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When people talk about new Napalm Death being good, it's usually with a sort of unsaid caveat that despite the modern material's quality it in no way stacks up with the first or second era of the band. Let me fundamentally correct that: the newer material by Napalm Death is most certainly as good as albums like 'Harmony Corruption', and I'd say is in many ways better than even seminal releases like 'From Enslavement To Obliteration'. Call me a poser if you like, but I genuinely think that the death/grind sound of newer material rather than the pure grindcore of 'Scum' is what Napalm Death has been meant to do all along, and at no point in the band's career have they been more consistently rock-solid and savage as they are now.
Despite all this said about the death/grind nature of newer Napalm Death, I would still wager that this is closer to pure grindcore than the band has been since all the way back in the 'Utopia Banished' days. The opening strains of 'Silence Is Deafening' immediately take one to the early '90s, albeit with better production all around. The music here is a natural continuation of the previous two full-lengths, coming somewhere between 'Enemy Of The Music Business' and 'Order Of The Leech' in terms of absolute aggression and more subtle songwriting. All the tracks are uniformly fast and not quite technical but with a lot of jittery tremolo notes; the song structure are riffy and cyclic in nature but are immensely entertaining by virtue of just how well these guys work together musically. Variation is brought out through constant rehearsal of the tracks, making for deep and engaging music that's based off relatively simple principles.
If there's anything to complain about with newer Napalm Death material, it's that it rarely has standout tracks; 'The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code' is the same in this regard, and the differences and subtleties of each song will really only come out after a fair number of plays. But what it lacks in independence between tracks it makes up for in consistency, as there's not a single weak item on this disc. The deft and always blazing drumming of Herrera merges with Greenway's roaring vocals to provide a great rhythmic bass for the churning bass presence of Embury and Harris' incisive daggerlike tremolo riffing; the formula was established long ago and it still works here today. Production is clean, clear, and heavy, as it should be, and all instruments can be heard well. A brief comment about the guest performances: you barely hear them at all, strangely enough, so don't bother buying this just to hear Biafra.
Discussing Napalm Death in general is something of a fool's errand, as they've been so consistently massive and quality throughout their career. Every review for every one of their albums could really be summed up as 'go buy this', and this album is no exception. If you enjoy the Napalm Death style of savage death/grind, you'll of course want 'The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code'. It's another album in the catalog of one of metal's most enduring bands and shouldn't be missed.
The undisputed kings of Grindcore return with another round of utter grinding insanity here on “The Code Is Red…Long Live The Code”. Over the course of the past 24 years, Napalm Death has symbolized the epitome in extreme music and continues to do so today. No other band has yet managed to capture the intensity and original sound that Napalm Death deliver, but make no mistake, ND are an act that has set the benchmark for extreme music throughout the course of their career and on this album, the band continues to do so.
Barney Greenway's unmistakable voice is instantly recognizable as he tears into “Silence Is Deafening” with ripping growls and his trademark high pitched screams. The production work on this release does much to bring back the feelings contained in the band’s classic recordings.
Mitch Harris continues to be a monster con the six string, delivering lightening paced hardcore riffing that causes the group’s material to have a feel that is manic and chaotic at one moment, then massively doomish at another. He is one of the most overlooked and underrated axe men out there, and he proves exactly why on this record time and time again. “Right You Are” is a feverish fifty two second burst of grind that launches right into “Diplomatic Immunity”, yet another track that evokes the feeling of the band’s earlier recordings, while maintaining an updated feeling with the inclusion of a bit more hardcore sounding rhythms.
Greenway sets off the title track with a cool belch of discontent as the band wails away at a rapid pace. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the group’s music is their uncanny ability to take song parts of contrasting styles and meld them into a singular unique sound that is without a doubt, truly all their own. As always, the band’s message carries a political theme that lashes out at governments and systems on songs like the title track and “Climate Controllers” with an inspired vehemence. On “Instruments Of Persuasion”, the band moves between chunking rhythms and blasts of grind that are focused, relentless bursts of pure power.
Drummer Danny Herrera attacks his drum set like a madman, churning out speedy flurries and crushing downbeats with effortless precision. “All Hail The Grey Dawn” is highlighted by the off tempo axe work of Harris, as Greenway delivers stringent, upfront vocals that are truly magnificent. Shane Embury continues to be one of the greatest bass players in extreme metal, issuing thunderous sounds that serve as the backbone of Napalm Death, tearing away at his instrument with devastating fury.
Throughout the album, the group never lets up, continuing an awe-inspiring pace for the course of the album that is nothing short of amazing. Special guests on the record include Jello Biafra, Jeff Walker and the omnipresent Jamey Jasta. Long time fans of this legendary act will no doubt delight in this record, which is easily the group’s most consistently brilliant effort since “From Enslavement To Obliteration.”
To cut straight to the point, I have to say I'm pretty disappointed with this album.
First and foremost it's not even remotely a patch on the previous two studio albums, nor is it really what I'd come to expect from Napalm Death - although in hindsight what with the Leaders Not Followers sequel coming out prior to this, it does seem to make sense as to the new styling.
Make no mistake, this is noticeably far more punky than in my opinion Napalm Death have been for at least the last decade, harking back more their slightly mediocre mid-90's output much derided.
