CD REVIEW Napalm Death

Band: Napalm Death
Title: Utilitarian
Label: Century Media
Distribution: EMI – Century Media Records
Release date: February 27th 2012
Review: CD

No use to present you this band’s history, including an enormous discography. No use to tell how influential this act is for the worldwide Extreme metal scene. Two-and-a-half decade (!) of existence, many hands full of recordings / releases, and members with a profane status acting in a Cult formation, Napalm Death are TOP.
Utilitarian, forty five minutes [*], sixteen titles [*], continuing where Time Waits For No Slave ended. Produced by Russ Russell (result: massive, colossal, monolithic, gargantuan sound, of course), still under the constellation Greenway - Harris - Herrera - Embury.
([*] goes for this version; there are different editions with different bonus tracks – cf. vinyl edition, Japanese version, etc.)
Just like Time Waits …, Utilitarian sounds more dense, oppressive and obscure than before. Still extreme, heavy-as-f*ck, taking no prisoners, and with an execution far beyond average. Forceful and uncompromising. Frantic, chaotic, merciless. Yet again, this album isn’t just a Time Waits … Part II, yet a hybrid of new and earlier characteristics. More than once, I cannot ignore modest details of From Enslavement To Obliteration and Harmony Corruption. And since I am a fan as from the earliest years…
And in the vein of the last recording(s), Utilitarian is pretty varied, I mean that each individual track is a creation on its own - an elaboration only possible to perform so intensively and convictive by experience and craftsmanship.
Don’t expect an album that reinvents the scene. Don’t expect anything else but innovation. Why should it. Yet prepare for modest elements of reinvention and innovation though. Interesting fact: the song Everyday Pox comes with guest saxophone by no-one else but Mister John Zorn, long-time friend of the band and as troubled as the Napalm Deathsters… Or harmonious choirs [*]… Or an even strongly pounding rhythm section… Or a certain return to the psycho-grinding elements from the glorious past…
([*] the vocal performances are the most varied to date for sure, with different approaches and timbres, a symbiosis of the musical totality: Hardcore, Punk, Grindcore, Death Metal, Mosh and more blablabla)
Lyrics: still socio-critical. Hurray, it’s their trade mark, I’m glad this band does not prostitute on hollow trends and hypes.
Napalm Death, don’t hesitate, these oldies still rule!


Ivan Tibos.