Legendary grindsters go from strength to strength
In as little as just a year and a half since their last release The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code, U.K. grindcore founders Napalm Death (Consisting of vocalist Mark 'Barney' Greenway, guitarist Mitch Harris, bassist Shane Embury and drummer Danny Herrera) are back with a new album (Their twelfth studio release) in Smear Campaign. Following on from the gradual return to form beginning with 2002's Order Of The Leech and the stronger The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code in 2005, Smear Campaign is ample proof that Napalm Death are indeed leaders rather than followers, with the sixteen tracks projecting a youthful aggression that compounds the steeped history behind the band, all the while containing a little more modern day experimentation to remain on the cutting edge of today's extreme scene.
The opening introduction piece Weltschmerz (Which is German for 'world-pain' or 'world-weariness') is an interesting example of Napalm Death's experimentation with keyboards, samples and the overall doom like structure (Enhanced by a guest operatic like guest appearance from The Gathering's Anneke Van Giersbergen) adding to a fitting prophetic destructive start to the album. The follow up track Sink Fast, Let Go is classic Napalm Death with Harris helping out vocally with his distinctive high shrieks, but it's further on into the track that the experimental element around the tail end that really shows the growth within the band that really works well, and shows that the band aren't about to simply rely on their past to forge ahead with a future.
The aggressive Fatalist and Puritanical Punishment Beating are as savage and forthright as the band have ever been in the past, while the groove based When All Is Said And Done, Identity Crisis, In Deference (Which again features some atmospheric contributions from Giersbergen on vocals), and Freedom Is The Wage Of Sin show a little more accessibility in the melodic sense amongst the punishing extreme delivery of the bands sounds. But while melody plays a small part of the band's sound, simple brutality is also a major component of Napalm Death's overall foundation too, with track such as Eyes Right Out (Again, enhanced with Harris' insane screaming), Short-Lived, Shattered Existence, Warped Beyond Logic, the punk-ish blast of Rabid Wolves (For Christ) and Deaf And Dumbstruck (Intelligent Design) proving beyond doubt that Napalm death haven't lost their edge or anger.
Finishing up the album are Persona Non Grata and the title track Smear Campaign, both of which combine the pure adrenaline of Napalm Death of old, along with the modern melodic (Harmonised in a sense) influences they've picked up in more recent times, especially on the latter (Which brings to mind Australia's own Alchemist). Smear Campaign is easily Napalm Death's strongest effort in years, and in my own opinion, a modern day classic from the legendary extreme act.
(Century Media Records/Stomp Records Distribution)
More from Napalm Death
- Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs [review]
- Apex Predator - Easy Meat [review]
- Utilitarian [review]
- Time Waits For No Slave [review]
- Scum (CD/DVD Dual Disc) [review]
- Code Is Red... Long Live the Code, The [review]
- Leaders Not Followers Part 2 [review]
- Punishment In Capitals [review]
- Noise For Music's Sake [review]