Aggressive, innovative and unrelenting, Napalm Death are veterans when it comes to creating extreme music.
As one of the pioneers of grindcore, their influence on the genre, and countless bands after them, is undeniable. The question is, after more than 20 years together in their current guise, are they still capable of producing the level of ferocity that they became known for?
The latest release of the band’s 15 album career, Apex Predator – Easy Meat picks up where 2012’s Utilitarian left off, blending classic Napalm Death vitriol with more experimental elements, making this far from a monotonous grind from start to finish.
Taking the approach that things can never get too extreme, too noisy or at times too annoying, the classic line-up of vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera continue to put everything they have into Death, and it shows.
Opening with almost monastic drones, the album’s title track is a perfect example of the variation seen across the 14 tracks, especially when compared with the breakneck ‘Smash A Single Digit’ that follows it, with texture and space being replaced by crushing riffs.
It isn’t until you get to the album’s halfway point, ‘Dear Slum Landlord…’ that the pace lets up, with doom-laden guitar lines, plodding bass and Greenway’s chanting vocals providing a resting point before stepping up the venom in the song’s closing seconds.
Shifting between pulse-racing aggression and slower, groove oriented rhythms, the whole album acts as an excellent showcase of the diversity that can be found in “extreme” metal and it just goes to show why Napalm Death are still pioneers, more than two decades into their career.