Utilitarian - Napalm Death Album Review
For the uninitiated, Birmingham's Napalm Death have been a considerably intense and political contributor to Britain's metal scene since the '80s. Initially revered for taking a matter of seconds to say what they wanted to say, mostly at breakneck speed and as loud as a Heathrow viewing-platform, the band has reeled off over a dozen albums and numerous singles since their debut long-player, 1987's "Scum" (allegedly recorded for a little over fifty quid).
"Utilitarian" is album number 14 and sees little change in direction, something which matters not a jot to their vast legion of devotees. If anything, this album contains the same extremities as their classic early work with a few tracks barely scraping two minutes long (an epic length when compared to "You Suffer", a rare compilation-track from the landmark Earache Records' "Grindcrusher" collection, which clocks in at 1 second in length). This time around, Napalm Death have endorsed the Occupy movement by tieing in the album's release with the launch of their new Facebook page, Occupy Napalm. Anyone associated with the group's development will know that this is no mere cash-in, especially when studying the track-titles, viewing their record-sleeves and pumping the volume up to ten.
"Everyday Pox", "Gag Reflex", "Leper Colony" (the recent single) and "Quarantined" all hint at the band's revulsion of 'the man', the politicians, the bankers and the wanton destruction of the human race, both physically and spiritually. Delivered with all the subtlety of a brick, Mitch Harris shreds guitars (and, no doubt, his fingers in the process), Shane Embury plumbs bassy depths, Danny Herrera beats the living skins out of his drums and vocalist Mark Greenway growls, rasps, hollers and screams his way through this 16-song set, like a man possessed.
Ultimately, "Utilitarian" is as uncompromising a thrash-cum-grindcore album as you could wish to shell out for and shows no sign of Napalm Death throwing in the towel, any time soon. They could certainly teach a few of the current wannabe young rock pups a thing or six.
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