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Stuff the code - 69%

AtteroDeus, May 7th, 2005

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.