Napalm Death is Grindcore. Grindcore is Napalm Death. There is no controversy. Only an infinitesimal minority could sincerely aver that Napalm Death aren’t the fathers of the genre. Forty years is a hell of a career, but they are back for a short EP – Resentment is Always Seismic – A Final Throw of Throes, seemingly a nod to 2020’s Throes of Joy in the Joys of Defeatism, a mammoth journey on its own. Admittedly, I have usually given Grindcore and Napalm Death merely a passing glance, beyond the memes regarding the song lengths, but this EP has been quite an eye-opening experience to the genre and the artist.
The Resentment EP starts without any warning, kicking you in the throat with the hyper-aggressive “Narcissus”, a crusty punk-laced grind fest with a pre-chorus frantic enough to cause a panic. “Narcissus” is easily among the heaviest and most straightforward Napalm track on the EP. In stark contrast, the next track is the first “half” of the title motif, “Resentment Always Simmers”, as the name suggests is a four-minute build-up with increasing tension building moments, with a chunky bass-kickdrum combo, and chanting vocal lines. After several listens of the EP, I found myself muttering “…voice your resentment, resentment always simmers…” to myself; a true testament to the catchiness and memorability of the vocal arrangements. Kicking us back into high gear “By Proxy” is more grindy goodness. I enjoy Napalm Death best when they go all out in terms of frenzied guitars and drums, and “By Proxy” is the go-to track for that vibe.
“People Pie” and “Don’t Need It” are covers of Slab! and Bad Brains tracks. Since I am wildly unfamiliar with the original sources, I cannot form a valid opinion of the tracks. “People Pie” is a plodding bassy track, with a bass groove in the forefront, yet failed to maintain any interest to these fresh ears. It’s interesting to note that many of the tracks in the recent Napalm Death catalog are over three minutes long, veering into standard death metal territory, defying the genre tropes and the memes mentioned in the preamble. “Man Bites Dogged” and “Slaver Through a Repeat Performance” are deathpunk tracks with few grindcore lines, and felt very “I have heard this before, and better versions of it too”, although with some level of diversity brought by Barney Greenway’s trademark grind punk vocal textures.
“Don’t Need It” is what we expect from grindcore, and from Naplam Death! Win!
“Resentment is Always Seismic (Dark Sky Burial Dirge) is the second “half” of the title motif, and is a doomy outro-run-long, and I found myself tuning out after my initial reaction to its noise-laden aesthetic. Meh!
The production is what I would expect from this hectic intense genre, a dense wall of sound. However, the bass is always at the forefront of both the songwriting and the production. I can only assume that this is yet another trademark staple of the Napalm Death repertoire.
As someone wildly unfamiliar with Napalm Death’s catalog but respectful of their legacy, Resentment is Always Seismic – The Final Throw of Throes is a grindy punk fest, excelling at its few frenetic moments but mired in too much bloat!