Review Summary: A Haunting Realisation Of What Humanity Has Become.
Chances are that even if you don’t like a certain album entitled ‘Scum’ then you certainly have respect for it. In 1987 a 4 piece band called Napalm Death from Birmingham, UK finally cracked under the weight of politicians *** on their shoulders. They used the lies, promises and nature of the modern world to fuel the ferocity in their provoking debut album; in turn it established the dynasty of Grind Metal. Napalm Death’s lengthy discography spans through grind, groove, thrash and back again but now their fifteenth album sees an approach unlike any other release. While the motive is undoubtedly aimed at the usual capitalism and modernity in human life, it’s refreshing to know that Napalm Death’s music has progressed further than the political idealists they base their music on.
The album starts gravely as authoritative clean vocals on the title track narrate how humans figuratively tear at each other willingly in a lust for higher power. ‘Smash A single Digit’ follows with furious wrath which is dominated by the exasperated screams of Mark “Barney” Greenway about the decline in value for human life. While his vocals are livid from start to finish, every song on this album packs a lyrical punch in the face to society. ‘How The Years Condemn’ frantically describes the realisation that nothing in the world changes for the better. ‘Cesspits’ is a double entendre that illustrates obvious struggles of living in slum-like conditions but also uses the “cesspits” as a metaphor for more fortunate people equally living and walking in a world of a different kind of ***. And you don’t have to read the lyrics to ‘Hierarchies’ to see the imagery of an endless societal food chain for supremacy and rule.
Even the instrumentation sounds just as pissed off. The sonic assault of Stubborn Stains’ encompasses the quivering tone of the song with pounding blast beats behind the constant contortion of storming guitars. Even after nearly 30 years, the grind factor is high in certain songs such as ‘Timeless Flogging’ and ‘Dear Slum Lord...’ The former has a dark but fast paced rumble to it and the latter, while one of the slowest songs includes a domineering stamp that will undoubtedly snap many necks when heard. The average song length is around two and a half minutes and Napalm Death crams as much heaviness through the grinder (pardon the pun) as they can. Because of the short amount of time some tracks have, there is almost too much to take in at times. ‘Metaphorically Screw You’ certainly lives up to its title in terms of musicianship. It chaotically speeds along and shifts your attention from the extremity between Mitch Harris and Shane Embury’s heavy breakdowns and wrenching grooves; all of which gnash around the tormenting vocals.
It’ll either be very easy or rather difficult you understand the basis of “Apex Predator- Easy Meat”. Not only will this make you want to punch walls, flip tables and feel like you could take on a rabid and starving bear but it’s also thought provoking and has depth to its meaning. The anti-political, anti-capitalism, anti-everything nature that Greenway expresses on this album, and every live show, ironically summarises Napalm Death’s career: Nothing’s ***ing changed.