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Napoleon – Newborn Mind album review

Hyperactive Brits unleash a confusing, compelling genre clash

Napoleaon, album cover

Whether it’s technical metal, post-hardcore or punk-tinged alternative rock that floats your boat, Napoleon might just be your new favourite band.

Their debut full-length is a fizzing, hyperactive mongrel that starts by peeling off metallic riffs like a baby Architects, finishes with a dose of Fall Of Troy-style noodling punk, and takes musical cues from everything from Hundred Reasons and Million Dead’s very British blend of intelligent melodic rock to Poison The Well’s classic brand of metalcore.

Sound confusing? It is, in the most delightful way. The title track’s chorus and groove would make even the most casual metal fan bang their head, but beneath the surface is all manner of twitching, stabbing, obnoxious noise. Elsewhere, Maps sounds like a pop-punk song written by a drunk, aggro Biffy Clyro. How much you enjoy Napoleon will depend on how open you are to all these elements butting heads at an alarming rate. Some will dismiss it as a mess, but lock into their headspace and Newborn Mind is satisfying above and beyond the sum of its parts.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.