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Pop - Released January 27, 2015 | Century Media

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Metal - Released September 18, 2020 | Century Media

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Metal - Released July 13, 2006 | Century Media

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Metal - Released July 13, 2009 | Century Media

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Pop - Released February 27, 2012 | Century Media

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Metal - Released January 1, 2003 | Peaceville Records

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Metal - Released March 30, 2018 | Century Media

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Metal - Released January 1, 2002 | Peaceville Records

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Metal - Released July 13, 2005 | Century Media

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Rock - Released March 5, 2012 | Earache Records Ltd

As a rallying call for what seemed like millions of bands to follow, not to mention the launching point for the varying careers of Justin Broadrick, Nick Bullen, Mitch Harris, Lee Dorrian, and Bill Steer, Scum deserves its reputation alone. But it's also fun to listen to -- a strange word to use, but no doubt about it, the album has its own brand of rock & roll kicks taken to an almost ridiculous extreme. Split between the original lineup, with Broadrick and Bullen, and the next one, with Dorrian, Steer, and Shane Embury, Scum is a portrait of a place, time, and state of mind. Opener "Multinational Corporations" is the deep breath taken before the plunge: skittering cymbals, low-key feedback squalls, Bullen's rasped hatred -- and then all hell breaks loose. The riffs by both the Broadrick/Bullen and Steer/Embury teams use hyperconcentrated Black Sabbath-via-Motörhead-and-Metallica approaches as starting points, but the moorings are cut loose when everyone concentrates on nothing but speed itself. The combination of hyperspeed drums, crazed but still just clear enough guitar and bass blurs, and utterly unintelligible vocals takes the "loud hard fast rules" conclusion to a logical extreme that the band's followers could only try to equal instead of better. Interspersed throughout all this on various songs are more obviously deliberate constructions -- parts of the title track, say, or the focused chug-and-stomp start of "Siege of Power." They act as just enough pacing for the rampages elsewhere, where unrelenting, intense sound becomes its own part of weird ambient music, textures above all else. It's little surprise the free jazz/noise wing latched onto Scum as much as wound-up-as-hell headbangers did worldwide. That practically no song survives past two minutes -- much less one -- is all part of brusque do-the-job-and-do-no-more appeal. The most legendary number as a result: "You Suffer (But Why?)," running at a mere two seconds. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 1, 1987 | Earache Records Ltd

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Rock - Released March 25, 2009 | Earache Records Ltd

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Rock - Released March 25, 2009 | Earache Records Ltd

Fear Emptiness Despair is the culmination of Napalm Death's early-'90s meanderings. Everything comes together here, resulting in the album that Harmony Corruption (1990) and Utopia Banished (1992) had foreshadowed -- unrelenting grindcore as played by an experienced, technically advanced death metal collective with the guidance of a professional producer (Pete Coleman). "Hung," "Twist the Knife Slowly," and "Plague Rages" are hands down some of Napalm Death's best songs ever, and the remaining songs aren't far short of the mark. These songs are as ferocious as anything the classic lineup of Napalm Death (i.e., the late-'80s grindcore band) had recorded. They can stand alongside the likes of "Unchallenged Hate" and "Mentally Murdered," yet they're intricate and well developed in the manner of the band's later, more elaborate songs like "Suffer the Children" and "The World Keeps Turning." Plus, the professional production gives them a glorious, full-color sheen that early, lo-fi Napalm Death simply didn't have. In the end, it's really that simple -- Fear Emptiness Despair is the culminant album fans had been waiting for, the one that again put Napalm Death atop the field of extreme metal (for a while, at least). It's not a perfect album, nor is it their be-all, end-all masterwork, but it's certainly a career highlight and a striking listen. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 14, 2012 | Earache Records Ltd

Napalm Death's evolution continues with Utopia Banished, another change of direction for the band. Here Napalm Death stylistically veer somewhere between the grindcore noise assaults of their early, seminal albums (Scum [1987], From Enslavement to Obliteration [1988]) and the straightforward death metal of their more recent releases (Harmony Corruption [1990], Mass Appeal Madness [1991]). However, they also incorporate quite a bit of experimentalism into the synthesis, resulting in a curious album that doesn't fall into any preconceived category (if you need a tag, consider it an expansive death metal approach to savage grindcore aesthetics). Napalm Death thus go back to their roots in a way. Few of the songs top three minutes, and they often break into frenzied breaks of whirlwind blasting (highlighting new drummer Danny Herrera). Then again, Colin Richardson gives the songs a lustrous production sheen, and the band crafts elaborate songs that twist and turn from section to section. So, if Napalm Death do indeed go back to their roots here (i.e., Scum, Enslavement), they do so while retaining the professional production and full-fledged songwriting that had characterized their recent foray into death metal (Harmony Corruption). It's really the best of both worlds, except that there aren't too many noteworthy songs here. "I Abstain" and "The World Keeps Turning" stand out, but many of the others are generally interchangeable -- there's just nothing that fascinating about them beyond their actual sound. Yes, they're powerful, but no, they're not especially great songs. The greatest song here, in fact, is an anomaly: "Contemptuous." It closes the album, sounds quite digitally processed, and lumbers along at a slow, marching pace (think Godflesh circa Streetcleaner). It's a stunning finale and makes you wish Napalm Death had recorded a few more similar songs for Utopia Banished. Regardless, the album is a step in the right direction for the band after the straightforwardness of Harmony Corruption. Here they've found an interesting style to explore, a synthesis of their grindcore past and their death metal present that they'd soon refine on subsequent albums, to much success. Consider Utopia Banished, like Harmony Corruption before it, to be a passingly engaging transition toward the fruitful harvest that is Fear Emptiness Despair (1994). © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 25, 2009 | Earache Records Ltd

