Napalm Death choosing to drop Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (Century Media) is the definition of perfect timing. For those not keeping score at home, the current leader of the free world is an ass-clown who smears his face daily with greasy self-tanner and fancies white supremacists and McDonald’s food. Oh, and there’s a bit of a global pandemic that has paused the world and crippled economies.
Napalm Death has shared a new video for their single “Amoral” from their upcoming “Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism”, due out on September 18 via Century Media Records. The grindcore legends new album is the follow-up to 2015’s “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” was again recorded with longtime producer Russ Russell and features artwork by Frode Sylthe. Watch the video for “Amoral” now! Continue reading
Napalm Death has announced their new full-length album “Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism”, on September 18 via Century Media Records. The grindcore legends new album is the follow-up to 2015’s “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” was again recorded with longtime producer Russ Russell and features artwork by Frode Sylthe. Continue reading
Grindcore pioneers Napalm Death are currently working on a new studio album to follow up 2015’s acclaimed Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media) and 2018’s Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs compilation release. The band have just announced their next European tour run for the summer, another tour of Russia in September, as well as a return to North America in October with Municipal Waste and label-mates Sick Of It All. Continue reading
In a new interview, Napalm Death frontman Barney Greenway has confirmed that the band plans to release a new album in 2019. The bands’ last full-length album of originals was Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media). You can hear the interview below. The band toured extensively in 2018, including opening for leg two of Slayer’s farewell tour. Continue reading
It was the dream lineup you didn’t know you wanted.
You can say it was tailor made for fans of moshing, polyrhythms and just very loud noises. On this frigid snow caked Saturday many made the expedition to get some maximum volume. Some coming as far as from a God forsaken land known as Maine.
The destination was the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. The event was the “Through Space and Grind” tour co-headlined by Napalm Death and Voivod. This odd bedfellows lineup seemingly straight from 1991 may have been the best unexpected pairing since chicken and waffles. I don’t know who hatched the idea, but I owe him some beer.
All of the Palladium regulars were present. These including corpse paint guy, blonde ponytail dude, the YouTube review types who feel everyone in metal is overrated, the four Latino fans (myself included), older drunk gentleman still stuck in the 80s and 700 kids wearing denim vests (once again, me included). All here for a bill that also featured Exhumed, Iron Reagan, Ringworm and Black Crown Initiate. Virtually ensuring a good night of political dissent, onstage decapitation, blast beats, circle pits, cover songs and a hint of prog. And cheap beer. You can’t go to the Palladium and not get ripped on Narragansett. Or at least have some poured on you by a drunk in the pit.
I was unable to catch the local talent Blacktrip who opened the main stage due to an interview with Exhumed’s Matt Harvey. However I was able to run inside and catch Black Crown Initiate. One of eOne’s latest and most promising signees, Black Crown Initiate hail from Reading Pennsylvania. The same stomping grounds as fellow death metal prospects, Rivers of Nihil. And much like their neighbors, Black Crown Initiate excel at delivering crushing death metal with a bellowing low-end crunch driven forward by endless double kick drumming. However unlike their sometimes counterparts, they also have melodic streak to them and will not hesitate to throw in a Between the Buried and Me style chorus like the one in opening salvo ‘A Great Mistake.’ All of which translated beautifully in terms of live sound. So much so that it was disappointing to only have them play four tracks all from last year’s ripping The Wreckage of Stars. While I wish they had more time they’ll likely roll back into town sooner rather than later. Since the release of The Wreckage of Stars they seem to be on any tour they can get their hands on.
Ringworm stormed the stage to demonstrate their metallic hardcore style. These gentlemen were an aural throwback to the days when splicing metal and hardcore conjured images of Burnt by the Sun and Coalesce, not Falling in Reverse. Thrash tempos collided with concrete with breakdowns as thick as concrete walls on songs like ‘Hellbound’ and ‘Justice Replaced by Revenge.’ And for those in attendance who like to spend most of their time at the second stage during Metal and Hardcore fest, Ringworm made sure pull up some Birth is Pain favorites such as ‘Dollar Whore’ and ‘Madness of War.’ It’s unfortunate that they ran out of time with two songs still left to be played and were hampered by a muddy sound mix. The pits were just beginning to churn.
