Napalm Death apex predator easy meat 01Napalm Death, we meet again. For their last decade or so, these guys have been a model of uneventful consistency. Their notorious lineup changes seem to be a thing of the past (or perhaps not), and their last 4-5 albums have been damn solid. This is certainly a good thing for longtime Napalm fans, but it makes reviewing them increasingly redundant. I gently mocked this in my review of their last album, Utilitarian, and I’m hoping that their new one, Apex Predator-Easy Meat gives me a little more to work with.

This time, the album begins with a serious detour from the usual Napalm style. “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” is a mostly-acapella performance by vocalist Barney Greenway, eventually adding tribal-sounding drums and group chants to build tension to a fever pitch. No blastbeats, no guitars. This is easily one of the strangest tracks in ND‘s lengthy history, and as an opening track it is both ballsy and devastatingly effective.

Once the task of defying my expectations is over, the band gets down to business with a 96-second burst of spastic fury called “Smash a Single Digit.” They up the ante with “Metaphorically Screw You,” which sports a ridiculous descending riff and a downright animalistic delivery from Greenway. Have I mentioned that these guys have some of the best song titles in the business? ‘Cause they do.

The key to Napalm Death‘s current renaissance is the delicate balance of experimentation and consistency. 28 years in, they obviously know what’s expected of them. But they also know that the occasional diversion or two is not only tolerated, but welcome. Nowadays, these diversions usually involve incorporation of non-metal influences and/or a revisiting of ND‘s much-maligned ’90s output. It comes as no surprise to learn that these guys listen to Killing Joke and Swans, and you can hear the influences on “Hierarchies” and “Dear Slum Landlord” respectively. Meanwhile, “Timeless Flogging” rocks a groove riff that would not have been out of place on Diatribes, to devastating effect.

Napalm Death apex predator easy meat 02

Of course, those moments are surrounded by plenty of furious grinding death metal, since that’s probably what you’re here for. “Stubborn Stains” contains one of the most disgusting-sounding ND riffs in recent memory. “One-Eyed” is a late-album shitkicker, delivering the speed and fury that Napalm is known and feared for. And closer “Adversarial – Copulating Snakes” bursts forth with D-beat hardcore, before transitioning into a slow-motion Celtic Frost homage to end the record.

Given the band’s dense back catalog, there’s really no way to avoid that feeling of “oh, it’s another Napalm Death record.” However, that should not detract at all from the fact that it’s another high-quality offering. If you’ve heard any of their records since The Code Is Red, then you pretty much know what’s up. Napalm Death may rarely surprise, but they also don’t disappoint.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Century Media
Websites: NapalmDeathOfficial | Facebook.com/NapalmDeath
Release Dates: EU: 2015.01.26 | NA: 01.27.2015

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  • Grymm

    I’ll have to start listening to Napalm again.

    This sounds so promising.

    • Our Fortress Is Burning

      It’s a good idea. I never regret listening to Napalm personally.

    • Doomdeathrosh

      And you know you can’t miss that AN shirt!!

  • Kryopsis

    Nobody beats their meat!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Well written sir. As a long time fan of the band, I will most definitely check this out…Though its probably the first time Ive heard ‘delicate’ as an adjective in a Napalm review :)

    • Well, his name is Fisting after all.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Well, if diatribes is being referenced in a 2015 review..I think we should all be bending over…

        • I like Diatribes and *coughs* the two albums that followed it, even if Enemy of the Music Business nuked that trio from fucking orbit.

  • manimal

    I want to listen to this because at times, the drums sound like drums, played by a drummer.

    Also, because I love their touching minimalist arrangements.

  • Angel R. Suarez

    I preordered the shit out of this.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      You’ve been fisted

      • Angel R. Suarez

        What’s new?

  • Wilhelm

    After listening to that song, I need to kick the piss out of something.

  • Our Fortress Is Burning

    A new Napalm Death album. Yes!

    Thanks Mr. Fisting (now that’s a phrase I never thought I’d say, due to the obvious sexual connotation) ;)

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      Oh, you’re very welcome!

  • Mark Z

    I really liked this album. Up there with Utilitarian for me, one of my favorites of their newer output. These guys have a knack for maintaining their style without sounding tired or redundant. Definitely an early contender for my end-of-year list.

  • Eryops

    Is the “notorious lineup changes” an inside joke? Not that I’m much of a fan, but I checked their wikipedia page expecting White Wizzard epicness, but they seem pretty solid from the early 90s.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      Their lineup’s been stable since 2004, but during the late ’80s/early ’90s they were hilariously unstable. Like I said, “a thing of the past.”

  • This sounds like the consistent/solid release of the year. Much like Slough Feg and Vader did last year.

  • Great review. I haven’t really been able to appreciate any of the albums released since Enemy of the Music Business (which is possibly my favourite Napalm album), but they have been consistent for a long time, if not to my taste and I should check this out.

    Meanwhile, it would be worth finding an official stream/video as an example track though (eg: https://soundcloud.com/centurymedia/napalm-death-cesspits/s-3PzUC), as the sound quality of the one embedded above is pretty bad.

  • De2013

    Very nice, will check this out.