Here we are again with another Napalm Death record to consume and digest. Having recently covered their newest release "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" I continued, based on a recommendation from a friend, with another record from their 90s era of experimentation with incorporating elements of Groove Metal and Hardcore into their sound. Just two years after "Diatribes" I was expecting a dose of groovin grinds, slamming blast beats and head banging hooks, which the opening track "The Infiltrator" delivered like a hit to a fiend. Excited for the rest of the record, I found the mood and pace to shift direction, and within a few tracks and this album had a harder substance to divulge and after several listens I've grown fond of this record, which although feeling similar to Diatribes, its quite a different beast.
By the third track "Next Of Kin To Chaos" the tempo is calming and a slow grinding tremolo picked riff guides the song too discordant notation and progressive leads that focus on developing a mood and builds up an intense atmosphere thats not orchestrated by dizzying blast beats, or pummeling aggression. From this point forward Naplam feel co-ordinated and expressive through guitar riffs that contain tempered grooves and chugs, instead of blunt force brutality. Theres a subtle Hardcore vibe at work in the guitar rhythms that resonate tightly with themselves as the drums keep pace. This feels especially emphasized on "Devouring Depraved" as the orcherstrating drums build up suspense by crashing down on the toms with tribal instinct, for a subtle, powerful and chugging riff to slam in with the songs climax.
As the record plays out the group play through a variety of ideas that let the guitar speak for itself, aswell as bring in some "clean-ish" vocals in places. "Incendiary Incoming" is a track worthy of mention that sees Napalm step to a southern vibe with slick pinch harmonics and a bendy, shuffling groove rhythm guitar reminiscent of Dimebag. The tighter guitar and composed attitude of this record makes for one that offers more than "all out heavy". The mood and vibe of each track becomes bigger than its peak or "break out" moment, and an array of interesting compositions emerge in the quieter moments, many with a subtle Hardcore tinge to them. A strong album that does not show its colours without several listens through.
Favorite Tracks: The Infiltrator, Next Of Kin To Chaos, Cleanse Impure, Devouring Depraved, Incendiary Incoming, Thrown Down A Rope