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Inside The Torn Apart finds Napalm Death properly reconstituted and ready to consolidate Diatribes rather meager gains into something altogether leaner and more vicious. In this, they are reasonably successful, though this record serves more as a blip than a true re-awakening.
Having sent Phil Vane packing back to E.N.T. and reclaiming Barney as their frontman, Napalm regains a bit of lost stride. Barney's time in E.N.T. (however brief) delivered ferocious offerings on Damage 381 and his desire to grind again is evident. There are a lot more blast beats, d-beats, and overall semblances of death-grind here than on Diatribes but there's a few pointless duds along for ride as well.
Ironically, "Lowpoint" is the highlight with its face-meltingly fast blasts and vintage Terrorizer riffage just bursting with energy and attitude! You even get a sweet Tom G. Warrior "Ooh" segueing into a pretty sweet mid-tempo headbanger riff before the whole thing collapses back in on itself with wailing blasts and Barney just killing it on the mic! This song is a fuckin' classic and one of N.D. best mid-period tracks by far. "Reflect On Conflict" also kills, delivering crusty d-beat perfection and some wicked double-bass action -- a total whirlwind of kick-ass headbangable riffage! These two tracks alone show more vitality and passion than anything on the previous album. "If Symptoms Persist" has a great off-kilter choppy riff that cuts across the rhythm section and stirs enough atmosphere and tension to keep the mid-paced grooves interesting. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention "Breed To Breathe." It's basically "Greed Killing" redux with just as many hooks and sick riffs (even the occasional d-beat). And like "Greed Killing," it makes you wonder how much better this whole groove era would've been if they'd honed their other midpaced numbers to the same samurai sharpness."Prelude" too cuts a nice swath between d-beat craziness and tense mid-paced groove, harnessing a balance between styles that Diatribes failed to cohesively find.
Despite a nice infusion of energy and aggression however, Inside The Torn Apart is not without failed experiments. "Section" sounds like it's building to something exciting but never releases more than a few bland grooves. "Down In The Zero" is more syncopated breakbeats and pointless riffing with no real meat or hooks. Napalm absolutely suck at the Snapcase-style hardcore breakdowns they try to slam in there as well. The whole track is just tedious and passionless. The title track is even worse. The clean singing is horrible! And the riffs are so bland and stale. A total abortion of a song. "A Lifeless Alarm" is okay as a dirge but I am sick of Napalm feeling that each record needs one.
The production is punchy and strong, though the guitars could sound a little sharper. Barney's voice is apex. He's in his prime, hitting his stride. Listening to this again, it's amazing how far his voice has declined now. Too bad he wasted some his prime on these mid-paced misfires. Inside The Torn Apart doesn't totally deliver on all promises and Words From The Exit Wounds would find Napalm sliding back into Diatribes level mediocrity. But hope is just three years around the corner and there's enough blistering material on here to keep the faith holding awhile longer.
"Inside The Torn Apart" is the album that many people don't even know exist. Or they do know exist but don't acknowledge that much because it was one of the albums that show Napalm Death trying and managing to rebound after the lazy "Diatribes" and even the somewhat messy divorce of mainman Barney Greenway from the rest of the tribe. Even the band photo on the back of the album you can tell the level of being completely burnt-out and lack of enthusiasm for their own future and eachother is easily shown in their eyes. But for typical band drama, Napalm Death managed to pull through the bickering and bullshit aside and make a damn better than that knocks "Diatribes" out of the water and next "Fear, Emptiness, Despair" is easily the best representation of their progressive era where they were trying to not make the same ol' Grind-Influenced Death Metal/Death Metal-influenced Grind/whathaveyou.
For one the riffs are back and now they have a sense of direction. One of the main thing that was lacking in the previous album was riffs. Not only are they back with direction, but are more well-constructed and the tunings are much more clearer in that you know they are more focused and not fucking around with TRYING to experiment but just doing what the feel and not having it come out all forced and muck-filled. Half of the album's songs(depends on which one is your favorite) is written either by bassist Shane Embury, or the Jesse Pintado/Mitch Harris camp. It seems like we know who's stepping away from the progression and writing straight-forward traditional ND songs which is obviously Shane you have to give big boy his credit seeing how he took on a lot of the music arrangements and lyrical duties in order to try to make this a better album. And he did. Not to bad-mouth Jesse and Mitch but Embury did write lyrics for 8 out of 12 songs and jammed-out 5 of those songs kinda showing us that Jesse and Mitch are trying to catch-up with the song turn-out rate. Lyrically there is even less social-political and more personal which is the main theme. It's not whiny either. Shane makes it clear you can go through drama, conflict, stress, and other crap without being so melodramatic. I wish more bands would do the same. Danny's drums are still snappy and are more well-timed with the guitars. In fact the album seems less rythmic and more drum-melody driven. Vocally, Barney is sounding a lot better. It's almost as if there wasn't that split, he would not have gotten his second wind. His performance and low-end 'umph' is back and more clear. He doesn't sound muddy or tired, he just sounds like he's finding that extra something in the bottom of his gut. Bottom line is that almost everything on here sounds like they looked at "Diatribes" and re-wrote a lot of the riffs so that it would better match everything. I mean listen to the main melodies of both "Greed Killing" and "Breed To Breath" and tell me the tempo, pacing, and even pre-chrorus breakdown sound damn-near identical.
