Napalm Death - Utilitarian (Century Media)

Witness the birth of a classic...
Release Date: 
27 Feb 2012 - 12:30am

I remember when Napalm Death first hit the scene, way back when I was a young metaller. There was none of this grind-core business back then and Napalm Death were considered death metal. Whatever you want to call them, it cannot be denied that they are SIMPLY FUCKING AWESOME.

Utilitarian sees Napalm Death with the current line-up of Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway on vocals, Mitch Harris on guitars, Shane Embury on bass and Danny Herrera on skins and they’ve created a monster-piece of an album. The opener Circumspect is a slow, heavy beast and throws the listener off with industrial hints and freakish technology. But then Errors In The Signal drops and we’re back in familiar Napalm Death territory; absolutely mental musical abandonment executed with almost military precision.  But it’s not all insanely fast guitars; Everyday Pox has some chaotic slow sections lovingly tormented by John Zorn’s freakish sax playing; Mr Bungle goes on a grind-core bender.

The only way to play this is album is on eleven.And then some more.  It will scare the neighbours and it may well scare you. Tracks such as Protection Racket and The Wolf I Feed are relentless, violent pieces that alternate between waves of speeding riffs and sections of doom laden slowness. The howling vocals from Greenway are balanced by clean vocals, all set to an epic sheet of noise provided by the rest of the band. I’ve been playing this album for the last couple of weeks and each time I put it on the stereo, I remember how much I love this band.

There are 16 tracks on Utilitarian, all under four minutes long, and each track stands out on its own; each one perfectly shaped to stab you in the ear with a knitting needle. The guitars of Harris are perfectly matched with Embury’s bass (which isn’t hidden way down in the mix) and these are again balanced with Herrera’s absolutely spastic drumming. A gold star goes to producer Russ Russell for his genius input.

Fall On Their Swords
has a break that’s almost orchestral, dropping back to a battery of instruments that just made me laugh with delight, while Collision Course is just so old skool that I had a massive flashback to the late eighties; a sweaty, thrashing young Albert, freaking out in the pit - that was before the ‘accident’ that ended with me being institutionalised. But that’s another story altogether...

Tracks like Think Tank Trials and Blank Look About Face offer the listener plenty of food for thought (if that’s your cup of tea) without being preachy or whiney. ‘Life? Just fucking do it’ say Greenway and co

There are masses of tracks that I haven’t written about (Analysis Paralysis, Leper Colony, A Gag Reflex to name just a couple); get the album and discover them for yourself - suffice to say that this album is, in my mind, already a classic. None of these geezers are getting any younger but the energy and ferociousness that they’ve captured here would put many of these young whippersnapper bands to shame.

Get Utilitarian and get involved with the gorgeousness that is Napalm Death.