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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.