Classic Rock

Our Pain Is Their Power - Napalm Death - MP3 Stereo (CD)

This was something the band had been doing as early as Utopia Banishedand continues to this day; it works remarkably well even alongside their most grinding material. Shockingly, it proves that they probably could have gone even farther down this road, had they so chosen.

Note: In a typically late '90s move, the U. In fact, it's a sharp, creative record that finds the band exploring some of the music their friends and peers were making, without sacrificing their own fundamental identity. They chug rather than blast, rolling along on a midtempo, bass-heavy groove that lets Shane Embury move into a dub-metal zone while Mitch Harris and Jesse Pintado explore post-industrial guitar tones, reminiscent of Godflesh's Justin Broadrick, rather than their usual roar.

Even the faster songs are of a different nature than their previous work. And the title track starts off in blazing "Greed Killing" mode, but in its final third downshifts sharply to a more Prong-like groove, with some surprisingly warped guitar work.

Ultimately, Diatribes is Napalm Death's most adventurous, and most controversial, album. Barney Greenway groans his lyrics, while Shane Embury screeches in a voice that sounds like a fucking Dalek; it's enough to give you chills. As always when a Napalm album starts off slow, though, the next track is blindingly fast.

The guitars on "Smash A Single Digit" have an edge like a polished-steel bandsaw blade, erupting into full-on grindcore fury in the final 20 seconds. Other highlights include the bass intro to "How the Years Condemn," the lurching headlong groove!

On first listen, it's a rocket ride, leaving you breathless, but every time you come back to it, new subtleties reveal themselves. Smear Campaign is a pretty formulaic album. It's fast and furious, the riffs and drumming all set on hyperspeed and Barney Greenway's blast-furnace vocals coming straight at you with zero subtlety or variation.

Will it be the equivalent of a killer album like Infernoor a relatively lackluster disc like Motorizer? Well, as you can tell from its place on this list, Smear Campaign is fucking great.

Lyrically, it's more focused than many of their releases -- basically every song is an attack on organized religion. Musically they're locked in, too; with the exception of the intro track, "Weltschmerz" which leads immediately into "Sink Fast, Let Go," one of their fastest 21st Century tracksthere's nothing midtempo or slow here.

There's only one guest, too: Anneke van Giersbergen, formerly of Dutch semi-Goth rockers The Gathering, adds creepy spoken vocals and background wailing to "In Deference.

Our Pain Is Their Power - Napalm Death - MP3 Stereo (CD) not their best album of the 21st Century, but it might be their most archetypal. It's amazing it took Napalm Death until their 14th studio album to get John Zorn in the studio with them. After all, he'd cited them as an influence on the "hardcore miniatures" heard on Naked City's self-titled, Torture Garden and Grand Guignol albums, and poached their drummer, Mick Harris, for his skronk-improv trio, Painkiller who were even signed to Napalm's label, Earache, for their first two releases.

But somehow their paths never fully crossed in the expected way until "Everyday Pox," the third track on this disc. Zorn manages to cram two concise but coherent and complete saxophone solos into the song's running time; he's first Our Pain Is Their Power - Napalm Death - MP3 Stereo (CD) at the second mark, screeching and wailing in the horn's uppermost register behind Greenway's roars, then again from to the end of the track, spitting out echoey, reverbed squiggles and squeals just like he used to do in Painkiller.

It's more than enough to make you wish he'd play with them for an entire album or concert, just soloing away as they blast through their songs. Of course, the rest of Utilitarian doesn't suffer from his absence. The doubling of Greenway's vocals is Our Pain Is Their Power - Napalm Death - MP3 Stereo (CD) obvious than usual on a few tracks, but that's balanced by amazing performances like "The Wolf I Feed," where Shane Embury's unhinged howling is more prominent than ever -- he's basically a co-lead vocalist -- and the clean chorus makes the song a perfect balance of melody and extremity.

Embury steps forward again on "Orders Of Magnitude," and, if possible, sounds even scarier. He's a screeching goblin, and good for him. And musically, the band is just on fire.

Herrera's drumming is relentless in the best way, and Mitch Our Pain Is Their Power - Napalm Death - MP3 Stereo (CD) layered guitars saw at your ears sometimes, and soar above the din at others. And the D-beat bass-and-drums intro, ending with a pick slide, that kicks off "Everything In Mono" is fantastic. There are as many headbang-worthy moments as get-in-the-pit-and-kill-someone explosions; other than its relatively slow-paced introductory track, "Circumspect," it's pretty much all barrage, but with enough variation to keep fans of their more exploratory material tuned in.

