sat 23/03/2019

CD: Napalm Death - Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Napalm Death - Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs

CD: Napalm Death - Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs

Midlands grindcore war machine still firing on all cylinders after all these years

Napalm Death: thoroughly bracing

Sometimes music reaches a point beyond which there's no point in going. Thus it is with Napalm Death who, 30 or so years ago, hit on a formula for furious noise generation, and though they've shifted line-ups many times since then, continue to make more or less the same racket to this day. OK, there are aficionados who will be furious at this allegation. Ah, they'll say, in 1997 Napalm Death almost entirely abandoned grindcore for pure death metal, and in 2003 they created an entirely new sound called “deathcrust”. But really, nothing significant has changed.

And that is just fine. In fact, it's more than fine – it's astounding, and wonderful. On this compilation of 31 rarities from the past decade of ND's career, the raw power that the band extracted and purified from the uglier ends of anarchopunk and thrash metal in the mid-Eighties is still present and correct in its purest form. And this is not easy music to play, to say the very least: though the clattering of drums, spurts of distortion and roared vocals sound formulaic, they are delivered with inhuman precision, athleticism and gusto. The band have been through tribulations and major changes over the years, but there's no questioning their utter commitment to what they're doing on these tracks.

While each track is an aural equivalent of a brisk sandblasting, it's thoroughly bracing, and as you adjust to the ND way of doing things you may start to find the fury and demented fullness of the sound a tonic for the soul. There's a good reason that ND have had no need to advance or alter what they do significantly: like just as a sound like acid house - albeit in a very, very different way - has survived on pure functionality, these tracks do a very precise job, have a very precise effect on the human brain or body, and we should be very thankful that they're still up to delivering them.


Below: listen to "Oh So Pseudo" from Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs

The raw power that the band extracted and purified from the uglier ends of anarchopunk and thrash metal in the mid Eighties is still present and correct in its purest form

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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