Keeping affairs fast and loose was (and probably the best band name ever) Iron Reagan. The awesome Richmond Virginia supergroup of sorts (featuring members of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse and Darkest Hour) seemed hell-bent in finding out how many songs they could cram into their set. They even found some time for a nice Boston treat as they covered SS Decontrol’s hardcore classic ‘Glue’ with none other than Barney Greenway on the mic. With regards to Iron Reagan, come for the slashing crossover thrash, but stay for one of the best frontmen in extreme music, Tony Foresta. Foresta with his witty banter and one stage move (awkwardly jumping over Ryan Parrish’s drum kit) kept the momentum going when they weren’t tearing into pit-starters like ‘Miserable Failure’ and ‘Your Kid’s an Asshole.’ One of the more entertaining mouthpieces in a genre that has been known to take itself too seriously.
Exhumed came on right after with a bloody (in more ways than one) fun set. Any death metal act that finishes up with a decapitated head being placed in a microwave is doing God’s work. It is worth noting that Exhumed’s set only featured close to no music from later albums. The focus was placed on Gore Metal, the 1998 Exhumed classic that has been re-recorded and is being reissued. From opening (‘Necromaniac’) to close (‘Open the Abscess’) it was a Gore Metal showcase. If the live energy and response is any indicator then I am liking this re-recording business. Foresta came onstage again for a raucous cover of Negative Approach’s ‘Ready to Fight.’
Not to be outgunned, the elder statesmen of the tour, Voivod, got right after it. Starting with ‘Kluskap O’Kom’ from their 2013 return to form, Target Earth followed up with one of the most underappreciated metal songs ever, ‘Tribal Convictions.’ With vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger and drummer Michel “Away” Langevin being 49 and 51 respectively I wondered if they could perform with the younger and aggressive bands on the bill. But if I learned one thing that night it’s that Voivod’s album art is consistently ugly and they can thrash with the best of them. By feeling the energy and those odd riffs it becomes clear why they are such a respected albeit obscure institution in metal with the likes of Opeth and Neurosis citing them as an influence. Before I could collect my thoughts properly, they were already in the midst of their haunting rendition of ‘Astronomy Domine.’ Voivod’s lack of success wasn’t because they were too weird or Canadian. They were just too ahead of their time.
Wasting little time following up Voivod’s avant-garde assault, Napalm Death didn’t even bother with a stage banner. The lights went dark and we were treated to ominous and punishing combination of ‘Discordance’ and ‘I Abstain’ off of 1992s Utopia Banished. Napalm Death led by the angriest sounding man in the world, Greenway was backed by drummer Danny Herrera, bassist Shane Embury and filling in for guitarist Mitch Harris was Erik Burke of Brutal Truth fame. When they weren’t blasting out tracks from their new and excellent Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media), Napalm Death dished out punishment in the form of ‘Vision Conquest,’ ‘From Enslavement to Obliteration,” and ‘Suffer the Children.” I’ve seen a lot death, thrash and hardcore bands, but nothing was quite like watching Napalm Death. How they just sounded faster, harsher and angrier than any band I’ve been in the presence of. It was less concert and more like religious experience. I felt like I wanted to call my parent’s and let them know I had found direction and purpose. “Mom. Dad. I’m going to start a grindcore band. I need it. It makes the edge go away.” While it may sound cliché to some, Greenway went into explanations for many of the night’s songs. Whether they be about not letting institutions dictate your sexuality, capitalism, free market economics or religion, it became clear that he’s not just sloganeering; Greenway believes in his art and convictions. This machine kills ignorance.
What started out as a great night of music was elevated to unforgettable. Without a doubt in my mind, Napalm Death is the most important force in extreme music.
WORDS BY HANSEL LOPEZ
Social issues have always been at the heart of the bands lyrics and at the core of their message, but they are not a politically motivated act. At the heart, Napalm Death is still centered round very human issues.
