Napalm Death - Words from the Exit Wound
Earache Records
Brutal Death/Grind
15 songs (52'15")
Release year: 1998
Napalm Death, Earache Records
Reviewed by Adam
Archive review
It seems that every band remaining in existence long enough goes through some sort of slump. They may go through a string of albums that just aren’t up to the standards that they set with their past work and that their fans expect. Arguably, the late 90’s was this period for Napalm Death. The trio of full-length albums released in this period (Diatribes, Inside the Torn Apart, and Words from the Exit Wound) are generally considered to comprise the bottom of the Napalm Death barrel by most fans, myself included. This might have something to do with the infighting and tense label relations the band was going through at the time, which would end in a less than acrimonious split with Earache Records. Though I still consider Words from the Exit Wound to be the best of the three late 90’s albums, it still pales in comparison to much of the output emanating both before and after its release.

I know I just finished a sentence where I degraded the quality of this album, but it certainly has its moments. In fact, the opening track, The Infiltraitor, is my favorite offering from the brutal death/grind period this album was housed in. Pintado and Harris are brilliant here (though Embury gets the writing credit), mixing death metal groove (at times almost Bolt Thrower-esque) with blistering speed to match the ever-intense vocals of Barney Greenway. The problem for me has always been what follows. Repression Out of Uniform is just not a very engaging track and sets a bad tone for the rest of the album, which for the most part kind of drifts by without any real strong moments. That’s not to say its bad, far from it, but I expect to be floored by Napalm Death, and save for a few songs, Words from the Exit Wound does not have this effect on me. Actually, the only other songs that stand out follow each other. Cleanse Impure is pure grind, purveyed with the aggression and precision which Napalm Death perform better than anyone; though it is hampered a bit by some suspect vocals towards the end. Devouring Depraved is slower and infused with much more groove, but it still feels impossibly heavy at times, especially with Danny Herrera’s outstanding drum pounding.

As I said before, the rest is not bad (not counting the live tracks tacked on at the end), but it just has an air of being uninspired, for reasons that aren’t necessarily tangible. Its almost as if Napalm Death had become complacent as a band with their death metal/grind sound at the time and needed a break. This album would also thankfully mark the swan song of the revised logo, which was quite boring if you ask me. If you’re just getting into Napalm Death, Words from the Exit Wound is not the album I would recommend, and that goes for the other late 90’s albums as well. That said, more experienced fans will find enough to like here, even if it is far from their best.
Killing Songs :
The Infiltraitor, Cleanse Impure, Devouring Depraved
Adam quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Napalm Death that we have reviewed:
Napalm Death - Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
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
To see all 18 reviews click here
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