Extreme Extremeness

Perhaps you are confused about Napalm Death. Maybe you forgot that this British band have been pounding away since 1982, that their 1987 debut, Scum, set a standard of brutal grindcore for an entire generation. Perhaps you mistook the band for some sort of Dr. Demento novelty without taking the time to appreciate their artistry. Perhaps you were aware of their world record for shortest song—the 1.316-second “You Suffer,” sharing that Guinness Book of World Recordsglory right alongside the world's largest accordion and Radhakant Bajpai's 5.19″ ear hair—without really appreciating the creative toil that goes into such an accomplishment. It's possible you knew about the band's unlikely alliances with John Peel and John Zorn but were unaware that both Jello Biafra and Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta appeared on 2005's The Code Is Red . . . Long Live the Code (Century Media). Think about that for a moment: Jello and Jamey in the studio, arm in arm, sharing a microphone for one brief moment of unity. Who else could have brought these two together? Are you so jaded that you cannot appreciate the triumph of this moment?

Or maybe you have been dazzled by the sheer depth of Napalm Death's brutality. It's an easy mistake to make. A can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees kind of mistake. You could have been confused into thinking that all 24-year-old grindcore bands are just a blur of pasty, potbellied, balding men in oversized black T-shirts and dangling backstage laminates, radiating unoriginality and reeking of beer and loneliness. That, however, would be a big mistake—for one thing, the guys in Napalm Death are not balding. They are young men; there are no original members. Napalm Death can never die. They are like Doctor Who that way.

AND PERHAPS YOU ARE WONDERING WHY IT IS SOMETIMES NECESSARY TO WRITE ABOUT NAPALM DEATH IN ALL CAPITALS. AS THEIR BIO EXPLAINS, NAPALM DEATH IS “THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BAND IN EXISTENCE” AND “THE EXTREME CUTTING EDGE OF MUSIC.” PERIOD. YOU THINK CAPITAL LETTERS LIE? Not on your knickers, mate. Bollocks. Figgy pudding. This is extreme brutality. To the extreme. I'm not talking about extreme snowboarding here. Unless it involves some sort of horrific eye or groin injury. And it would have to be seriously horrific, the kind of injury that would make the paramedics fill out their forms in all capitals so as to alert the attending physician to the BRUTAL SEVERITY OF THE INJURIES.

The rest is history. Second vocalist Lee Dorrian, ousted in the '80s, has provided the inspiration for hundreds of grindcore vocalists across the planet. Not to mention the lesser genres of sludge, doom, speedcore, hatemetal, bloodmosh, corecore and power dump metal. Although the band has lately been making the rounds of the First World (hardcore shows in the motherland with Agnostic Front and metal shows in the New World with Kreator), it is not above bringing extreme violent grind doom power to the Third World as well; in the past decade, the band has toured Peru, Russia and South Africa and has made plans to visit Vietnam. Now those are some places that need to be taught a lesson in brutality. And who better to serve as the ambassadors of Western underground music than the men who orchestrated the Jasta-Biafra peace accords? Their Relapse records bio is adamant; THEY ARE STILL SO MOTHERANDFATHERFUCKING HEAVY THAT THEY MAKE MOST ALL OF THE ALLEGED COMPETITION SOUND LIKE TINY MICE PLAYING BELLE AND SEBASTIAN TUNES.

Unless of course we actually were to see two mice performing a Belle and Sebastian composition with miniaturized instruments. Fair's fair. That would be kind of brutal too.


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