napalmdeathThere are some that think Napalm should’ve knocked it on the head back in 1989 after the ‘Mentally Murdered’ EP. That Napalm Death is now a covers band & that anything from ‘Harmony Corruption’ onwards is shit.

These people (thankfully a minority) obviously deserve our sympathy…… and maybe some tablets.

Napalm Death are a vital part of the UK’s sonic landscape and always have been. They are the epitome of hard grafting band with their constant touring schedule and live they put bands half their age to shame with ludicrous amounts of positive energy.

Enduring numerous line-up changes, tragedy & criticism over perceived shifts in musical style, Napalm have survived best part of 30 years with total integrity and have are more relevant than ever. There’s never been a greater need for the promotion of rational thought & respect for your fellow man than now and Napalm have always espoused this both in the studio & and live.

So the fifteenth long player from the grind legends is here in the form of ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’. What’s it like? Well it’s not pipe & slippers time for these these grindcore veterans. You should have some idea what you’re gonna get from a Napalm album but, on top of the relentless speed & aggression, they always manage to throw in a few surprises and this is the most inventive Napalm record for years.

Starting with the title track – a sinister 4 minutes of weird percussion & vocal chanting from Barney primes you for ‘Smash A Single Digit’ which is classic, minute and a half, Napalm Death along the lines of ‘Errors In The Signal’ from Utilitarian, savagely fast and with a strong underlying groove. A definite killer when it’s played live as will be ‘Metaphorically Screw You’ which is up next. ‘How The Years Condemn’ slows things down a touch before the maelstrom of ‘Stubborn Stains’ which is built around a couple of simple hypnotic riffs played at Mach 10 by Mitch Harris before he goes into chug mode and back again.

‘Timeless Flogging’ blasts & grooves by before the eerie & depressive ‘Dear Slum Landlord’ surprises you with its jarring, industrial Killing Joke influence. And that ladies & gents is just the first half of the album!

Inspired by the world wide slave labour trade and triggered by the building collapse in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh (where over 1000 workers died when a 9 storey building collapsed) Napalm Death obviously maintain the social integrity I mentioned earlier and this, amongst the mix of chaotic almost out of control tracks and the more leftfield, slower songs makes for a thoughtful but enjoyable listen and you’ll be hitting repeat as soon as it finishes I guarantee it.

Coupled with striking artwork, created by Danish designer Frode Sylthe and the usual immense production from the wizard that is Russ Russell and you have probably the first truly essential, extreme music release of 2015.

(9.5/10 Mark Eve)