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NAPALM DEATH
Scum


Earache (1987)
Rating: 9.1/10


Here it is folks! This album will finally settle the argument of who is the fastest band in the world. Like those super-fast, mega intense bands that have preceded them, Napalm Death have come up with an album which on the surface may sound like a cataclysm, but in fact has some of the meanest and most technical noise around at the moment etched on its grooves.

It used to be “hip” to do songs under a minute, and many were the bands that created awesome albums with this chemistry. Names like Cryptic Slaughter, DRI, Stormtroopers Of Death and Septic Death come to mind immediately as those who used to pursue the lap record on a 33rpm LP. Suddenly however everything changed and the elongated longer than one-minute track became the “new” fashion, but then enter Napalm Death and reverse the process. The mighty Napalm Death are not behind the times however, because their brand of hardcore makes the earlier ones seem like a man blowing his nose in comparison to a hurricane in full flow.

This LP contains two line-ups of the band: the three piece line-up of side one from November 1986 and the new four piece May 1987 line-up with Bill Steer on chainsaw guitar and Lee Dorrian firmly ensconced on vocals. The album blends a metal style of Celtic Frost and Bathory riffs with hardcore aggression and topical ideas, and puts it all into an accelerator. What comes out is so awesome that the album will probably be destined to have something of a cult status, like those I mentioned above.

It’s not perfect, because on several occasions it goes a little too far over the top, but so did S.O.D. and Cryptic Slaughter. So if it’s total intensity you’re after, go no further. The production is excellent considering the strain put on it by Mick Harris’ 1000 cymbal rpm (approx!), and Lee Dorrian’s growling vocals do suffer at times, but the guitar sound is the most powerful I’ve heard since Slaughter’s Strappado album. If you never buy another record after this one, it’s one helluva way to go I can tell you!

Mike Exley

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 24 (1987)

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