The second Napalm Death album improves on its predecessor by managing to maintain consistent personnel across both sides -- but not the same personnel as Side B of Scum. Vocalist Lee Dorrian, guitarist Bill Steer, and drummer Mick Harris are all accounted for, but bassist Jim Whitely's gone; in his place is Shane Embury, who's since become the band's anchor, right up to the present day.

Interestingly, the lineup here, most of whom were responsible for the comparatively inferior material on the debut's second half, achieve greatness by emulating the first half.

The songs on F. In just 36 seconds, "Private Death" has dynamics and an addictive headbangability. When the band really "stretches out," as on "Unchallenged Hate" or the album's longest song, "Display To Me The other thing that makes F.

Yes, the guitar and bass are both grinding, distorted blurs, but they're really well recorded and separated -- you can hear what Steer and Embury are doing, independently of each other.

Similarly, Mick Harris's drums have a much more visceral, whomping impact than you might expect at the speed he's playing, and the contrast between his high-pitched, goblin-like screeches a role Embury would later take over and Dorrian's guttural growling is extreme, but complementary.

This is about the best this type of music could ever possibly sound, which perfectly suits the totally adrenalized performances. The 13th Napalm Death studio album, and their third for Century Media, starts off as a fast and furious barrage of riffs and blast beats. There are some tempo changes here and there, to keep the listener's attention from wandering, and the fourth track, "On The Brink Of Extinction," is surprisingly thrashy, but as the album gets going, it initially feels like more of the same, a possibly disappointing follow-up to 's breathtaking Smear Campaign.

But then, on the title track, things get weird. Barney Greenway adds a weirdly tuneless style of clean singing to his usual enraged bark, almost working against the melody expressed in the riff. That's followed by "Life And Limb," which begins by chugging in an almost groove-metal manner, has maybe the most melodic chorus on the whole album, and ends with clanging clean guitars over atmospheric feedback.

The longer the album progresses, the more adventurous it gets. Morale 5. Our Pain Is Their Power 6. Weltschmerz Extended Apocalyptic Power. Persona Non Grata Like shit, like shit, like shit Trodden down like shit underfoot Like shit, be the downside to others upsides Like shit, last one to the table, just starve Like shit, you'll get what you're given You'll get what you're given This is set in stone from the ivory towers Perception above all When you're face down in the dirt Irreversibly persona non grata A figure off ill distinction Persona non grata The place for blame diversion No matter the plaudits I earn Like shit, the whoring and scoring for points Like shit, to strive to be superficial Like shit, I'll live by your status I'll live by your status This is knowing your place Beneath the ivory towers Not a growing concern But a lowly beast of burden Irreversibly persona non grata A figure off ill distinction Persona non grata The place for blame diversion Like shit 2.

But because of the Columbia hookup, it's one of the band's best-selling titles. Hell, the song "Twist The Knife Slowly " was pulled for the Mortal Kombat soundtrack, which means the members of Napalm Death have a platinum plaque to their name. Musically, Fear The mix has a lot of separation between guitars; they're way off on the left and right sides, with the drums clattering and thudding in between: not that many blast beats, but a few interesting almost-tribal patterns here and there.

Barney Greenway's vocals are super-chesty; he sounds like a bear, and bassist Shane Embury, who usually provides unholy, goblin-like screams as a counterpoint, is rarely heard, which makes all the roaring kind of monotonous after a while, especially since most of the songs have nearly identical vocal melodies. Again, not a bad album, just disappointing when compared with their sharper work. After two albums on the Spitfire label, Napalm Death signed with Century Media, an independent metal label that had achieved success with melodic Scandinavian acts like Arch Enemy and Dark Tranquillity, and the Italian pop-metal group Lacuna Coil.

They had their noisy side, too, of course -- they were Eyehategod's label throughout the '90s. The Code Is Red Long Live The Code also brought a lineup shift with it -- the first one in a while. Guitarist Jesse Pintado had officially left the band in order to reform his first band, Terrorizer, and Napalm chose not to replace him, moving on as a quartet.

The resulting album is one of the fastest and most unrelenting in their late-period discography. Although the opening track and "single" "Silence Is Deafening" is the length of a normal song atit doesn't feel that way; it absolutely blazes along, leaving you breathless as you try to shout along with Barney. And the impression of blinding speed and unstoppable fury is solidified by the two tracks that follow, the second "Right You Are" and the "Diplomatic Immunity.

Danny Herrera hammers the snare like he's trying to drive nails through the head. For 15 tracks in a row, the fury never truly abates.

