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Napalm Death's Apex Predator - Easy Meat


by Matt Hensch

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I don't think a new Napalm Death album will lead to increased seismic activity due to a sudden barrage of jaws hitting the floor. The grindcore/death metal classics have come and gone, but Napalm Death at least has proven itself capable of retching up some fine records late in the game-"Smear Campaign" and "The Code Is Red... Long Live the Code," especially, come to mind. "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" pulls a George W. Bush and stays the course on Napalm Death's musical Iraq, so to speak. Foreign anomalies drifting from the raucous mass of grindcore are, as expected, nearly nonexistent, though "Apex Predator - Easy Meat," while more limited than the average latter-day Napalm Death album, still does what it does quite well.

Out of the many admirable traits still lingering in the heart of UK's grindcore overlords, the passion in these tracks stands out the most. The technical proficiency and breakneck paces of the band still work to keep the blood pumping, and Barney, a top-tier vocalist with some of the most unique barks ever put down on tape, sounds excellent as always. Most of "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" falls directly under the grindcore blanket Napalm Death spent the last thirty-five years weaving with blast beats and fury. Some of these songs are surprisingly enjoyable, namely the early burst of the catchy "Smash a Single Digit" and the complex sequences of "Metaphorically Screw You." Familiar territory, but far from redundant, even for a band that has an ungodly amount of unique cuts penned at this point. Traditional Napalm Death fare has yet to expire from spoilage.

Some of these songs, however, naturally fall flat from the retracing act. Bits and pieces of the record's second half especially go in one ear and out the other without making too much of an impression. This, again, is due to having such an extensive catalog in the grindcore niche; they've done some of this stuff before. Not horrible tunes, but certainly limited. I find myself enjoying the odd ones here, specifically the eerie, crawling riffs of "Dear Slum Landlord," a track similar to "Morale" and other slow ones. "Hierarchies" is another keeper, probing a mid-paced route and finished off by a rare guitar solo and a chant-like chorus. "Adversarial / Copulating Snakes" ends the album in monstrous fashion, as the screamed vocals and twisting riffs make it a solid way to shut the whole thing down.

The chant-laden industrial number kicking off "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" works as a nice introduction, although I would have enjoyed hearing this scheme used to improve the lesser tracks to help build them up a bit. Not too much to gripe about when it comes down to the meat and potatoes of "Apex Predator - Easy Meat," as the Napalm Death enterprise once more proves itself satisfactory. The songs branching out from the typical Napalm Death equation are more memorable and of higher quality than the usual grindcore explosion, but the band is so comfortable and sharp in their natural setting that they can still walk away with a winner on their hands, despite the occasional lemon.

Napalm Death's Apex Predator - Easy Meat
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