Napalm Death – Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw Of Throes
Century Media Records
Release Date: 11/02/2022
Running Time: 29:00
Review by Rory Bentley
Crafting a great album is a monumental undertaking for any artist regardless of their virtuosity, legendary status or previous successes. There are multiple hurdles that need to be jumped in order to produce a masterpiece that combines innovation with cohesion, to push boundaries while maintaining a structural integrity that allows the work to be consumed as a fully formed journey.
The content is of course the most important aspect of a great piece of work, however to push an album from an excellent effort to a classic often comes down to what gets left on the cutting room floor. Sometimes, as the old adage goes, you must ‘kill your darlings’ to avoid bloat and listener fatigue.
I’m a big proponent of brutal self-editing to achieve the most impact from a project, and one of my most common bugbears is an album being too long, regardless of the quality of songs contained within. The more tragic aspect of this necessity is that great music has to fall by the wayside in service of a more palatable body of work. Some songs may have been axed because they disrupt the flow of an album but that doesn’t mean they’re not outstanding in their own right, which is where the mini album / EP comes in to save the day and stop these hidden gems from dying in obscurity. Converge, Cult of Luna and Code Orange (that’s three ticks if you’re playing Bentley Bingo at home) have all released various companion pieces consisting of offcuts from the fruitful sessions that formed their respective recent masterworks- and I’m very much here for it!
Napalm Death’s last record, 2020’s “Throes Of Joy In The Jaws of Defeatism”, was a lean, efficient beast that threw a lot of new tricks into their sound while still retaining the savagery of old; it was bloody fantastic and just the right length for everything to still draw blood right the way to the final track. But they clearly had more gas in the tank and a glut of material left over, which leads us to “Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw Of Throes”.
Far from being a tedious odd and sods package (still haven’t forgiven Mastodon for “Medium Rarities”) this mini-album sees the grindcore legends leaning further into the Killing Joke and Swans influences explored on “Throes…” on tracks like ‘Amoral’ and devastating closer ‘A Belly Full of Salt and Spleen’, while throwing in some fun covers.
Those that are concerned that Barney and the boys are leaving their brutal side on the back burner will be pleased to know that ‘Narcissus’ and ‘By Proxy’ will fully satisfy their bloodlust. The former features crushing doom chords, a frantic d-beat section and scathing blast beats combined with a positively apoplectic Barney Greenway bellowing with righteous indignation. The latter features Shane Embury on lead vocals, screeching like a horrible little troglodyte as he tag teams with Barney over a backdrop of one of the most filthy and distinctive bass tones in all of metal.
The atmospheric Swans-influenced terror the band have perfected over recent releases makes its presence felt on the demonic swathes of droning distortion and choral chants of ‘Resentment Always Simmers’, where a kinetic chorus riff sucks everything back into razor focus just at the point the song pushes to breaking point. Meanwhile the title track unleashes a nightmarish funeral dirge without providing the sweet release of a nice familiar face-punching riff.
These journeys into new territory could sound awkward were it not for the band’s compositional discipline and Barney’s newly adopted commanding baritone clean vocals, which recall Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman in full apocalyptic preacher mode, as demonstrated in the grandiose outro of ‘Man Bites Dogged’.
The breakneck cover of Bad Brain’s ‘Don’t Need It’ sounds exactly as you’d imagine it to, meanwhile the band’s take on Slab!’s ‘People Pie’ is an intriguing curio. Listening to Barney go full cyber-goth over industrial beats while doing a semi-rap in the most Birmingham accent imaginable is genuinely bizarre, but I have to say I don’t dislike it! Plus Shane’s bass is gleefully obnoxious here, strings buzzing and slapping to the song’s decadent groove.
Although I can’t honestly say this bite-sized treat of a mini album is as essential as their towering full length efforts of the last decade, it is something I can heartily recommend to devotees of these legendary masters of aural assault. With Napalm Death taking longer between albums to build new worlds of apocalyptic majesty, “Resentment…” is the perfect way to tide rabid fans like myself over until the next full length turns up and takes 99% of extreme bands to school all over again.
Napalm Death are still just as savage, just as fearless and just as brilliant as they were when they turned music on its head with “Scum” over three decades ago. They’re still the apex predators and long may they continue.
‘Narcissus’ Official Audio
02. Resentment Always Simmers
03. By Proxy
04. People Pie (cover version)
05. Man Bites Dogged
06. Slaver Through A Repeat Performance
07. Don’t Need it (cover version)
08. Resentment is Always Seismic (Dark Sky Burial Dirge)
Barney Greenway – Lead vocals
Shane Embury- Bass / backing vocals
Danny Herrera – Drums
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