Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat
Century Media
Grindcore
14 songs (39:57)
Release year: 2015
Napalm Death, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

There's something special about Napalm Death, something that quickens the pulse at the mere name. Even though the band are now, at thirty-four years of existence, older than me. Even though heavier, nastier bands exist, even though I've grown to disagree with their left-wing politics, Napalm Death retain the talent that makes their intensity and passion rocket into your ears. Apex Predator – Easy Meat is, unbelievably, the band's fifteenth album, and it will come as no surprise to the band's fans that it's a beyond solid slice of intense, powerful grind. It's a step onwards from their current sound, continuing Napalm Death's trick of never repeating themselves and experimenting with their formula without even coming close to being formulaic.

After all, how many other three-decade-plus bands are this interesting? The Swans-like opening title track is a callback to the spoken word of the likes of Multinational Corporations, featuring Barney's deep growl and unnerving screech atop industrial percussion, and sets you up for the powerful blasts of Smash a Single Digit (at just under one and a half minutes the shortest track on the album) and Metaphorically Screw You, near blackened at moments. The discordant riffs and bilious vocals that fans love are present and correct, as is the frenzied blasting of Danny Herrera, all forming a powerful racket smothered somewhat by the production, but not enough to detract from the music's blunt power. Shane Embury's bass is easily audible, for example, and gets its own little highlight on the squealing, noise-rocking How the Years Condemn.

No, there's nothing too out of the norm in terms of content, but there are enough steps sideways to make Apex Predator – Easy Meat another gem in an increasingly solid discography and definitely a solid follow-up to Utilitarian, if a less experimental album overall. There's certainly no arguing with the blunt brutality of it all (even mid-album potential filler cuts like Stubborn Stains and Cesspits are powerful and vital) but the dips into experimentation with Dear Slum Landlord's slow dirge and Barney's downright weird distorted clean singing is a very effective change of pace. Beyond the Pale features some of those terrifically creepy high-pitched screeches of Mitch Harris, and Hierarchies gets spoken word sections and a guitar solo (the only one on the album!) from guest John Cooke of Corrupt Moral Altar.

I have to praise the artwork, too, that container of mashed brain tissue a nice step away from the 80s-style anarcho-punk collages of previous albums. Napalm Death may have roots going back over thirty decades, but are still very much a band of here and now, the Apex Predator of the grind scene. Long may their racket continue.

Killing Songs :
Smash a Single Digit, How the Years Condemn, Dear Slum Landlord, Cesspits, Beyond The Pale, Hierarchies
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Napalm Death that we have reviewed:
Napalm Death - Utilitarian reviewed by Charles and quoted 95 / 100
Napalm Death - Inside the Torn Apart reviewed by Adam and quoted 71 / 100
Napalm Death - Diatribes reviewed by Goat and quoted 58 / 100
Napalm Death - Words from the Exit Wound reviewed by Adam and quoted 74 / 100
Napalm Death - Utopia Banished reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
To see all 17 reviews click here
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