Aside from the above mentioned, I might go on the record and say that this is probably the only good album that came out in 1997. I mean correct me if I am wrong, but outside of the Grindcore/Death metal genre...what else was released that year that was any good? Pretty much nothing. Remember this was released the year Death Metal was considered dead for the most part. Outside of Brutal Truth and Suffocation everyone else just sucked for the most part? It goes without saying that Napalm Death managed to put put out a very energetic and better charging album admist all of the stress going on internally and externally.
Best songs on here...oh there is quite a handful; "Breed To Breath", "Reflect On Conflict" is a riff-or-rama which will be stuck in your head for days, "Down in the Zero" which has a catchy melodic chorus "Inside The Torn Apart" slows things down to a NYHC melodic crunch which has Shane angrily singing, "If Symptoms Persist"(best song title) has some of the best reversed riffs next to Metallica's "Eye of The Beholder", "Prelude" sounds like "Relfect On Conflict" prt. 2 continued only faster, and possibly the best song and my personal favorite the blast-beat ridden "Lowpoint" which resembles "Throwaway" from "Fear, Emptiness, Despair". Why the brummies don't play "Lowpoint" live is a fucking mystery, because through-out the entire album you are waiting for that devastating ramming-speed grind that only ND can bring about and then when the song kicks in with the churning opening riffs you KNOW they are about to bring it on(can't believe I used that phrase while reviwing a ND album, but I guess it's better than saying "it's da bomb!"...oh well)...but fuck they rage like only ND can rage. Pretty soon you'll be screaming out "LOWPOOOIINNNTTT!!!" right along with Barney.
If you are suffering like the band from the frustration-induced fatigueness of "Diatribes", you can easily be cured with "Inside The Torn Apart."
I think this is probably the closest that Napalm Death got to properly executing the death/grind/hardcore mixture they'd attempted to pioneer back in the 'Fear, Emptiness, Despair' days. It's not perfect, but it's certainly the best of the band's albums in that vein, mostly achieving what albums like 'Diatribes' had attempted and failed to do. It's catchy and grooving without sacrificing the death/grind elements which define Napalm Death's sound and manages to be memorable and an exciting listen throughout its running time. In short, it's just about everything that Napalm Death aspired to be at this period in their career, and it manages to stand up as an enduring listen even now.
The thing that makes this better than the previous two albums is that it's not as boring as them. I can't think of a more elegant turn of phrase than that, but the previous two albums were pretty damn boring a lot of the time. It's not really the band's fault; they were settling into the new style and probably being a bit overly cautious in the process, but it all comes together on 'Inside The Torn Apart'. The music still resides in an upper midpace with a collection of groovy, power chord driven riffs over funk-inspired drumming, but everything has more motion to it on this album as opposed to the awkward stillness which tended to dominate albums like 'Fear, Emptiness, Despair'. The vocals are delivered more forcefully, and this might mark the moment where Barney Greenway's voice truly comes into its own and meshes with the band; it took a long time, but it's all good here.
The riffs really champion this album and manage to be surprisingly memorable despite being of a similar nature to those of the previous two. Greenway's sporadic clean/spoken vocals are used to surprisingly great effect on tracks like 'Breed To Breathe' without coming across as cheesy, and the drumming is propulsive and engaging with numerous creative fills and quality syncopated snare work. The tracks are very memorable, with the title number coming across particularly well with its ultra-tense main riff and tersely screamed verses, while others like 'If Symptoms Persist' are something of a throwback to older Napalm Death with a more straightforward, grinding feel. As the last album really in this style, it's good to see that Napalm Death really got it together, even if they were a bit late to the game.
'Inside The Torn Apart' is not really a mandatory album in Napalm Death's catalog, but it is the best of Napalm Death's third stylistic phase and certainly worth a look from fans of the band. If you have to get one album from this period, it should certainly be this one, and I really do recommend it to the average death/grind fan who would like to see what good a fusion with hardcore can produce. This is an album that took a difficult combination of elements and truly made the best of them, and for that reason alone it's worthy of a bit more appreciation than it gets.
This album is actually very catchy. From the beginning of Breed to Breathe you get some catchy riffs that stick in your head for days. This album is one of those albums that you may not have listened to in a few years but when you finally give it a spin again you remember how great it is. Yes this is not your grindcore Napalm Death but more of a grove death metal. The songs range from 3-4 minutes and keep the listener interested all the way through.
Production is clear yet not to polished...just in case you Napalm Death fans think they sold out. Every instrument can be heard. Vocals are your typical mid nineties style of vocals resembling a Fear Factory type of vibe.
Guitars are catchy, very catchy to be honest. Its good to hear some variation in death metal rather than monotone riffs for forty minutes. Don't let this statement fool you this album is heavy, but catchy. Once in a while there is a few melodic riff to keep things interesting. Check out the songs, Section, Down in the Zero, and Prelude. These sections are not In Flames melodic but give off a slight breath of fresh air. Section and Indispose melodies have quite an epic vibe to them.
Drums are not blast beats but more of your typical type of mid pace metal such as Sepultura, Pantera, etc.
Basically if your someone who enjoys experimental work from bands, Inside the Torn Apart isn't a bad place to start. If your one of those purists out there just think of this...Napalm Death tried mid paced death metal and kicked ass at it. Maybe several bands should have took notes on how to do it right.