overground scene

A few sparks inside a dying scene: Napalm Death

In the extreme metal scene, there are still a few Artists. In my opinion, everything that the underground or mainstream sput out during the last decade, is at best merely a polished regurgitation of the innovative work a few bands have been doing since the mid-eighties. At worst, it is  a compost – a patchwork of incompatible styles, in a desperate attempt to create something new or to lure kids from different genres.

The main problem with the metal scene is that it cannot progress or innovate because it has become embedded inside the metal culture. This embeddedness at first allowed it to develop, because metal fans and musicians helped each other, providing both moral and financial support through good and bad times. Thoughout the years, an international metal community has developed, which both supports itself and is the womb for new metal artists. However, to use Grabher’s words, sometimes ties that bind become ties that blind.

Metal musicians in the 80s or early 90s, even though they played metal, their influences where rarely other metal bands. Most metal musicians were listening to rock, punk, pop, classical music, disco and so on. That is why everything that was coming out back then was innovative and interesting. All these artists liked heavy metal, but were raised listening to the sex pistols, stiff little fingers, clash, ABBA, depeche mode, eloy, uriah heep, and so on. Fans and musicians gradually built up this metal culture which undisputedly helped metal flourish. But the new metal bands which were raised inside this culture have been listening to metal. There is where it all went wrong! The ties that once helped the metal community prosper, now have led it to a stalemate of imitation and incest.

However, as I said in the beginning, there are still a few Artists out there. This post is really about Napalm Death’s new huge achievement. Even though my favorite band is Dismember, I consider Napalm Death the best band in the world for many years now. I remember myself reading an interview of Barney (the singer of ND)  in 1999, just before the release of their “Enemy..” album. I remember him saying that they have raised the standards a lot and that they want to release an album without the tinniest flaw; that they want the new album to be perfect in all aspects. It was! And every subsequent album was perfect. Until now. The new album is SO perfect that words cannot describe! Most important for me is that they perfectly balance the elements from their post-2000 style, with the equally excellent mid- to late-nineties style. Emburry’s and Harris’s songwritting is on fire. Herrera is also on fire, writing some huge tempos for the songs. Barney has once more written some of the most awesome lyrics ever. This is what art is. You take a boring subject, or even offensive to some like marriage and you bring out an aspect that neutralises it and makes you think, “Yes, if people were thinking this way everything would make sense!”. And it is poetry. Unique combinations of the most suitable words to depict something. “Diktat” is certainly my favorite track lyric-wise. Embury and Harris have written some awesome lyrics as well.

Blabbermouth (here is the review) gave it a 9.5/10 and Chronicles of Chaos (here) a 10/10. It is one of the few times I almost agree with a zine’s reviews. Especially Blabbermouth’s review is pretty nice. What usually pisses me off, is not when people have an opinion on the music of the album, but when they make normative statements about what SHOULD be done! They have the nerve of telling artists what they would like to see changed! And the most disturbing is that these people doing the reviews have this idea that they are democratically elected to speak for all the fans! The person from Chronicles… suggests that elements which bring back memories of the mid 90s Napalm Death style, would be better if they did not exist! I LIKE THESE ELEMENTS! When I listened to “Fallacy Dominion”, “Procrastination…”, or “Larceny…” my ears fell off from the excitement! Who are you to say what they should or should not do?

For many years I say that the next ND album will show signs of weakness. Each single time I’m proven wrong. Once again Napalm Death’s album will overshadow everything that will see the light of day in 2009. Death Breath is expected to release a new album as well and I really look forward to it (Nicke Andersson + Scott Carlsson = Certain Masterpiece). The same goes for Suffocation. And all of them have very different styles. So I hope that we will enjoy one masterpiece from each style: British Grindcore-death, Swedish death, American brutal death.

“to have and to hold  for all eternity”

limitations and ambitions, are a pretext to falling short

We’re doomed, marooned and two fatalities,

anomalies in whispered circles, for pledges we could never hope to fulfil.

But if it works for you,

then it works because of you,

not a diktat from a guild, for who love is servitude.

Castigate or deprecate, they want heads hung in shame,

when a union runs its course,

for pledges we could never hope to fulfill.

Irrepressible, irresponsible…

Love is the wild-eyed antidote to cold imperatives

Love is the wild-eyed antidote to cold imperatives

love is, like the last day you ‘ll ever live.


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