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An Alternate Brutality - 88%

Skarnek, September 3rd, 2012

Good, solid, quality grindcore is such a breath of refreshingly caustic air for the seasoned headbanger. For one thing, it's (to this day) the only "core" suffixed genre that doesn't seem to cause a mass epidemic of pant-sharting upon it's mention. But...we aren't gonna go there. This is Napalm Death. Either you respect these blokes, or kindly disappear with all of your teeth in place.

Those that know this particular representation of Napalm Death are well aware of the somewhat unsettling lack of furious tempos and theory-disregarding death-punk seizures of noise. We either love it or shun it, the latter merely causing us to reach for their back catalog (or at least skip ahead a few albums for their recaptured rage to be fully intact).

Nineties fans of Barney and co. had a soft spot (or at least respect)for the artsier of what alternative music had to offer, realizing that the Helmet-like grooves, Sonic Youth-ey dissonance, and Smashing Pumpkins-isms within the melodic drone department are not just apparent, but intentional. Like I said; nineties FANS of the band know this. That is also my way of implying that not only is it an interesting and worthy integration, it's a damn lethal and brilliant submissiveness that worked beautifully. Ah, those nineties...

Heaviness might be a given when regarding these Birmingham blasters, yet the amount of heft represented here is felt (to these ears) much more oppressively. As Crowbar have demonstrated, one need not turn to their methamphetamines at all times while playing brutally effective music. Fear, Emptiness, Despair has the occasional blast, yet they have proven here that it is not their crutch. It's used as it should be for this kind of record; as an enhancement.

All this talk of alternative influences is not to say that this is a weak, wiffle ball bat with a Napalm Death tag on it. It's grating, angry, vocally monstrous, and satisfying. This release was the threshold to a small foray into experimentation, but it's undeniably Napalm Death...Mortal Kombat song contribution or not.