Apex Predator - Easy Meat
The apex predator of grind returns
In the dictionary, under the word grindcore there is simply a picture of Napalm Death. Well, maybe not really, but there should be. They defined the genre. Well over thirty years on, they continue to redefine the genre. They truly are leaders, not followers. No other band represents the genre better than this long standing peerless act. As someone who has followed Napalm Death since the Harmony Corruption days, there are a few words that come to mind to describe the band who originated in Birmingham, England. Words such as consistent, relentless, pioneering, and untouchable are at the forefront of a long list of adjectives to describe Napalm Death. The band has enjoyed an increasing surge in popularity since the release of 2005’s The Code Is Red ... Long Live the Code, although some will argue - this reviewer included - that it began with 2000’s return to grinding form Enemy of the Music Business. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear at this point that the band is stronger than they’ve ever been.
There are some bands that you just know what to expect when a new album drops in your in tray. Somehow though, as much as I think I know what to expect from Napalm Death, they still manage to blow my expectations out of the water with each new release. Apex Predator - Easy Meat is no different. There’s no shortage of blast beats and controlled chaos that - from the outside looking in - seems as though it’s a train wreck that’s about to happen. But it’s the stripped back, effects laden title track that kicks things off in a manner that draws some parallels with “Evolved as One” (from 1988’s From Enslavement to Obliteration). From Barney’s brooding, drone-like vocals over slowly building drums though to a sonic rhythmic assault that culminates with unhinged, trademark growls from the frontman “Apex Predator - Easy Meat” is an unsettling intro that in no way prepares you for the sonic blast that is about to be unleashed.
Building on the last couple of Napalm albums, Apex Predator - Easy Meat continues the band’s incredible ability to harness pure sonic madness. From the off the hook intensity of “Smash a Single Digit” to the infectious “How the Years Condemn” through to the restrained, dense “Dear Slum Landlord...”, Napalm Death deliver yet another lesson in controlled musical anarchy. It wouldn’t be a Napalm album if the lyrical content wasn’t at odds to the ferocious musical vehicle that carries it. True to form since the band’s first studio effort, once again lyrically Napalm Death delivers a brutal truth commentary of the world around us. Dealing with corporate greed (which begets slavery to varying degrees) and its flow on effect to humanity, the band’s lyrics are an eye opening, humanistic view of the world. The irony of Greenway’s gruff yet positive voice against the aggressive musical backdrop the band creates once again is simply stunning.
What surprises me at this point in Napalm’s lengthy career is that they are still able to not only do what they do, but also manage to keep it fresh and interesting as well. Fifteen albums in with no signs of letting up, I cannot think of a more apt title for a Napalm Death album at this point in their career. Apex Predator - Easy Meat is a relentless, uncompromising slab of metal and a definitive statement at this point in the band’s career. Without doubt, Napalm Death are leaders, not followers. They are truly the apex predator of grindcore.
Century Media Records/EMI Music Australia
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