During the two-year interim separating Harmony Corruption from Napalm Death's previous album, the band totally revamped its lineup and its sound as well, moving toward the more expansive horizons of standard death metal. This move inspired quite a bit of debate among fans. Napalm Death had been -- and will always be -- the definitive grindcore band, as exemplified by Scum (1987) and From Enslavement to Obliteration (1988), the two albums that practically alone defined an entire new style of extreme metal. However, the Napalm Death of those two albums is not the Napalm Death of Harmony Corruption, not in membership nor sound. The band's vocalist, Lee Dorian, split (to join Cathedral), as did guitarist Bill Steer (Carcass), leaving only the band's rhythm section: bassist Shane Embury and drummer Mick Harris. Barney Greenway (formerly of Benediction) takes over for Dorian, while both Jesse Pintado (Terrorizer) and Mitch Harris (Righteous Pigs) take over for Steer. The addition of Pintado and Harris particularly opened up a new realm of possibilities for Napalm Death, and the band indeed stretches out musically. Whereas the sound of Scum and Enslavement had been characterized by one- or two-minute grindcore blasts, the sound of Harmony Corruption is more expansive. The songs range from two minutes to over five, and Pintado and Harris often interweave their guitar playing into a dense, dizzying wall of sound that never quite relents until the album reaches its final conclusion. The guitar playing is varied and intricate here; you can hear the distinction between Pintado and Harris as they bob and weave around one another. This is much different from Steer's playing, which had been essentially a frenzied, distorted blur. Furthermore, the band performs full-fledged songs here, not start-stop eruptions of noise. A song like "Suffer the Children" would have been incredibly out of place on Enslavement. In fact, most of the songs here would have been out of place there -- these are straightforward death metal songs, not grindcore blasts. Scott Burns makes this all the more apparent with his crystal-clear production. The resounding question, though, is whether or not all this is good or bad. Napalm Death play like a tight, muscular death metal band on Harmony Corruption (best highlighted by the aforementioned "Suffer the Children"), which puts them within the norm for the first time and puts them much at odds with their former selves. Whether or not you favor a death metal style to a grindcore one is a question worth asking, but the underlying fact of the matter is that Napalm Death are a new band here, one that plays powerful, albeit relatively straightforward, death metal. But only for this album. Their next album, Utopia Banished (1992), would spiral them off into a more experimental hybrid of grindcore and death metal, which is where they'd remain for years afterward -- out there, somewhere in between. All considered, Harmony Corruption is a bit of a novel album for the band, though one that's not especially remarkable in the big picture. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 23, 2012 | Earache Records Ltd

During the two-year interim separating Harmony Corruption from Napalm Death's previous album, the band totally revamped its lineup and its sound as well, moving toward the more expansive horizons of standard death metal. This move inspired quite a bit of debate among fans. Napalm Death had been -- and will always be -- the definitive grindcore band, as exemplified by Scum (1987) and From Enslavement to Obliteration (1988), the two albums that practically alone defined an entire new style of extreme metal. However, the Napalm Death of those two albums is not the Napalm Death of Harmony Corruption, not in membership nor sound. The band's vocalist, Lee Dorian, split (to join Cathedral), as did guitarist Bill Steer (Carcass), leaving only the band's rhythm section: bassist Shane Embury and drummer Mick Harris. Barney Greenway (formerly of Benediction) takes over for Dorian, while both Jesse Pintado (Terrorizer) and Mitch Harris (Righteous Pigs) take over for Steer. The addition of Pintado and Harris particularly opened up a new realm of possibilities for Napalm Death, and the band indeed stretches out musically. Whereas the sound of Scum and Enslavement had been characterized by one- or two-minute grindcore blasts, the sound of Harmony Corruption is more expansive. The songs range from two minutes to over five, and Pintado and Harris often interweave their guitar playing into a dense, dizzying wall of sound that never quite relents until the album reaches its final conclusion. The guitar playing is varied and intricate here; you can hear the distinction between Pintado and Harris as they bob and weave around one another. This is much different from Steer's playing, which had been essentially a frenzied, distorted blur. Furthermore, the band performs full-fledged songs here, not start-stop eruptions of noise. A song like "Suffer the Children" would have been incredibly out of place on Enslavement. In fact, most of the songs here would have been out of place there -- these are straightforward death metal songs, not grindcore blasts. Scott Burns makes this all the more apparent with his crystal-clear production. The resounding question, though, is whether or not all this is good or bad. Napalm Death play like a tight, muscular death metal band on Harmony Corruption (best highlighted by the aforementioned "Suffer the Children"), which puts them within the norm for the first time and puts them much at odds with their former selves. Whether or not you favor a death metal style to a grindcore one is a question worth asking, but the underlying fact of the matter is that Napalm Death are a new band here, one that plays powerful, albeit relatively straightforward, death metal. But only for this album. Their next album, Utopia Banished (1992), would spiral them off into a more experimental hybrid of grindcore and death metal, which is where they'd remain for years afterward -- out there, somewhere in between. All considered, Harmony Corruption is a bit of a novel album for the band, though one that's not especially remarkable in the big picture. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Metal - Released July 31, 2012 | Napalm Death

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Rock - Released April 19, 2019 | Earache Records Ltd

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Metal - Released September 4, 2020 | Century Media

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Metal - Released February 7, 2020 | Century Media Records

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