Napalm Death: Apex Predator – Easy Meat

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Napalm Death: Apex Predator – Easy Meat
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Napalm Death: Apex Predator - Easy Meat
Death Metal, Grindcore
Century Media Records
January 27th, 2015
Release length: 40:05
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It’s hard to believe that Napalm Death is quickly approaching their thirty-fifth anniversary as a group. Formed back in 1981, the band not only have gone through line-up change hell over the years, leaving it one of the few long running groups to exist without a single one of its founding members, but also have the distinguished honor of being one of the pioneers of the Death Metal/Grindcore genre, if not the sole founders. Of course this all seems like a blur to the dedicated fan with the group stillchurning out new releases. Their latest, Apex Predator – Easy Meat, marks their fifteenth since 1987’s legendary album Scum. But does this new effort live up to the standards the band has set for themselves, or is it more of the same to the point where it quickly becomes redundant?

Ritualistic deep voiced and layered chanting builds up a cold, dark, even uncompromising atmosphere for “Apex Predator – Easy Meat”. The build is slow and crushing, moving smoothly into “Smash a Single Digit”, a nightmarish assault of Crust Punk laced technicality and blasting, closing on a brief groove-heavy segment. This ends up a far more ominous start than most of the band’s previous releases have dared to travel, even if it does seem incredibly out of place compared to what follows next on “Metaphorically Screw You”. This one hammers in with that signature speed, brutality, and attitude driven grooves we’ve come to expect from the group, as well as some infectious hooks just past the minute mark for good measure. This is a good way to sum up your experience with most of the other songs as well.

“Stubborn Stains” hits you with your fair share of blast beat fuelled Grindcore, but there’s a good deal of technicality scattered about that plays up the Death Metal angle in a way that tries to rip your face right off then dance on it when the two-step Punk material kicks in approaching the two minute mark. It’s like an experimentation in complex chaos that doesn’t quite reach Progressive standards, but you won’t mind at all. “Beyond the Pale” also sums up the modern Napalm Death sound well enough. Moments of two-step and simple grinding that sometimes throw back to the early days of the group while carrying a darker touch and odd sounding chords that aren’t so much experimental as they are a kind of dull eccentricity that thinks its intimidating, but really are far from it.

Napalm Death also dabbles into their Hardcore Punk roots on this release from time to time, such as with “How the Years Condemn”. This mild mannered performance starts off low, allowing the bass guitar to really shine before hammering in with a steady groove that finds some leads in the chorus trying to be epic, only to end up a subtle addition of melodic aggression. That last bit doesn’t always offer a brief reprieve, which “Cesspits” clearly asserts as a reality. Catchy grooves may start this one off, putting you into a place of ease before unleashing one of the most intense cuts the release has to offer. Bludgeoning complexities from the guitars and drums hammer away with precise venomous rage that leaves you a quivering mass of tenderized flesh from the inside out by the time the group is done with you on this one. But while a welcome departure, they pale in tone to “Dear Slum Landlord” and its subtle psychedelic vibe that can be as creepy as early Morbid Angel songs like “God of Emptiness”.

Apex Predator – Easy Meat does stick to the group’s traditional blast beat riddled assaults, but the band finds themselves offering a good deal more variety this time around than recent releases have shown, especially the last outing Utilitarian. While long time fans will appreciate the nods to the golden days, as well as the steady focus away from just chaotic blast beats and Groove Metal foundations, sometimes it can all seem like a jumbled mess, even though all but the title track still seem to carry the same tone. But, overall, Apex Predator – Easy Meat is a rich, punishing release that stands as one of the better Napalm Death releases since the obvious change in direction circa 2000’s Enemy of the Music Business.


01. Apex Predator – Easy Meat – 3:46
02. Smash a Single Digit – 1:26
03. Metaphorically Screw You – 2:05
04. How to Years Condemn – 2:44
05. Stubborn Stains – 3:03
06. Timeless Flogging – 2:26
07. Dear Slum Landlord – 2:00
08. Cesspits – 3:33
09. Bloodles Coup – 2:32
10. Beyond the Pale – 3:04
11. Stunt Your Growth – 2:06
12. Hierarchies – 3:14
13. One Eyed – 2:49
14. Adversarial – Copulating Snakes – 5:17
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

Napalm Death
Napalm Death

Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.