Napalm Death
Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves CONTRIBUTOR (75 Reviews)
September 19th, 2020 | 136 replies


Release Date: 09/18/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The overwhelming power of diversity

Napalm Death is one of those bands that needs no introduction since they are undoubtedly one of the greatest ambassadors of extreme music for the past three decades. Grindcore pioneers, the band not only built the foundations of the genre with seminal releases like Scum and From Enslavement to Obliteration, but were also crucial in its worldwide dissemination due to the high impact these two albums had on the underground circuit in the late eighties. Directly or indirectly, all contemporary grindcore-oriented bands have a piece of Napalm Death impregnated in their DNA. It is a stylistic inevitability.

The band's original grind signature, which derived from their hardcore/punk roots, gradually evolved into a more metal-oriented formula. The Mentally Murdered EP signals the transition point which will culminate in 1990's Harmony Corruption, clearly more death metal-ish, influenced by the Florida scene that was emerging by this time. This transitional period also marks the moment when I truly began to enjoy the band's sound, enthusiastically embracing their more metal-oriented approach.

Social and political issues have always been present in the band's lyrics and, as expected, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism is no exception. The dove, symbol of hope, being violently crushed by a sterile hand is a metaphor for a dehumanized society and its discrimination against "others", be they migrants or whether they have a different type of sexuality, for example. However, despite such oppression, we can still see a symbol of equality in the center of the dove, meaning that even after such cruelty we can still glimpse something positive in the end, as expressed by the oxymoron in the album's title - "the celebration of humanity even in the mangling jaws of negativity". This celebration of diversity also migrates to songs like 'Joie de ne pas vivre' and 'Invigorating Clutch' that explore more experimental textures, or the post-punk 'Amoral' and Godflesh-esque 'A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen', that closes the album with an unusual tone. These songs bring some irreverence and unpredictability to the album, which rejects any kind of conformity. Nevertheless, despite these stylistic deviations, Napalm Death remains faithful to its grind roots, as proven by the overwhelming first four tracks that are among the best the band has recorded in recent years. It's impossible not to headbang to songs such as 'Backlash Just Because' or 'That Curse of Being in Thrall', the latter featuring a vibrant On The Brink Of Extinction-esque tempo. This approach is again present in 'Acting in Gouged Faith', which momentarily takes us into Harmony Corruption era. The album flows through contrasts and musical diversity, with unexpected freshness and experimentalism. The symbiosis between the lads is remarkable, revealing a tremendous artistic complicity that has taken decades to shape. Barney's vocals, although no longer showing the deep gutturals of his early days, remain quite unique, with the rest of the team playing their part with exemplary professionalism. Songs such as 'Zero Gravitas Chamber' or 'Fluxing of the Muscle' also deserve to be highlighted, with the former being one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Over thirty years after Scum, Napalm Death keeps displaying an overwhelming irreverence, without losing either its ambition or its creativity. As the metaphor on its cover or the subliminal message in its title, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism is an ode to diversity. It is a product of contrasts. And given the social and political conflicts emerging throughout the world, it seems wise to give it due attention.



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user ratings (141)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2020


15144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Massive jam. My rating is somewhere between 4 and 4.5, so I can bump my review's rating any time soon.

The album is available on Spotify and other streaming platforms.

Digging: Undeath - Lesions of a Different Kind

Titan
September 19th 2020


21186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review bro!



I always enjoyed this band and need to check this asap. Present day Napalm has been awesome.

teamster
September 19th 2020


5191 Comments


Thanks for this Trap. Looking forward to listening. Just downloaded from Apple Music.

Digging: The Basement Paintings - Antipodes

JayEnder
September 19th 2020


8492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah. I was hoping this would get a Notrap review. Good shit as always man. m/



I only wish you talked about the title track, as It's my favorite on here. So many great songs, but that one is just... Damn.



BURSTING LUNGS FOR THE LAST GASPPP

Digging: clipping. - Visions of Bodies Being Burned

Observer
Emeritus
September 19th 2020


8570 Comments


Poor bird, rip

Digging: The Trees And The Wild - Zaman, Zaman

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2020


15144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys!



I didn't know you loved the band Titan, good to know. Looking forward to chatting with you about this.



Title track rules JayEnder. You're probably right, I could have mentioned it.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2020


15144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I can' t believe I have two featured reviews. Thanks a lot staff squad!

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 19th 2020


36096 Comments


I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened to you before given your rate of quality output.

Digging: Sam Amidon - Sam Amidon

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2020


15144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You're too kind Sowing.

Wildcardbitchesss
September 20th 2020


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Forgot this was even coming out. Backlash Just Because was fucking rad, def gonna listen to this.

canczar
September 20th 2020


33 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This record is the fucking shit

Digging: Undergang - Aldrig i livet

deathschool
September 20th 2020


26235 Comments


Great review. Band is legendary. I will be listening soon.

Digging: DJ Python - Mas amable

Wildcardbitchesss
September 20th 2020


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty incredible that they’ve been doing this for over thirty years and are still putting out bangers. Even if it’s nothing game changing, it’s still cool as hell to see a band putting out quality stuff this late in their career.

JayEnder
September 20th 2020


8492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best Napalm Death record next to Harmony Corruption. Yep, I said it.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2020


15144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's my favorite since Time Waits for No Slave, it has a freshness I honestly did not expect.

Inveigh
September 20th 2020


26796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review man, this record is absolutely killer. I loved Apex Predator but this one is even better m/

YuriZakhaev
September 20th 2020


673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These guys have no business writing a song like 'Zero Gravitas Chamber'

Shredgazmo
September 20th 2020


39 Comments


Is this more punk or grind ???

Wildcardbitchesss
September 20th 2020


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Upon first listen, grind/death

If you liked the previous one you’ll like this

Madbutcher3
September 20th 2020


2694 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeh this is good, wish it had slightly more pervasive experimental elements but what's here is very good



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