Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 4/19/2005
The Code Is Red...Long Live The Code
posted on 4/2005 By:
After 20+ years in the business, the name Napalm Death has become synonymous with the terms “death metal” and “grindcore”. And why not? They helped pioneer both styles and have been doing it longer than anyone else, with an alumni list that reads like a who’s-who of the extreme (including Lee Dorrian (Cathedral), Bill Steer (Carcass), and Justin Broderick (Godflesh)), and a current lineup that’s not too shabby, either. After some late 90s output that left a bland aftertaste, the band parted ways with longtime label Earache Records, and oddly enough, returned to form with 2001’s Enemy of the Music Business and the follow up, Order of the Leech. Now, after revisiting their Earache back catalog with Noise for Music’s Sake, and their old favorites and influences on Leaders Not Followers Pt. 2, these British bastards have released their best effort in years, a brutal, pummeling affair from start to finish.
To give you an idea of the sound here, take the best moments of their last two studio albums and combine them with the energy and urgency displayed on the aforementioned covers set. To what do we owe this rekindled fire? Some might credit being with a label (Century Media) that can give them the support that Earache wouldn’t in the end, and the exposure that Spitfire (who released those last two albums) simply couldn’t. Others would point squarely at one George W. Bush, of whom vocalist Barney Greenway has been quite outspoken in recent times, particularly on their tour last fall with Cannibal Corpse. Odd though that a southern fried bugger could so profoundly effect a bunch of blokes from across the pond, but that’s another discussion for another piece of writing. The point is, Napalm Death hasn’t sounded this fresh in years (insert “smell of napalm in the morning” joke here).
“Silence is Deafening” is right on, aside from opening the album, as a little double entendre of political commentary and musical irony (or maybe I’m just trying too hard to use big words). “Right You Are” proves that the band can still hang with the likes of Nasum and Pig Destroyer if they chose to, in an intense 52 second assault of double-bass and blast beats, a style that rolls over into “Diplomatic Immunity”. Soon we get into the much ballyhooed guest appearances, first with Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta on “Instruments of Persuasion”. For those who were worried that he might bust some hardcore rhymes over the musical chaos, let me set your mind at ease by letting you know that he mostly just backs up Barney on the choruses – you probably wouldn’t even notice him if you weren’t listening for it. He gets a little more freedom on “Sold Short”, still backing up and getting to deliver a line or two on his own. Much more carte blanche is given to the legendary Jello Biafra on “The Great and the Good”. Odd pairing, you might say? Perhaps, but many link punk and grind together anyway – besides, they covered the Dead Kennedys classic “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” years ago, and of course, both parties are allowed to do whatever the fuck they want these days. Jello delivers an intro as well as some backing yelps and a couple of bridge parts on this killer track. A little further in and we get the “return” of Carcass’s Jeff Walker on “Pledge Yourself to You”. I had trouble recognizing him at first, as he sounds a bit different than my Heartwork memory serves, but he’s definitely there, probably hoping people have forgotten Blackstar Rising.
Do you get the picture yet? I hope so, because I don’t know how else to express how good this album is. You should all at least know who Napalm Death is at this point and therefore should have a pretty good idea of what to expect already. Basically this is about what you’d expect from them at this point in terms of quality. Musically, it’s all that and more. Don’t be a stubborn ass who hates their newer stuff because it doesn’t sound like Scum or From Enslavement to Obliteration. Embrace change. Get this album. Crank it up. Listen to it. Listen to it often. Break some stuff. You’ll feel better for it.
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