Napalm Death - Utilitarian
Any Napalm fans out there? Here's my review which I posted to my blog. I am interested in any fellow ND fans and their take on it.
Been loving Napalm for a damn long time now. By rights I shouldn't even really like them but somehow the combination of death metal, hardcore and punk works extremely well for me creating an abrasive yet catchy metallic whole. So I have been looking forward to Utilitarian for a good while having watched youtube previews with Barney talking about the songs and explaining the themes and how they were written.
Well finally it's out there for us metal nutters to digest and spit out the scraps!
Well let me tell you the kings of grindcore are back again and this time they are super fucking angry! As if they are ever happy but this time Barney is completely seething and the band is on shit hot form.
Circumspect - Quite an interesting atmospheric instrumental opener.
Errors in the signals - Raging opener with a cool stop start groove before the blastfest takes over. A typical ND tune. Super fast and harsh chorus with alternate shout from Barney and then Mitch. Catchy groovy and wicked. This is why ND fucking rules all!
Everyday Pox - Quite a dreamy start before mucho blasts take over with crazy sax wails to give it an odd feel. The drum is fucking mental when it's playing the fast parts. Quite epic semi industrial clean vox give it an otherworldly feel. Song ends with fat riffs and more crazy sax. An interesting song and very brutal but not my fave.
Protection Racket - Crescendo guitar and drum attack before a typical ND grove thunders out and Barney roars away. The song blasts away continuously before the first break riff happens half way through to allow the mosh sections to take over. The final half of the song is too fucking good with glorious little riffs in the background making catchy little melodies. One of the best.
The Wolf I Feed - One of the most immediate songs on the whole album. Sounds like a more death metal version of Fear Factory with thunderous hardcore riffs with harsh yet understandable vocals before Barney's roar takes over. The chorus is completely clean sung and brilliant to be honest and I'm not sure who did it but it sounds close to Burton from FF. The thundering mid paced riffs are as catchy as a bad rash on this tune and I love the way the vocals are fitted around these amazing riffs. Great stuff!
Quarantined - The most technical song on the album and perhaps my fave. The opening riff will have air guitar enthusiasts going crazy. That main riff gives way to a typical Napalm hardcore riff before the chorus sees Barney screaming the title repeatedly in a catchy way with an atmospheric part in the background. However the song is so great cause of the amazing way the riffs are fast and furious and meld into one another like a rolling battering ram. The riff at 2.08 is something else!
Fall on their swords - A pounding and heavy song which reminds me of one of my fave songs from their past Reflect on Conflict. This is a groove based song with an absolutely monstrous riff that will burst past brick walls like there's nothing there. They never go into a blast section in this tune which is rather cool but instead use an atmospheric chant like vocal in the middle section which sounds cool as hell. Finally the song ends on a blast section which is melded together fantastically well with the chanting.
Collision Course - A simple catchy fast riff starts things off and soon you're head is soon moving before it settles down into a rolling hardcore riff with a really catchy refrain "...set on collision course!" roar from Barney. A simple tune but very catchy, blasty and groovy. This song reminds me a little bit of Greed Killing from Diatribes but a little more brutal.
Orders of Magnitude - Mid paced hardcore riff which settles down to a staccato mid point and then back to the hardcore groove. Mix of vocals between Mitch and Barney as the song picks of pace into the chorus which is full on blasted and blackened almost. The feel of the song is dark and ferocious and it's one of the most crushing songs which at 1.50 goes into one of the best break riffs on the whole albums which the moshers will go nuts too. Later a more technical riff centres into view and it's very brilliant and awesome I must say. the song only gets better as it goes along. More catchy and more brutal.
Think Tank Trials - Opens with a huge blast fest and Barney roaring "Think tank trials!" in rapid fire fashion before the song settles somewhat to a catchy very typical ND riff. At 58 seconds one of the most amazing riffs on the whole album comes into view before the grind blast sections return though it's not the last we've seen of that riff. It comes back to please me again a bit later. The song is one relentless battering from beginning to end and perhaps the most brutal song on the album.
Blank Look About Face. - Opens with Barney roaring the title as if he's screaming at soldiers "1 2 3 4!" to a militaristic marching beat before the classic heavy riff thunders out and it's a really catchy groove. The militaristic marching feel returns often in this song which features super heavy crunching riffs. Amazing tune indeed and gets better with the grooves taking over the song. Great use of industrial chant vocals again. A few times they do that on this album and it sounds wicked every time. One of the catchiest mid paced songs with a great atmosphere.
Leper Colony - Atmospheric start before the opening riff thunders out and then goes into a blast riff. Soon enough the industrial like chant vocals make a further appearance before barney goes into overdrive on the roars. At 1.34 we go into one of those typical ND break riffs where things get super groovy and catchy before the more typical ND blast section propel the song further. Barney does a great "aoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!" in this song behind one of the riffs that makes you want to fuck shit up badly. I love the chant vocals in this tune, they sound epic!
Nom De Guerre - The shortest song on the album at 1.05 and a pure blast fest but still in that 1 minute they pack so much goodness in. Fucking awesome!
Analysis Paralysis - A catchy mid to fast paced riff and a typical Barney roar and soon you can't help but nag your head. The first change happens and as usual it's killer flows seamlessly until the chorus is roared by Barney. The groove in this tune at 1.03 is completely bad ass and leaves you wanting bounce off walls. So catchy and devastating. Just when you think there will be some kind of let up in quality there's nowhere near any such thing. The song ends with more unearthly blasts and punky grooves and is just as crushing as any other song heard so far.
Opposites repellent - Another brutal and crushing opening salvo that thunders headlong into a blast riff. That opening riff is mental catchy and the grind blast section is perfectly well balanced. The boys are masters of transitions between a blast, a catchy break riff and a punky groove. A short tune but still catchy as hell.
A Gag Reflex - Opens with a well placed groovy fast riff and Barney does what only Barney can do. Roar like there's no tomorrow! The song is very catchy and has a gorgeous break riff. This song somehow reminds me of some classic Morbid Angel Florida death metal for a short while although the abiding feel is of the band themselves with blasts and grooves mixed so well. One of the best riffs behind a chorus can be heard at 2.00 when it sounds very cool and Morbid Angelish. At 2.45 we go into a massive heavy break riff perhaps the slowest, best and sickest on the album. Very much reminds of the glorious break riff in the Silence is Deafening from a few albums back.
Everything In Mono - The first bonus track opens with Shane's grinding dirty bass rumbles which soon is joined by a hardcore punk riff. Mitch's rasping harsh vocals join Barney on this song to great effect. The song is very punky but towards the end and middle goes full on death metal. Great use of those chant vocals in this tune once again. The riff at 2.00 is a head crusher make no mistake and keeps crushing you until the end of the song is up.
Aim Without an Aim - The second bonus track opens with a vicious speedy riff which settles into a stabbing tight stacatto riff and Barney and Mitch roaring and screaming in unison respectively. The song has great groove at 2.00 minute mark and is also interspersed with slight atmospheric keyboard touches. Not the best song but an ok song as a bonus.
Overall this is one hell of a devastating mix of hardcore, punk and death metal precision. I like the fact that at times they mixed in some of the mid period ND that I love so much into the mix to allow songs to flow better and make the blasts that much more enjoyable when they are juxtaposed with those fat head banging grooves. If you like ND then it doesn't get any better than this folks and if you don't then what can I say but your loss!