But then, the album ends with a two-minute almost ambient track, "Our Pain Is Their Power," an ideal come-down after 45 minutes of blazing. Interestingly, amid all the hyper-aggression, Napalm seem to have actually tried to bring in new fans on this album, through the use of guest vocalists. None of them add very much, but they represent a pretty broad range of genres punk, hardcore, extreme metalall of which Napalm have influenced.

Order of the Leech was Napalm Death's second and final release for Spitfire. It's a stronger album than its predecessor, 's Enemy Of The Music Businessnot because the songs are any more angry or speed-crazed how could they be? Interestingly, although guitarist Jesse Pintado wouldn't officially leave the band untilhe doesn't play on this record -- all the guitars are by Mitch Harris. There's plenty of head-down grind to tracks like "The Icing On The Hate," "Forced To Fear," and the rest of Order ; drummer Danny Herrera drives the music relentlessly, rarely shifting down out of, like, 17th gear.

Every once in a while, though, he does get to stretch out a little, like on the disc-opening "Continuing War On Stupidity. But in the middle of all the roaring and machine-gun drumming, the band suddenly launches a crawling, doom-thrash riff, over which Barney Greenway barks "Procreation of the wicked" in a tribute to arty Swiss thrashers Celtic Frost.

It's the kind of thing Our Pain Is Their Power - Napalm Death - MP3 Stereo (CD) could see a band doing live, but not in the studio, and certainly not on the released take of a song -- but it proves that as justifiably pissed off as Napalm Death are about the world, they never lose their sense of humor, or their love of metal.

Because it was released on a label that really didn't know what to do with the band, Order Of The Leech like Enemy Of The Music Business before it kind of falls through the cracks of the Napalm Death discography. But it's worth seeking out. Napalm Death's debut, Scumis a landmark release in "extreme metal. Scum offers 28 tracks in 33 minutes, and one of them is the now-legendary "shortest song in the world," the one-second "You Suffer. There's actually a fair amount of dynamism here, though, at least on the first side.

Similarly, the title track lurches back and forth between a doomy, almost Celtic Frost-ish verse riff and a blazing, Discharge-like chorus. And "Siege Of Power" is just fantastic -- a grinding bulldozer of a riff, absolutely impossible not to headbang to. It's no wonder the band re-recorded it later, with their current lineup. The second half of Scum is a completely different story -- which is no surprise, if you look at the album credits. In their early years, Napalm Death went through a lot of members in a fairly short time, and the two sides of Scum feature only one musician in common, drummer Mick Harris.

Most of the songs on the second half of Scum flash past in well under a minute; the longest is the "M. There are a few good riffs "Success? So while Scum is an incredibly important album, it's not a great one. After the journey to Florida that yielded their most uncharacteristic album, the death metal-besotted Harmony CorruptionNapalm Death returned to the UK and made their first "comeback" record, 's Utopia Banished. It opens with "Discordance," a second industrial-noise intro that features ominous spoken statements layered into a thick wall of crunching static.

That leads seamlessly into "Abstain," a thrashy track that retains some of the death metal feel of Harmony Corruption there's even a guitar solobut brings the energy level back up to the level of their release, From Enslavement To Obliteration. This was drummer Danny Herrera's first full album with the band, Our Pain Is Their Power - Napalm Death - MP3 Stereo (CD) he's amazingly disciplined; the rhythms are rock-steady, almost D-beat-like, mostly avoiding the hit-everything-twice chaos Mick "the Human Tornado" Harris brought to the early records.

The crazed riffing of Mitch Harris and Jesse Pintado formerly of Terrorizertoo, has the manic intensity of punk rather than the minimalist slashing of grindcore, and there are some fascinatingly weird moments like the noisy mini-solos buried at the end of "Idiosyncratic," or the way Barney Greenway shouts what sounds like "text me" at the beginning of "Judicial Slime.

On top of the roaring, crashing band, Greenway sounds like the world's angriest gorilla. Utopia Banished is probably the least well known of Napalm Death's early albums, coming as it does between the death metal detour of Harmony Corruption and the experimental phase that lasted from Fear, Emptiness, Despair through Words From The Exit Wound.

But it's also one of the most likely to pleasantly surprise a listener. Napalm Death pull all the same tricks on this disc as they did on its successor: they open strong "Breed To Breathe" is a fantastic, hard-driving singlethey throw some curve balls at the listener "Birth In Regress" features an industrial-ish main riff, a breakdown with clean guitars, and a catchy chorusand they keep the drumming closer to rock -- with some tribal elements at times -- than grindcore or death metal.

Hell, the title track could almost be by Ministry. On their four mid-'90s albums, Napalm Death really seemed like they were trying to break the bounds of not only their own long-established style, but also the subgenres they were experimenting with.

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