Album review: Napalm Death – Apex predator – Easy Meat

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25 years and 15 albums later Napalm Death still shows no signs of writing a power ballad. Napalm Death cares not for your relationship woes, your dragons or your schlocky horror movie revenge fantasies. No, Napalm’s music is firmly rooted in real life suffering and subjugation, despite what the exhumed-esque gory cover art(above) would lead you believe this is still the case on album no 15.

Apex Predator – Easy Meat’s opening track unfurls like an evolved descendent of Scum’sMultinational Corporations”, with a cultic chanting tirade and ambient sound-scape typically reserved for Nile’s more experimental (read: Egyptian) moments.

After an interesting but ultimately skip-able intro, Apex Predator goes straight for the kill with immediate and economic blasts of anarchic grindcore. Broken up by brief fits of dissonance and melody that contrast the bouts of aural violence. Most of the tracks here have been slashed straight to the bone clocking in around or under the 3 minute mark and missing much the lingering death metal influences of the last two records. What also sets this record apart from the last two is its relaxing of structure. each track storms the listener with vitriolic vocal layers and driving guitars propelled by drum blasts that have a real gravity and are not awash with cymbal noise. The songs often wrap up so quickly they demand repeat listens. The songs work off each other with a cohesion that is hallmark of the best bands in the genre, and work exceedingly to ward off tedium.

Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway’s torn lung howl continues to proselytize the disenfranchised masses with the passion of a fiery dictator. The clean vocal parts are still present and have improved drastically, never wearing out their welcome.

It is a shame Mitch Harris is sitting out Napalm’s most recent tour, because his contribution to the new record is massive. Honoring both the punk roots of the band as well as expanding into the more intricate Brutal Truth (RIP) style riffing. Apex Predator is a more chaotic and dissonant Napalm Death record than Utilitarian or Time Waits for No Slave. Bottom line, this is Napalm Death’s 15th rodeo in almost 30 years and they are still as outraged and ferocious as ever.

4.5/5

 

Track Listing: Napalm DeathApex Predator – Easy Meat

 

1. Apex Predator – Easy Meat
2. Smash a Small Digit
3. Metaphorically Screw You
4. How the Years Condemn
5. Stubborn Stains
6. Timeless Flogging
7. Dear Slum Landlord…
8. Cesspits
9. Bloodless Coup
10. Beyond the Pale
11. Stunt Your Growth
12. Hierarchies
13. One-Eyed
14. Adversarial / Copulating Snakes

Total play time: Approx. 40 min

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