Saturday, May 26, 2012

Album Review: Napalm Death - "Utilitarian"

Ah, Grindcore. I've never really been a huge fan of it, finding it almost too abrasive even for me. I have to admit though, that recently I've opened up to it a bit more. I've listened to a few Terrorizer and Napalm Death singles on Youtube as well as some snips and cuts of Carcass' Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies of Sickness. I decided to go further down the rabbit hole and pick up Napalm Death's newest effort, Utilitarian.

I tried to make a joke here, but this album is seriously so fucking good that I just can't bring myself to do it.

Napalm Death have been around for a long time. Like, a really long time. They've been around since the 80s, which is surprising to me, because 40 - 45 year old guys and Grindcore don't seem to mix. They've been credited as one of the most influential extreme music acts ever, and despite being so huge, I never really hear anything about them.

So. Utilitarian. For my first full Napalm Death experience, it was surprisingly enjoyable. When I found out this album was 51 minutes long, I kind of expected to half-heartedly sit through almost an hour of nothing but break-neck speed blast beats. Although there are break-neck speed blasts throughout this album, it flows extremely well between unrelenting speed and some groovy sections that make you want to get up and just fucking mosh*.

Each song on Utilitarian is a quick, face-breaking bludgeoning, with each band member holding their own. Mark "Barney" Greenway is a barking madman, with his vocals just dripping with hate. Shane Embury and Mitch Harris rip apart their bass and guitar (respectively), delivering punishing riff after punishing riff. Drummer Danny Herrera pulls all the chaos together beautifully with his driving beats and grooves.

I haven't listened to enough Napalm Death to really know, but most people who have say that they've been experimenting more than usual on this album. I can guess where they've been pushing their sound into new territories. The tracks "Leper Colony" and "Fall on Their Swords" have some sort of chanting choruses, reminding me of a sort of political rally or protest. The song "Everyday Pox" has some really unexpected, yet pretty sweet saxophone bits on it. The sax really, really reminds me of Ihsahn's album After, with the brutal, crushing metal flying alongside some wicked saxophone work.

A joke should go here too, but fuck me this album rips so fucking hard.
Bomb-Ass Tracks

 Errors in the Signals: The brutal as all hell second track off the album switches from a mach speed intro to a slow and powerful chorus perfectly. The fast bits feel like a bag of potatoes flying into your face, while the chorus fills you with the urge to jump onto a desk/ chair/ flipped over car and scream along with Barney.
Collision Course: *This is one of those parts that make you want to get up and just fucking mosh.

 Nom de Guerre: This song is only a minute and six seconds long, but holy fuck. Fucking Grindcore.

Overall Score


From the very first minute to the fifty-first minute, Utilitarian had me totally wrapped around its little finger. This album has turned me on to Grindcore, and I urge anyone interested in getting into the genre to use this album as an excellent stepping stone.

That's all for now, folks. Keep being Awesome.