Napalm Death

Utilitarian

Written by: PP on 07/06/2012 06:19:22

No other band considers their listeners as targets for heavy-duty bombardment in the same way as British grindcore legends Napalm Death, whose fifteenth album "Utilitarian" is once again a textbook how-to guide for extreme metal, the benchmark against which all other bands in the genre measure up against. If you happen to be in one of those bands, be very, very frightened, because Napalm Death is about to make your life miserable in more ways than you can imagine.

One word: saxophone.

That's right motherfuckers. Saxophone on a grindcore album. Napalm Death aren't kidding around on this one. Not only does "Utilitarian" put all deathcore bands claiming to be 'brutal' to shame by rumbling forward like a distorted and chaotic car crash in a tumble dryer, it contains all kinds of reckless abandon and wildly experimental, mind-boggling extreme metal that a hefty warning is in order before listening to this album: DO NOT LISTEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WITHOUT A HELMET AND OTHER PROTECTIVE WEAR.

But let's get back to the inclusion of the saxophone. On a grindcore album nonetheless. The idea is absurd on paper, and even more so on record. But remember how groundbreaking their debut album "Scum" was in 1987? Did that sound absurd on paper? Absolutely. And this is Napalm Death breaking new ground again - they master the instrument perfectly on "Everyday Pox". I didn't even know it was possible to get that kind of soundnoise out of a saxophone. Admittedly, it sounds like cat torture to the untrained ear, but it fits seamlessly with the brutal freight-train like soundscape that Napalm Death once again have pulled off on this album.

Now I'm not saying "Utilitarian" is like "Scum", neither a pioneering release nor as great of a grindcore album. But it is nonetheless important to note that even after 25 years as a band and after fourteen full length records in a genre that most consider pure noise and/or everyone playing their instruments as fast as possible to create chaos, Napalm Death continues to innovate and push the boundaries of the genre forward. Never one to tie themselves down to the tight definition of grindcore, they've always experimented in all corners of the style, and this album is no exception.

By now I'm sure you get the point, but there's more to come after. "The Wolf I Feed" has (almost) a clean vocal chorus that draws a parallel to The Dillinger Escape Plan, and might just be the most accessible Napalm Death song I remember hearing to date. It's the only song of its kind on the record, though, so die-hard fans don't need to worry. This is just Napalm Death flexing their songwriting muscle to make their brand of extreme metal breathe new life. In the end, the rest of the album still sounds like you've been skullfucked by a missile for the 45 minutes that it lasts. And as absurd as THAT sounds on paper, it feels oddly awesome on "Utilitarian".

Download: The Wolf I Feed, Quarantined, Analysis Paralysis, Everyday Pox
For the fans of: Nasum, Discharge, foundations of extreme metal
Listen: Facebook

Release date 28.02.2012
Century Media

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