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One year after their well known debut album, the seminal british band Napalm Death attacked again with another raw and brutal album, called "From Enslavement to Obliteration". "Scum", their debut, is considered as the first grindcore album, and yes, it was rabid as hell, fast and brutal, but it lacked of maturity. Fortunately, this time the band was pretty much solid and established than in their first album, or at least it sounds like that, but that doesn't means a lost of their primal brutality, it is still the same.
This lineup had brilliant elements on it, particularly the vocalist, Lee Dorrian, Cathedral's leader and godfather of deathened doom metal, and the guitarist Bill Steer, who got his own name in grindcore and death metal with Carcass. The bassist, Shane Embury (which is the only member who remains in the band since their debut album) and drummer Mick Harris are the perfect support for Dorrian's manic gutural screams and Steer's machinegun riffs. The production is somewhat cleaner than the debut album and it helps a lot to the band, their massive strenght gets even more empowered by the production.
Well, it's pretty hard to review an album like this, because it's something like 30 minutes of noise... but the greatest noise you'll be able to hear. The album starts with "Evolved as One", which is the most listenable song of the album. This track is more doom metal oriented (which is probably a hint of what will Lee Dorrian do with Cathedral), a deep bass line with a slow and stomping drum pattern domine all the three minutes of the song, the guitar is very secondary on this one. It works well as an introduction but it gets a little monotone when Dorrian yells "your weak minds!" so many times. After this "peaceful" intro, hell unleashes. Literally. There are three of four songs on this album which surpass the barrier of the two minutes, so you can barely distinguish one song from another. It's better to take this album like a 35 minutes song than like an 35 minutes album with 27 songs. Musically, there are some notable changes from "Scum" to this record, in "Scum" the punk and death metal elements were somewhat balanced but this time the death metal orientation dominates their music, although you'll hear some punk passages along this album, this is more a festival of growls, metallic riffs and blast beats. Of course the 3 or 5 seconds songs are still present, "Your Achievement" and "Dead" are as short as "You Suffer", but that "song" remains as the shorter song ever recorded.
Finally, "The Curse" is "Evolved as One" without vocals, it works as a return to peace and normality after such a brutal discharge.
In my opinion, "Scum" is very overrated, if you want to get the true grindcore spirit of this british monster, then get this album. You will surely get many brutal moments.