Back when Napalm Death started out their songs lasted under a second and entire albums lasted about as long as it took to eat a Wagon Wheel, albeit in those days Wagon Wheels were the size of your head...
What then to make of their latest release, a 93 min double album? Have Napalm Death gone all prog on us? Well, aside from the restrained piano intro on the opening track of the second CD ‘Clouds of Cancer / Victims Of Ignorance’, the answer is a resounding no.
In truth this isn’t a ‘new’ album at all but rather a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks written and recorded since 2004. It is, as you would expect, an uncompromising compilation of brutal, relentless metal from one of the finest purveyors of extreme music, even after 30-odd years in the game. It’s a testament to Napalm Death’s ability that they are still able to create music that is compelling and relevant in a way that very few bands who have been around since the 1980s are able to manage anymore. These songs are never less than arresting, they demand your attention and refuse to be ignored and each one alone is able to leave you feeling like you've gone 12 rounds with Anthony Joshua. There is very little respite throughout the two CDs, when the pace drops a little on ‘Atheist Runt’ it actually comes as something of a relief.
This is not an album for Napalm newbies, but even the most die-hard Napalm Death fan might struggle to take this all in one sitting. The band have always been at their best when delivering a short sharp shock to the listener and 93 minutes does dull their impact slightly.
However, the flaws in this album are not down to the band themselves. They deliver time and time again with songs like ‘Crash the Pose’, ‘Like Piss to a Sting’ and ‘Critical Gluttonous Mass’ all being as excellent as their titles suggest. This is more than just a mere curio, thrown together to cash in between albums, these songs deserve to be heard, and will be lapped up by their loyal fans.
When taken in smaller doses there are very few weak points here. It perhaps lacks the coherency of their best albums but that comes with territory of a group of songs recorded over such a long period of time, this collection serves as a reminder of Napalm Death’s remarkable longevity and consistency. They have created a legacy few bands in any genre can match, they have weathered changes in the music industry, seen various genres come and go and they still stand tall, true to their ideals and head and shoulders above their peers.
Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs is not an easy listen and that’s something that Napalm Death can be very proud of, they still reign supreme as far as extreme, angry metal goes, and this album does nothing to diminish their legacy. However, there are plenty of their albums which showcase their talent better and ultimately you’re left with the feeling that this is one for the completists only.
Standardization Oh So Pseudo It Failed To Explode Losers
Call That An Option? Caste As Waste
We Hunt In Packs
Oxygen Of Duplicity Paracide
Critical Gluttonous Mass
Aim Without An Aim
An Extract (Strip It Clean)
Phonetics For The Stupefied
To Go Off And Things Clouds of Cancer / Victims Of Ignorance What Is Past Is Prologue
Like Piss To A Sting
Where The Barren Is Fertile
Crash The Pose
Will By Mouth
Everything In Mono
Omnipresent Knife In Your Back
No Impediment To Triumph (Bhopal)
Legacy Was Yesterday
Weltschmerz (Extended Apocalyptic Version)
Shane Embury – Bass Guitar
Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway – Lead Vocals
Mitch Harris – Guitar
Danny Herrera – Drums
You can order the album from here: http://napalmdeath.org/scum/