CD Review: ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’ by Napalm Death

The grind continues on Napalm Death’s 15th release, Apex Predator-Easy Meat. Always a band willing to step outside the box, the droning title track stomps in industrial glory. This unorthodox opener may throw some off, but the band kicks things back in thrashing fury on “Smash a Single Digit.” “Smash” is no-frills Napalm complete with blast beats and Barney Greenway’s trademark bark. The vicious “Metaphorically Screw You” is 2 minutes of brutal ecstasy. The twisting riffs and relentless speed reaffirm why Napalm are the kings of grindcore. The dissonant guitars on “Stubborn Stains” oddly complement the frantic drumming on this track, creating an interesting syncopation between the guitar and drums. Then there is “Dear Slum Landlord,” which drew considerable criticism when a video of the band performing the song was leaked. Perhaps some thought the band would do a Morbid Angel and release a soft or “non-metal” album. However, those doubters are wrong and the brief track is certainly not indicative of the album. The first proper single of Apex “Cesspits” certainly put many fans at ease. Its sound is somewhat accessible like “When All Is Said and Done” on 2006’s Smear Campaign. The hardcore punk grit of “Bloodless Coup” shows the versatility of the group. It puts to shame most of the stuff masquerading as “hardcore” these days.

The production on Apex Predator is top notch. The raw digital sound on the group’s four albums or so is present here. It is clear, concise and never overbearing. It is good to hear the bass, guitars and drums without one instrument bleeding into the other. Musically, the band is riding a creative wave. There is a great balance between convention and experiment. In addition, this is the shortest Napalm Death album since Enemy of the Music Business in 2000. At 40 minutes, the band handles business in ample time, thus never becoming stale.

When all is said and done, Napalm has crafted another great album. This is the band’s fifth record since 2005 and it is clear the band are not stopping anytime soon. Apex Predator will thrill fans of the band and anyone looking for some good extreme metal. The blast is strong with this one.

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