Apex Predator – Easy Meat
(Century Media Records)
This is either the easiest review or the hardest one. Napalm Death are titans. These innovators (creators?) of grindcore have continued to inject hardcore, punk, and metal into their thirty years of cultivating abrasive, extreme music. While a simple rock fan could not arguably distinguish any Napalm Death albums from each other, metal fans see them growing stronger since The Code is Red (2005); some would even argue since 2000’s Enemy of the Music Business. No doubt that the prior trio of Smear Campaign(2006), Time Waits For No Slave(2009), and Utilitarian(2012) have seen Napalm Death increase their vicious assault of the highest quality and sickest time changes and heaviest riffs and punishing drums.
2015 brings us Apex Predator – Easy Meat. Napalm Death continue to bring short bursts of caustic riffs that provide a foundation for their social and political rebellion. There is a reason why the simple rock fan won’t like this; because this is meant for the few, the outcast. Sure all metal is, but instead of horror, gore, gothic, Pagan or Satanic rejection of mainstream society, Napalm Death point out the flaws in the way governments and nations are exploiting the working and lower classes. ND have always focused on war, famine, pollution, vivisection, religion and other by products of industrialism and imperialism. Coming from Birmingham, England, they saw the waste and dilapidated remnants of cities that industry forgot.
Napalm Death continues attacking the obscene greed of corporations and their insane drive to produce for the bloated consumer; and always at the expanse of the workers. The title track was spawned by the atrocious occurrence in Bangledash in 2013, when the Savar building collapsed. 2515 people were injured and 1129 people died. Not only is the building of extra floors without permits on a cracked damaged building reprehensible, but the Indian government and the absence of the disaster on the news is the real story. Make money. Some lives are disposable.
This album was made with various tech pedals and other objects (hammers, sinks, etc) smashed and clanged. These aspects bring a level of chaos to the feel of the songs. The fact that they recorded this album in five separate sessions also adds to the variety embedded in this intense music and its salient immediacy.
The hard part or easy part of this review is that while it is different from the past few records, it is equally the same Napalm Death. You know what to expect while being pleasantly surprised. They play grind core but these last few albums have longer songs with thick death metal riffs and hardcore leanings. Not that any of these elements should be surprising – Discharge, The Exploited, Minor Threat, Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost were all noted influences. Scum,From Enslavement to Obliteration and Harmony Corruption all invoke these past trail blazers, so why shouldn’t Apex? Napalm Death continue to challenge conventions while putting out important commentary on this twisted world.
Noted Tracks: “Beyond the Pale”, “Cesspits”, “Dear Slum Landlord”, “Heirarchies”, “How the Years Condemn” (Hutch)