“I understand why people make that general point, but I think that Napalm is a humanitarian band, in the sense that our main objective is to recognise humanity and to try and promote humanity. I think humanity is really lacking in a lot of areas of the world amongst human beings. The things that, in my opinion, dehumanise people like religion, acquisition of extreme wealth, we wouldn’t do things to human beings that they do. That’s my main point. So, even though I’m the kind of person that comes from a left wing perspective, I also recognise that really what it’s about is taking the politics out. Politics as well can be a great dehumaniser; it can make people do things that they wouldn’t usually do in the pursuit of power.”
“Don’t get me wrong, what we talk about could definitely be linked into politics. I think that my thing is that, lets be honest, when you even say the word politics in a lot of conversations it instantly gets people on the back foot, its such a divisive thing. A lot of politics, don’t forget, can be just about tokenism. If the objective is to have a better world for people and more egalitarian way of life then sometimes the tokenism of politics can be completely useless to that aim.”
Nothing has changed for ‘Apex Predator’. Spurred on by a tragedy in Bangledesh, the band get right back to the heart of the issue, tackling consumer culture and our desire for cheap, disposable goods.
“I know it was mentioned in the pre-release stuff quite heavily but just to say it again. The Rana Plaza event, the sweatshop in Bangladesh collapsed with all those people in it. I find coming up with an album title and a starting point can be tricky for me sometimes, I take several days to mull it over and then I throw it round with the other band members but this time when that event happened I just knew. I said ‘I’ve got to write about this’. The most powerful thing for me was to make an expose of not only that particular event, but the whole process of production, consumption and disposal. The big thing is cheap goods, especially in rich western countries in which the UK is one. This insistence on cheap goods, cheap clothes, cheap food, cheap gadgets, but with that cheapness somebody always pays somewhere down the line. Maybe not us monetarily but someone always pays in far more severe ways and in many respects they pay with their lives. Manufacturing standards in a lot of countries are pretty lamentable so I really wanted to bring that out and make an expose on that triple stage culture: production, consumption, and disposal. People in some parts of the world make the goods and once were done with them, they go back so not only have they suffered possibly through the manufacturing but they’ve also suffered because they’re taking the detritus and the crap, the stuff that goes into landfill and really toxifies the earth or being burnt in great piles of rubbish. China and Southeast Asia is a great dumping ground for that kind of stuff. They’re suffering at all stages and I wanted to bring that out, the way that still now in this day and age there is such a big imbalance between those that manufacture and those that consume. There really is a massive gap in the wealth and also the power.”
Despite their size, there are still places in the world that Napalm has yet to venture. With such divisive ideas however, it’s a little unsurprising that they don’t always have the best international relations.
“I think that on the touring side of things that it would be nice to reach more places in the world. I think it’s worth mentioning we can’t play some places in the Middle East because we are a pro secular band with a very atheistic outlook. We are hypercritical of religion and in my opinion it’s absolutely right for us to do that. Unfortunately that doesn’t always go down well in some parts of the world. Because of what we say and our refusal to dilute those things then we are told we wont be allowed to play so that’s the way it is. I’m not going to change the thrust of what the band says because that would be, first of all, be selling ourselves down the river but also diminishing the very things were trying to present to people so I’m not going to do that for anybody. Those aside there are many places we still want to play. The Indian subcontinent, some places in Africa that we didn’t get to play so hopefully we will get there in the end. Apparently Napalm is one of the most requested bands in some countries round the world so it would be nice if we could spread our wings even more. I’m not naive I know that Napalm is not going to get the world spinning on its axis, but we put our ideas on the table and from an entertainment point of view we certainly try our best with our music to make a certain change to things and we could through our ideas affect change as many other bands have done and continue to do, it would be nice if our music could affect change in that way. We live in hope I suppose.”
Remember the first time you heard From Enslavement to Obliteration (Earache), the ground-breaking second album from UK grind pioneers Napalm Death? I certainly do. It was 1988, I’m there trying to grasp on to my love of loud music…and I fucking hated it. I found it laughable, and it sent me away from Metal’s harder edges for a long time. How can you identify with a five-second song, for Christ’s sake? Up to this moment, I’d never listened to another Napalm Death album.
