Napalm Death – Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs (Century Media)

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Benjamin Franklin once said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Well Mr Franklin, I’m here to add a third life certainty to that list. Napalm Death. Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs a compilation of rarities from 2004 – 2016, is the latest chapter in a career that can be traced back to 1981. They’ve been reliably churning out quality grindcore for the best part of four decades now, ok the mid 90’s went a bit Machine Head, but I digress, you can be damn sure that this one is going to be no different. Thirty one tracks, over two discs of uncompromising brutality.

Disc one serves to showcase the Brum boys at their aggressive best. Shane Embury, the king of the low end, has never sounded so good and quite how Barney Greenway is still able to pull those vocals off, without defecating is still one of life’s mysteries. So when disc two kicks off with a beautiful piece of piano work, there is an air of concern, but the second part of the opening track soon puts that straight. Classic grindcore. A genre they arguably invented. They only let up, ever so slightly for the brooding, Morbid Angel like Omnipresent Knife In Your Back. Compilations are usually fodder for completists, but this is a very different beast. Ignore this and you are ignoring some absolute grind gold. As ever, they pay respects to their influences and this time around, Despair and Sacrilege, amongst others, get the cover treatment as well as a cover of early 80’s art rock pioneers Cardiacs To Go Off And Things, but it’s soon back to business. Like walking into a rehearsal studio with Agnostic Front circa 1982 jamming in one room and Nails in another, Napalm Death deliver Napalm Death once more. Would you have it any other way? Chris Andrews

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