While tempting, it would be inaccurate to say that NAPALM DEATH haven’t aged a day. Over 40 years since their formation, and 35 since the release of their genre-defining debut Scum, the grindcore pioneers have evolved and matured with undeniable and impressive grace. What is remarkable however is just how little all that time has managed to soften their peerless ferocity. 2020’s Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism saw the band take yet another step forward, its dalliances with post-punk and industrial carrying on the potent form they’ve maintained for at least the past decade or so. Such was its quality that the band have now seen fit to return to the Throes Of Joy… sessions and present a swift follow-up: an eight-track mini-album entitled Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw Of Throes.
If Resentment…‘s status as a mini or companion album has you expecting a few half-cooked offcuts, you’d be mistaken. These tracks aren’t just a mish-mashed collection of B-sides or a quick cash-grab or stop-gap, they’re quintessential NAPALM DEATH. Lead single Narcissus proves exactly that, its rumbling opening bassline giving way to the band’s more typically full-throttle fare. Vocalist Barney Greenway is brilliant as ever, with his barked lyrics taking incisive aim at the alt-right movement. The quality remains high from here too. Cuts like By Proxy and Man Bites Dogged deliver similarly merciless thrashings, with the latter – and even more so second track Resentment Always Simmers – also leaning into the cold dystopianism that proved so effective on Throes Of Joy….
As they often have done with their bonus output, NAPALM DEATH include a couple of covers on this record. First up this time around is a take on People Pie by UK industrial rockers SLAB!. It’s not exactly the most obvious fit with the band – not least with its almost gospel-like backing vocals – but they still make it their own by leaning heavily into the track’s scuzzy basslines and general sense of stomping menace. Later, they make easy work of BAD BRAINS‘ Don’t Need It, tearing through its 65-second runtime with unsurprisingly furious aplomb.
Once all that’s done, the band round out the record with Resentment Is Always Seismic (Dark Sky Burial Dirge). As its name suggests, this one’s essentially a remix of Resentment Always Simmers handled by bassist Shane Embury under his DARK SKY BURIAL moniker. It’s certainly something of a change of pace, but it still fits well with the record’s overall sense of menace. Building on the lumbering bassline of the original track, Embury ups the industrial intensity even further here. Its synths and electronics swirl around processed percussion, with the track embellished by a few select samples of Greenway’s vocals and moments of eerie, atmospheric chanting.
There aren’t many bands who could release what’s essentially a B-sides album as solid and cohesive as this. Much like Throes Of Joy… before it, Resentment… shows that NAPALM DEATH have absolutely no interest in resting on their laurels as they enter their fifth decade. While they’re still more than capable of delivering the grind with which they’re all but synonymous, it’s long been clear that they have their sights set on far braver and bolder sonic exploration than that. It’s this which places them in a very special minority of bands releasing some of their best work at a point in their career when many others would be content with greatest hits tours and deluxe anniversary re-issues. That’s never been NAPALM DEATH’s style though, and long may it continue.
Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw Of Throes is set for release on February 11th via Century Media Records.
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