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The return! - 80%

Noktorn, February 27th, 2010

Oh man, here we go: the oldschool logo and collage-style artwork returns along with an updated version of the sound from albums like 'Harmony Corruption'. This is the start of Napalm Death fourth and current musical phase: their breed of modernized but still brutal death/grind without the experimental waffling or hardcore leanings of the last phase. That had its moments, but most fans (and probably the band themselves) wanted a return to a more traditional Napalm Death sound defined by blasts and screaming rather than funk drumming and spoken word interludes.

Musically this is very similar to albums like 'The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code'. Roots in albums like 'Utopia Banished' are clear, but this is most certainly a slicker, modernized version of that sound firmly located in the realms of modern death/grind. While the punk edge of material has not been entirely lost, it's been synthesized into the greater death/grind whole and generally appears in more obvious forms as a burst of thrashy riffing here and there or some scattered d-beats. The core of the riffing is entrenched in modern death and grind ala Nasum, though certainly with the rhythmic edge that Napalm Death has so powerfully cultivated throughout their career.

While 'Enemy Of The Music Business' isn't really anyone's favorite Napalm Death album, it's amazingly consistent, particularly coming off the heels of the last era, and has more than a few tracks which are second-tier Napalm Death classics. 'Vermin', 'Thanks For Nothing', 'Cure For The Common Complaint', and 'Necessary Evil' (the last of which is the first Napalm Death song I ever heard) are all powerful slabs of death/grind, and the others are really no weaker. The remarkably powerful production and guitar tone contribute to the overall crushing quality of the record; it's definitely a step up from the slightly flat and dry sound of previous releases and is probably the best the band had up to this point in their career.

Moreover, this is just such an excruciatingly angry album; the overall theme of corporate hatred comes through very clearly. Greenway sounds about ready to murder someone on tracks like 'Thanks For Nothing', and the other musicians are right behind him in aggression. This is a good summation of the album: while it's not saying anything new, it's saying those typical things in a remarkably intense and effective manner. Recommended for death/grind fans and Napalm Death devotees in particular.