Napalm Death have been a band for a little over 30 years and they show no signs of slowing down on their most recent album. For those keeping score, Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism is their sixteenth album, coming five years after the critically acclaimed, Apex Predator – Easy Meat. In addition, they haven’t lost a step, managing to stay just as vital today as they have been on past albums. They’re one “legacy” band, that doesn’t act like one, in that they keep putting out challenging and creative records, that add to their legacy instead of sully it. You can’t say that about too many bands who have been at it as long as they have been at it.


Well, Napalm Death never make the same album twice, despite what some fans might want. While staying true to their grind roots, they constantly experiment with new sounds on each album adding layers to their core. It’s still “extreme” or whatever you want to call it, but they push their music into other forms of extremity, than just grind and death metal, and always with overwhelmingly positive results.

For example, on Throes, you get the grind and death metal you expect, but you also get punk rock, electronic noise, heavy post punk, and doom laden industrial, all filtered through their extreme lens.

Does it work?

Yes. Spectactularly.

The album opens with the one-two punch of “Fuck The Factoid” and “Backlash Just Because”, which are ripping, punk-influenced, burners. From there, you get death metal with “Contagion”, along with “Joie De Ne Pas Vivre” which is heavy post-punk, shot through with bursts of electronic noise. They go straight-up post-punk, on “Amoral”, which sounds like Killing Joke at their heaviest. There is also a catchy, atmospheric tune in “Invigorating Clutch”, which belies a more alternative-indie side, yet no less heavy, vibe. They finish up the album with “A Bellyful Of Salt And Spleen”, which is slow, low, heavy and punishing, referencing such bands as Swans and Godflesh, while maintaining its originality.

In addition, they are still fighting the good fight when it comes to the issues of the day. This remains a constant. The theme of this album is the other and how we treat the other, and how we should treat the other better than we have been. One only has to look at the way we’re treating immigrants, the Black Lives Matter movement, along with the battles for transgender rights, among many of the issues of the day, to see that we’re in a state of change right now. In that regard, the band stays true to their roots, staying politically astute and aware.

If you think about it, we’re lucky to have bands like Napalm Death that never lose their creative fire. If you think about it, this flame doesn’t always burn so bright, in other bands of their ilk or stature. They’re always pushing forward, nostalgia be damned. That is something to be celebrated. On Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism, that creative fire still burns white hot, making it another feather in the cap for this legendary band. This is easily one of the best heavy records of the year.

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