. The production is much more raw than say "Utilitarian", the album is as straight forward as a freeway and has variety like the delicious chunks of tenderized weakling on the album cover. Every track stand on its feet with complete balance and always has something hard hitting and unique about it. From the speed and ferociousness of "Smash a Single Digit" to the catchiness of "How the Years Condemn", this album has everything any napalm death fan could wish for. They even utilize cleans decently in the title track, "Dear Slum Landlord..." And "Hierarchies" without feeling tacked on for the sake of variety.
This feels like it could possibly be the most well thought through Napalm Death album yet. With that being said, all the flaws that may have hindered Napalm Death in the past 15 years feel like they have been sanded off and polished over like an old wooden rocking chair moving into a new house where the owner is a carpenter.
Napalm Death once again show that they are not old hicks trying to relive their past. They show that they are willing to be consistent but yet change with the times which is a hard balance to keep but they have successfully done it since Scum and they should be saluted for that.