We live in interesting times, Europe and the United States are facing massive economic, political and social issues, many dictatorial regimes in the Middle East have fallen and countries like India and Brazil are vast becoming economic powerhouses in their own right. These are the circumstances where a political band like Napalm Death thrives on. This may be the reason why “Utilitarian,” the latest album by Mark “Barney” Greenway and Co., sounds so viciously spirited…
On “Utilitarian” Barney and the boys have revisited their grindcore roots and mixed it with the songwriting prowess of later albums, like “Enemy Of The Music Business”, “Order Of The Leech” and “Smear Campaign”. This resulted into a perfectly balanced album which combines blistering aggression with memorable hooks. Songs like ‘Errors In The Signals,’ ‘Protection Racket,’ ‘Think Tank Trials’ and ‘A Gag Reflex’ should whip even the most lethargic crowd into a frenzy within an instant. Greenway’s ferocious bark is matched in intensity by the spot on drumming of Danny Herrara, the deadly effective guitar riffs and screams of Mitch Harris and Shane Embury’s meaty bass lines.
Napalm Death isn’t afraid to show a more experimental side either and I applaud them for their audacity. The saxophone parts by John Zorn on ‘Everyday Pox,’ the clean vocal parts on ‘Leper Colony’ and the ambient parts on ‘Circumspect,’ are clear examples of this. They never get in the way of the album’s overall brutality, but they do bring a certain level of freshness to the familiar Napalm Death musical formula.
This album is graced by a clear, yet edgy production, courtesy of the talented Russ Russell (Dimmu Borgir, Amorphis, Lock Up). This gives “Utilitarian” even more punch.
On “Utilitarian” Greenway and Co. didn’t go for any major stylistic changes, yet they managed to add enough new elements to their familiar sound to keep things fresh and exciting. The most striking features on this album are the memorable songs and the ferocious nature of this beast. Considering their already impressive track record so far, “Utilitarian” may very well be one of their finest musical moments to date. I’m hooked!