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Here with have a split 7” featuring two of the most classic grindcore bands from the late eighties, Napalm Death from England and S.O.B. from Japan. Apart from both being two of the important originators of the genre, these bands had also become friends and Napalm Death even covered two S.O.B. songs on their 1998 Peel Session. Now it was time for both bands to share a record together. We’re talking Napalm Death here so I’ll have my say about the S.O.B. on their bandpage.
When listening to the production and performance of these recording I wouldn’t be surprised if these songs were recorded during the same sessions as the ‘Mentally Murdered’ EP. The guitar sound is similar and so is Lee Dorrians performance.
Biggest difference with that EP however that this 7” only features short songs (Mentally Murdered had an average of 2:30 minutes per song). The Napalm Death side of this record has 6 songs in 4:32 minutes, which is an average of 43 seconds per song. Obviously we’re talking fast furious grindcore here with not much room left for breakdowns, D-beat parts or whatever.
However, first song “Multinational Corporations” is ofcourse a re-recording from the opening to the ‘Scum’ record and very industrial and doomy. Last song ‘Stalemate’ has some great uptempo crustcore sections. So it’s not blastspeed all the way. I’d prefered some more variation personally but seeing the over all length of the release that’s a minor complaint since it’s all over in a jiffy.
I you want these tracks, simply get the Death By Manipulation album. But for collectors with an historical sense it is a must have. Napalm Death and S.O.B. on one EP. Enough said. But you’ll probably have difficulties finding an original one instead one of many bootleg versions.
The S.O.B. side is over in 4:50 minutes and the emphasis is on short grinding songs. Within this racket however the band did find some time to have some breakdowns.
“Device” even starts off with a crossover riff that could’ve come straight from the S.O.D. album ‘Speak English Or Die’. Of course this song eventually erupts into pure musical violence. “Repeat At Length” starts really doomy and has a nice breakdown in the middle.
Both “Deceiver Pr2” and “Humanity or Stupidity” are short grinders. “Deceiver, Part 2” obviously being a Napalm Death cover (the version WITH the Repulsion intro)
Now this isn’t the highlight of S.O.B.’s career. For that you’d obviously have to get “Leave Me Alone” and “Don't Be Swindle” but it’s fun hearing the band at their most furious. For collectors with an historical sense it is a must have. Napalm Death and S.O.B. on one EP. Enough said. But you’ll probably have difficulties finding an original one instead one of many bootleg versions.
Napalm Death has come a long way... they've played on grounds that only punk rockers would walk and eventually left the punk rock sound to come across grindcore, what the band is known for pioneering... and now onto death metal. It's apparent that Napalm Death finally reached a metal level... many people may argue that Napalm Death has been metal to begin with, but grindcore isn't necessarily metal. More than likely, as I like to describe grindcore, I see it as "schizophrenic hardcore punk." Death metal, on the other hand... well do I really need to explain that one?
What makes this death metal? Well, for one, the growls are in the vein of death vocals as opposed to the shriek/grunt style presented on the last few albums. Also, everything from the production to instrument sounds have a death metal quality... it's really tuned low; they must've loosened the strings on the guitar and bass to get a really low rough sound... a super rough sound on this split at least. One question remains... is that necessarily good or bad on Napalm Death's behalf?
For now at least, this isn't a bad transition. While this new sound they're playing is death metal, Napalm Death still maintains a grindcore characteristic on this split. Most of these songs here are just re-recordings of some of their grindcore stuff. "Multinational Corporations Pt. 2" is the only song which dramatically sounds different. This was the introduction to the "Scum" album, which only featured grunted screams and cymbal playing on the original song. This, on the other hand, is a super death/doom sounding song with the slowest possible beat Mitch Harris ever played in his life. The growls display Lee Dorrian's new style of singing, and it sounds very morbid on this song. Everything else is pretty much just a mere "blast" with low growls and distortion. It seems like this time around, those "blast" songs have no effort put into them.
The only big bad thing about Napalm Death's stuff here is that it doesn't possess the raw energy releases like "From Enslavement To Obliteration" had... it seems like Napalm Death out some effort into sounding death metal... but there's still some energy in this release, just not a real punk attitude kind of energy. Everything, excluding the first track, is nothing more than muffled noise in my mind. Either the production is terrible or just the music itself is terrible, I don't know, but this music doesn't seem to do it for me. They tried too hard this time around. I like their "anit-music" approach on their recording though... they've stilled kept that on this release, making every song as minimal and schizophrenic as possible.
Overall, this is a nice transition into new territory and then again a bad idea...
Ear catchers: Every track is worth the listen (being most of the tracks are no longer than a minute) but the first track ("Multinational Corporations Pt. 2") is the most unique song on this split for Napalm Death.