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Napalm Death: Apex Predator – Easy Meat

Hard-hitting return from Brummie grindcore pioneers.

A sticker on the cover of Napalm Death’s sixteenth studio album identifies its wilfully unpleasant artwork – a gory mess of blood, entrails and a single chopped-off finger – as depicting “Tenderised chunks of a weakling”. The music contained within is equally caustic.

A furious dissection of global capitalism, corporate neglect and slave labour (mal) practices, Barney Greenway’s unflinching lyrics (‘As perishable as your product, I can just be thrown away,’ he seethes on Stubborn Stains) are matched in ferocity by tireless blast beats, buzzing hyper-speed riffs and a welcome sense of disorienting experimentalism.

The title track’s droning industrial dirge recalls Killing Joke and Swans, Dear Slum Landlord… pins a lurching Jesus Lizard guitar line to thick walls of discordant noise, and the brutal bloodletting of Hierarchies features the best Slayer riffs in a decade.

Decidedly queasy listening throughout, Apex Predator… is protest music at its most apoplectic, and emphatic proof that these unlikely national treasures have lost none of their snap and bite as they enter the 34th year of their career./o:p

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.