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Of course this is great - 85%

Noktorn, March 8th, 2009

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.