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A gem from the early days - 80%

dfry, May 16th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1990, CD, Earache Records

Napalm Death’s development was like many bands, a steady shuffling of puzzle pieces. The players from their exceptional debut were splintered in a thousand directions rather quickly. In fact, three years later only drummer Mick Harris remained. The lineup would continue to shift, but this snapshot of players proved to be special. “Harmony Corruption” is a strong, no-frills death metal record that retains their powerful blast beat-crazed style along with corrosive crust-punk guitar riffing, all served up in a collection of longer songs that stand the test of time.

Barney Greenway’s gurgling vocals were not for the faint of heart, particularly in 1990. But listening back to the album now, it’s hard to imagine cuts like “Malicious Intent” with anyone else, crunching hard-panned riffs woven between Harris’ blasting madness sound fantastic with Greenway’s trademark rumbles. Embury’s bass tone is a foul, deafening roar that may not lead the charge outright, but it’s emergence about a minute into “Inner Incineration” just kicks all kinds of ass. “Suffer the Children” also tears out of the blocks with head-bruising thrash action, before eventually settling on a near-perfect bone-grinding doomy riff. Closer, “Hiding Behind” is the strongest on the entire album, particularly thrashy, Greenway barking and spitting out metallic filth in nightmarish fashion.

It’s not all top-shelf. “The Chains That Bind Us” cycles through some of the best riffs on the album (particularly after the solo), but the band doesn’t give them time to breathe. This “hurried” effect does drag down some of the otherwise excellent songs. Fortunately, a few “busy” tracks don’t undercut the quality of the album. “Harmony Corruption”, a true gem from the early days of death-meets-grind.