A staggering 27 years later fifteenth album Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media) hits my inbox and boy, I feel different. The angry yet tribal rhythm of the shamanic title track gives way to the pounding machine-gun rattle of ‘Smash A Single Digit’, while the powerful skewing punk of ‘Metaphorically Screw You’ ploughs an irresistible furrow. There’s display of a flexibility in pace with the initially slower ‘Dear Slum Landlord’ retaining a hefty boot with a full production and eventually exploding with euphoric ferocity. The band’s trademark veering grind is still in evidence in the speed and violent switches of ‘Cesspits’ and ‘Bloodless Coup’; while the exercise in raw bloody velocity that is ‘Stunt Your Growth’, complete with mid-point of brutal groove and a barked Barney Greenway delivery, will rip up some serious pits live.
That the band still emits a burning intensity, railing against injustice and The Establishment, is reassuring and adds the crucial element of gravity to what is, in essence, a joyous and energising sound. The beefy punk of ‘Hierarchies’ possesses choruses of near harmonised, reflective vocals and a lightning lead break to highlight the versatility. Thankfully this is followed by the frenetic bludgeon of blastbeats and the savage roars of the penultimate ‘One Eyed’, reverting back to the coruscating norm with a wonderful closing bounce that is the album’s highlight.
Me, the Napophobe? I bloody love the nose-breaking, careering chaos of it all, which would appal an old, lost friend and make a few more chuckle. I’m ashamed I’ve missed out on so much but thank God for mid-life crises, eh?….
Napalm Death will be releasing their 15th studio album titled Apex Predator – Easy Meat via Century Media on January 26, 2015. Some song titles already revealed are “Copulating Snakes”, “Dear Slum Landlord” (aired at Roadburn 2014), “What Is Past Is Prologue” and “Stunt Your Growth”.
Vocalist Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway commented on the record:
“Sometimes you have to ponder long and hard for an album title, but following the Rana Plaza disaster of last year (collapse of a textile sweatshop building in Bangladesh), it spurred me on to try and craft an exposé of slave labour in the modern world (and the surrounding conditions propping it up).
Some in power like to declare that slavery is consigned to the history books. But if you look beneath the surface it is alive and well in many different forms – it just has a different face now, and exists in ways that may seem ethically ambiguous. Using the terminology of evolution particularly interests us, so in this case the ‘Apex Predator’ represents those who bring the slavery to bear (and capitalise from it), and the ‘Easy Meat’ is of therefore those who feel they have no option but to comply.
Fittingly, the music on ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’ is punishing. We feel it’s more ambient, more expansive, more unsettlingly discordant than ever, and importantly, still extremely rampant at excessive speed. We hope in every respect – both musically and lyrically – this album will make your eyes burn with the harsh sonics and harsh visions of the dumping ground of globalisation.”
Napalm Death have announced European and Japan tour dates in November, as well as an appearance on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise in January 2015.
Nov 07: Alibi – Wroclaw (Poland)
Nov 08: Arena – Chemnitz (Germany)- + Hatebreed
Nov 09 Capitol – Hannover (Germany)- + Hatebreed
Nov 10: Schlachthof – Wiesbaden (Germany) + Hatebreed
Nov 11: L’ Usine – Genf (Switzerland) + Hatebreed
Nov 12: Rockfabrik – Ludwigsburg (Germany) + Hatebreed & War Of Ages
Nov 13: Matrix – Bochum (Germany + Hatebreed & War Of Ages
Nov 14: Amadeus + Mörser – Oldenburg (Germany) * Sold out!
Nov 15: Metal Hammer Paradise – Weissenhäuser Strand (Germany)-
Nov 21: Le Trabendo – Paris (France)
Nov 22: Speedfest – Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
Nov 26: Liquidroom – Tokyo (Japan) + Brutal Truth
Nov 27: Club Quattro – Osaka (Japan) – + Brutal Truth
Nov 28: Electric Lady Land – Nagoya (Japan) – + Brutal Truth
Nov 30: Earthdom – Tokyo (Japan) – + Brutal Truth
Jan 22-26 2015: 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise – Florida/Jamaica