MARCH 1st 2012

Review By: Metal Mom

NAPALM DEATH, is pure grindcore, and looking it up,I discover grindcore is an extreme genre of music that started in the early to mid 1980s. It draws inspiration from some of the most abrasive music genres including death metal, industrial, noise and the more extreme varieties of hardcore punk. So now that I know what it is, I can go ahead and review their newest - “Utilitarian”.

Originated back in 1981 and today, although not the original members, these 4 UK lads make up the band today:

Mark “Barney” Greenway (vocals)
Shane Embury (bass)
Mitch Harris (guitar/vocals)
Danny Herrera (drummer)

So what makes them so special, well how about 30 years of grindcore. Plus they have pretty much done every music festival out there, and toured through many corners of the world that a lot of other bands wouldn’t tread. In early 2011 they started the process of writing their 15th album “Utilitarian“. It was recorded over a year at the Parlour Studios in Northamptonshire, UK with producer Russ Russell. Russ is now mostly known for his work in rock and metal, working with bands such as Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, Evile, Lock Up, The Berzerker, Amorphis, and many more. In November the new album was finally mixed and mastered, release date was Feb 27 in Europe, and Feb 28 in North America. Record Label is Century Media.

2009 was their last release “Time Waits for No Slave”, and now 3 years later we have another brutal grind masterpiece. There are 19 tracks, depending on the version you purchase:

1. Circumspect (Instrumental) 2:17
2. Errors in the Signals 3:02
3. Everyday Pox 2:12
4. Protection Racket 4:00
5. The Wolf I Feed 2:57
6. Quarantined 2:47
7. Fall on Their Swords 3:57
8. Collision Course 3:14
9. Orders of Magnitude 3:21
10. Think Tank Trials 2:27
11. Blank Look About Face 3:12
12. Leper Colony 3:23
13. Aim Without an Aim (Limited edition bonus track) 3:06
14. Everything in Mono (Limited edition bonus track) 2:49
15. Nom de Guerre 1:07
16. Analysis Paralysis 3:23
17. Opposite Repellent 1:22
18. A Gag Reflex 3:30
19. Standardization (LP bonus track)

I don’t have a trained ear for listening to grindcore, but I can tell you there is a distinct range of sound which makes for a more interesting listen. Oh don’t get me wrong, its still a brutal savage grindcore, but it also has 90’s style with some death/black metal in your face venom intertwined, so never boring. Their songs run the gambit of society, meaning the degeneration of society, arms trade, sexual and gender expressions, environment, in other words, everyday life of you and I. Its all about the political engagement and ethical values beyond the sex/drugs, rock n’roll. It’s a raw uncompromising form.

Mark’s vocals are relentless, what some might call the cookie monster growls, but also a touch of black metal grunts and howls, along with some clean vocals adding a variety to this album. The drum work by Danny is insane, vicious and chaotic, and sounds pretty complex to me, that’s a good thing by the way. Guitar work is a fast tempo, bass sounded like it created the dark side of grind. And an addition to this album is John Zorn (Everyday Pox), who gives us some sax passages to enjoy. I am going to say this Cd is not for the weak, and will be enjoyed by all NAPALM DEATH fans. This in your face, brutal, dark and raw, is everything you need to make a great grindcore CD. And what are they trying to tell you. Just this: THINK FOR YOURSELF, LIBERATE YOURSELF AND DON’T END UP FEEDING THE MACHINE THAT ALL TOO WILLINGLY EATS YOU UP.