Quite what is going on with the production on this job either I don't know, as the songs themselves, when taken out of the context of being NAPALM DEATH songs, aren't actually that bad songs with a rather vicious streak. It's just that said viscious streak is ultimately let down by, again the punk influence, the really stripped down poor production sound. Kind of like if you envisage a nasty-ass rabid pit-bull.... only one which has had it's teeth all pulled out.
Sure it can still bite you and lock it's jaws on, but it's not gonna do half as much damage to your legs as it could have done.
I'm pretty much certain that there'll no doubt be a certain clique of people that will buy this album solely for the fact that it has a guest appearance not just from Metal Hammer flavour of the month (Hatebreed member) Jamey Jasta (in what in my opinion is a rather strange inclusion) but also from sheer utter legend of extreme metal himself, Jeff Walker (carcass), making his first appearance on a high-profile recording for quite some time now.
As much as I probably absolutely hate to rip into Napalm Death, especially as they were practically the first death metal band I got into & loved, this album really fails to interest me at all really as anything other than filler music. It kind of brings up comparisons between this and say 'Inside The Torn Apart' or the godawful 'Diatribes' album... only this one slightly fails to look remotely convincing standing up against those two.
If you listen to 'Enemy Of The Music Business', you'll no doubt hear the punky groove that's become almost a signature sound of Napalm's, only done with more subtletly or with more effectiveness. 'The Code Is Red... blah' just sounds too much like a death metal band trying to convince the world they were a punk band all along.
On it's own it's probably not a BAD album, certainly not a great one by a long shot, but put into context that it's Napalm Death, one of the most intense ferocious British bands that have existed...
After the expectation of something alltogether awe-inspiring created by the high-end nature of not just the ferocity but the quality when the band went from the superb 'Enemy Of The Music Business' to the slightly samey yet still darn good 'Order Of The Leech'... after all that, I'm afraid 'The Code Is Red...' quite simply doesn't live up to it.
Maybe it's just about time that Barney fucked off and made a punk band himself, rather than trying to unsubtlely forcing one of the most influential DM bands into becoming a rather mediocre 80's-punk-tribute bands.
Now, you won't find a lot of death metal or grindcore in my music collection, but I do know its history. And while Napalm Death didn't invent the genre, (as someone here on Metal Archieves pointed out) they're the band responsible for making it the (somewhat) well-known genre it is today. And while they did stray from their traditional sound in 90's, they are back making the music that made them (somewhat) famous.
What's really cool about this album is that it came out on Century Media, so it was available in the major chain stores that stocked metal music. It also came with a free CD that featured tracks from CM's death metal and metalcore bands. The compilation is kinda meh, but hey, free CD!
Anyways, getting into the music... What can I say? This is what death/grind is supposed to sound like! The blast beats, (a Napalm Death invention, BTW), the fast, distorted guitars, Barney Greenway's harsh growled vocals... The Code is Red, Long Live the Code is sure to appeal to all fans of the genre.
Now, there aren't any rediculously short songs on this record, which is good, cuz really short songs kinda turn me off when it comes to grindcore. Only the second track, Right You Are, is less than a minute long, and, following on the heel of the explosive opener Silence Is Deafening, it's well-placed. Additionally, there are only three other songs, of the 15 on the album, that don't make it to the 2:45 mark, and one of them is the instrumental closer.
Another thing that's cool about this album are the backing vocals, which accentuate the chorus on Silence is Deafening and really add to the epic four minute long(!) tracks on the album, The Great And The Good and All Hail The Grey Dawn. While they are longer than most grindcore, they maintain a fast pace throughout, and the four minutes goes by faster than expected.
In fact, all of the songs on this record are played with blistering speed, until you get to the end. Morale, the fourteenth of fifteen tracks, (clocking in at a total time of just over 45 minutes) is more of a mid-paced song, with Barney trying to sound like a death metal singer and long instrumental breaks. And are those keyboards coming in near the end? Well, whatever instrument they are, they continue on throughout the final track, an instrumental entitled Our Pain is Their Power.
Now, while it's not terrible, Morale does stand out as being weaker than the rest. However, it also seems that Century Media has pegged it as the single off this record, seeing how the music video for it is also included. If you end up seeing it on MTV, (don't ask me why you'd be watching MTV in the first place) and thinking that's what the new Napalm Death album sounds like, don't be fooled. Morale notwithstanding, this is an outstanding release.
Oh good god, this is sheer grind, brutal, fast, incisive. Everything that any Napalm fan could ever want, this is so good I'd call it a 'blasterpiece' it is that godly.
What makes it so amazing is how it is a proper throwback to what many call the glory days. None of the death metal experimentation here, this has the feel of an album that comes between 'From enslavement to obliteration' and 'Harmony corruption'. It is brutal, short and boy does it tear your face off.
Highlights for me are 'Right you are' Purely because of Barney's seething vocals, he sounds like he is about to pick up an automatic and simply go postal on this track. 'Diplomatic immunity' is pure vintage ND singing about politicians, their lies and how hide away from any form of consequence.
This album completes the comeback. After the stunning (personally my favourite) album 'Enemy of the music business' the band wavered a little on the follow up 'Order of the leech' While Leech was a sonic barrage, it had very little of the ND vibe. But this... By god it is awesome, if you loved the late 80's/early 90's Napalm Death then get out there and buy this record, it is truly awesome, simple as that!