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  NAPALM DEATH
'Apex Predator - Easy Meat'
(Century Media Records)


jools green

Jools Green



napalm death

Napalm Death initially caught my ear on the John Peel show. I wasn't sure what to make of them at that point but became very interested in them with the release of 1990s 'Harmony Corruption' and now, every new Napalm Death release is an exciting moment for me.

With subsequent albums their sound has become increasingly ear friendly yet it still maintains that raw brutality, keeping it interesting and they have always been a band with something to say, always an intelligent message and they usually have a few surprises up their sleeve with each release also.

This latest release, 'Apex Predator - Easy Meat', is full length number fifteen and a musical commentary on the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It's hard for me to choose favourites on this, their best, most diverse and most listener friendly release to date.

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It's superb end to end, opening on the excellent and unusual 'Apex Predator - Easy Meat', the title track that given how removed from the Napalm norm it sounds with its heady tribal rhythms and vocal chanting, is in some ways styled like an intro but as it is the second longest track of the release that seems like an understatement.

Napalm normality resumes with the excellent, mega fast, short, sharp and catchy 'Smash A Small Digit'. Equally as fast but with a dirtier edge is 'Metaphorically Screw You', which contains some great roaring from Barney. After a great bass and drum opener, 'How The Years Condemn' expands into some superb riffing; a tight and punchy track while 'Timeless Flogging' is complex, intriguing and thrash tinged.

The pace drops considerably on 'Dear Slum Landlord...' to a bleak slogging one with a message that hits home; a superbly powerful track. The up-tempo 'Cesspits' has an interesting groove and vocal harmonies incorporated into the face ripping mix. 'Bloodless Coup' and 'Stubborn Stains' both have a strong crossover/hardcore edge.

Great twin vocals feature on 'Beyond The Pale' as high screams from Mitch accompany Barney's brutal growl. I was delighted that the catchy riffs to 'Brink Of Extinction', an old favourite of mine, are briefly revisited on 'Stunt Your Growth'. 'Hierarchies' has great vocal harmonies and quite a surprising second half solo and 'One-Eyed' is fast and aggressive end to end.

I expected 'Adversarial/Copulating Snakes' to fit into the same "box" as the opening track given the five minute plus duration but it's a full tilt Napalm offering for the first three minutes taking a drop in tempo and developing a dark plodding hypnotic groove overlaid with spoken vocals and screams, proving they are full of surprises to the very end.

The CD's artwork was created by Danish designer Frode Sylthe (Friktion.com), who previously worked on 'Utilitarian' and the album was mixed by the legendary Russ Russell.

Napalm Death are still as vibrant and exciting as they were over thirty years ago; nothing has been lost over the passage of time. 'Apex Predator - Easy Meat' is an engaging and thought provoking listen from a band that a lot to say and the energy to run rings around bands half their age.




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27.1.15













 


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