The U.S. isn’t alone in this category, but we’re not particularly welcoming to outsiders, and that has been fanned into a raging storm the past few years, accelerated by a certain person occupying a white house in DC. This is despite this whole nation always been touted as a melting pot of different types of people, and this whole land being built with folks from other places.
As noted, this country isn’t an isolated case, and UK-based grind/death/punk legends Napalm Death have seen it all themselves, and they unleash all of that on their amazing new record “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.” This record, their 16th, certainly has a modern Napalm touch, but there also are elements of many of their different past eras in a way that makes for one of their heaviest, most aggressive, and exciting albums they’ve ever done. The band—vocalist Barney Greenway, guitarist Mitch Harris, bassist Shane Embury, drummer Danny Herrera—always have posited their work as protest music, and here on this 12-track album, they’re lighting up some of the most ferocious fires they’ve sparked in a while looking at how people unlike those in the dominant quadrant are treated and how that affects them. It can be a heartbreaking picture, but the way the band tears through this material and exacts their own rage keeps the pressure on.
“Fuck the Factoid” rips the lid off the record as the pace stampedes hard, with Greenway’s vocals almost sounding death metal in tone. Guitars mangle as the drums turn bone to dust, while the bass drives home with Greenway wailing, “Filthy fucking factoid epidemic!” “Backlash Just Because” has guitars swaggering some musical weirdness, which is a nice recurring theme on this album. The pace blisters as fury and savagery meet and burn hellaciously. “That Curse of Being in Thrall” is speedy as hell as the vocals are spat out, and the tempo utterly clobbers. “One of many unwashed on your back, platitude-shitting amorphous mass,” Greenway howls as gang-shouted sections leave bruises, and the finish mangles. “Contagion” has riffs charging away as the track explodes from the inside. “Greed is a contagion refined with a soulless poison, they negotiate in innocence with a greed that’s infectious,” Greenway accuses as dizzying insanity is unleashed, and a slurry pace emerges to bring things to a numbing finish. “Joie De Ne Pas Vivre” has the bass rumbling and a sense of strangeness running through as the vocals grind along, and a sort of dream state hangs overhead. The track feels like it floats over your head, sucking you into the echoing finish. “Invigorating Clutch” has guitars that cause dizziness as its effects simmer and give off steam, churning through a chunky pace. The playing gives off a coolness that later is eaten by swaggering heat as the bizarre ending exits like a ghost.
“Zero Gravitas Chamber” delivers a strong riff that zips along, as the vocals explode past you, and the playing is a blast furnace. The approach is both violent and disorienting while the intensity never lets up for a second as Greenway wails, “Our armaments don’t slay, yes, we make them just to entertain, yes, food not bombs, please, food not bombs.” “Fluxing of the Muscle” has warped playing and the vocals melting through metal, as Greenway howls, “Throbbing muscle muscle muscle muscle!” to hammer home his point. The back end of the song has Greenway speaking his lines before exploding with screams as he repeats those words in the midst of chaos. “Amoral” feels different with brighter guitar work and more of a rock feel, with Greenway even singing gravelly, which is a nice change of pace. “In the end we’re just food for the worms, shit of the earth,” he concludes as the track bleeds out. The title track has Greenway wailing sans music before the track explodes into flames, flattening with a force, with the call of, “Expletive deleted defeated,” before the storm subsides. “Acting in Gouged Faith” is thrashy madness, with guitars twisting machines and the senses being warped. Drums crush skulls as cool riffs smother, with the track coming to a numbing end. “A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen” closes the album in a sludgy noise, vocals slurring, and the pace slicing into an alien haze. An industrial-style shift delivers jolts as Greenway wails, “Poke your corpse upon the golden sands, your day in the sun,” as the track comes to a nightmarish end.
Napalm Death have spent four decades now standing up for the downtrodden, fighting back against fascism, and being a raging beacon in a sometimes-unforgiving storm, and that continues on “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.” This is raging, blistering stuff, but there’s also some material here that’s a lot different from what we’re used to but also fits like a glove. This band never seems to run out of fuel, but living in this world and actually paying attention tends to keep the creative juice roaring ferociously.
For more on the band, go here: https://napalmdeath.org/scum/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.centurymedia.com/