It is a question often asked – but can Napalm Death really do anything wrong? The answer is, of course, that they could – but they really don’t. This new album, unbelievably their sixteenth, sees the Godfathers of Grind pushing their boundaries unquestionably further than they have done before – but the results are purely a solid example of how a band can mature, grow up, stop running around drunk and naked yet can sound utterly current and eternally in touch.
Yes, there are some staple Napalm tracks here as Barney barks his way through the sublime opener ‘Fuck the Factoid’ and the aggressive shovel-beater ‘The Curse of Being in Thrall’. However, they dare to tread outside the limits once again in the gritty, industrial doom stomp of ‘Joie De Ne Pas Vivre’, the pseudo-classic rock-gilted edges of ‘Amoral’ and the utter shake-up that is the avant-garde spanner in the grindworks, ‘A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen’.
The subject matter is the same and the political overtones have never been more vivid – but there is depth and thought here that demonstrate the genuine intelligence and wit of this outfit. Napalm Death know that grindcore is a genre that has slipped somewhat into overblown ridicule – but they were there at the start and they never intended it to be that way. This new record is an overwhelming testament to that – if you don’t take it seriously you can fuck off, you factoid.
Napalm Death – ‘Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism’ is out now on Century Media Records.