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Oct 25, Belfast - Limelight 1

Oct 26, Dublin - Vicar St

From The Vaults #19 | Napalm Death’s ‘Enemy Of The Music Business’

We live in a world of offices, constant pettiness and ingrained drudgery – and that’s if we’re even lucky enough to have a job.

This album is the absolute antidote to all of it.

A violent, vitriolic rejection of conformism and the daily grind.

Or at least that’s what it feels like to me. And for that I cant be without it.

Surpassing Ferocity

Explaining what makes it so good, or even so different from many other Napalm Death albums isn’t necessarily easy.

Because it’s not like Napalm Death hadn’t breathed fire down the neck of the establishment before: they’d already done it a hundred times by the release of this album in 2000.

Yet the ferocity of this album is still so surprising and unexpected as to knock you for six almost every single time.

It must be said they were sounding somewhat tired on 1998’s ‘Words From The Exit Wound’.

They’d spent the 90s trying variations on the death metal, grind and then groove fusion, with greater and lesser degrees of success.

You get the sense with this album though that they just got their anger back; they found once again the things that made them incandescently angry, and just let rip.

Taste The Poison

The massive anger of opener ‘Taste The Poison’ doesn’t come at its explosive beginnging, as you might think.

It takes right until the chorus, when a riff that could almost be described as beautiful soars from their guitars: uplifing, somehow above the grind, beyond the anger, almost in a moment of sublime exhalation after uncontrollable violence.

In that moment, right at the start of this album, they sum up the rest of it. It is a rush of endorphins.

Not since Pete Sandoval on Morbid Angel’s ‘Formulas…’ a year or two previously had drumming of the calibre of ‘Constitutional Hell’ been heard.

I think we all know by now that there are blastbeats and there are blastbeats; those that are there to fill space and those that are there to destroy the opposition and flatten argument.

The sheer speed and controlled intensity of Danny Herrera’s playing on this track, with that classic Sandoval dry snare tone, is an exercise in absolute devastation.

And remarkably, the whole album goes like this.

It never lets up. Ever.

Classic Napalm Death – but more so

‘Volume Of Neglect’ for example is in many ways classic Napalm Death, with that thick pulsation and acceleration into blasts, the locked focus giving way to unleashed chaos.

It just speaks to me as one of the ultimate expressions of what extreme metal is supposed to be about.

We all know that death metal nowadays is almost devoid of any anger, empty of agenda. If you think your favourite death metal album is heavy, stick it on after this. It’ll sound limp.

Grindcore’s Billy Bragg

It means something when Barney Greenway gulders ‘thanks for fucking nothing‘ down his mic before an outraged blastbeats comes in behind him.

Because frankly, he’s the Billy Bragg of extreme metal. His words matter, his thoughts matter, this band’s expression MATTERS.

The reason it matters is because it’s the sound of a rejection; rejecting unsatisfactory politick, neo-liberal excess, drone-worker alienation, and for them, the emptiness of the music business.

They got the title right. This album DOES sound like an enemy of the music business.


Because it is the sound of a band unbound, pissing on the normal way of things, angry, outraged, and saying it loudly, fastly, explosively, violently and confrontationally in a way that in all likelihood quite scares the record company staff who run many metal labels.


A Necessary Evil

So for that reason alone, you need to hear the chainsaw attack of ‘Necessary Evil’, the bloodthirsty death metal snap and grind of ‘Can’t Play, Won’t Play’ and the white heat blast frenzy of ‘C.S.’.

It goes without saying that legions of Napalm Death fans cling to ‘Scum’, ‘Harmony Corruption’ and ‘Utopia Banished’. All fair enough.

And, oddly, it could also be fair to say that this album has even been bettered in 2012’s absolutely astonishing ‘Utilitarian’.

I will always reach for this one, though. It was the sound of a band totally reinvigorated at the time. And it continues to provide a reminder to me of why I got into this music in the first place: namely that’s its about giving voice to all the stuff you cant do in a normal polite society.

Fucked off with the hollow meaninglessness of your eight to six? Stick this on and make it all better.

Until tomorrow, anyway.

Earl Grey ::: 15/08/15

  1. This is my absolute favourite Napalm album. No matter how amazing the other albums have been, this one cannot be topped, in my view.

    Also, I believe the track ‘Thanks For Nothing’ was a direct attack on their relationship with previous label, Earache. I remember a bunch of people talking about how their newfound anger and generally much better songwriting was due to the fact that they were finally free from their contract with them.

  2. Pagan Waltar Says:

    10/10 lp no question. Beginning middle and end are perfect. Completely destroyed the filler shit from the preceding 3 albums.

  3. It just blows me away and fires me up every single time. Its one of the angriest, most intense and incredible extreme metal albums ever made. I has to be. What else even comes close to this level of distilled aggro???

  4. Paul keohane Says:

    Definitely up there with the best they’ve done,beast of an album,they played Dublin on this tour.

  5. nazgulbrian Says:

    The streak they have been on since this album to present day, nearly 20 years into their career at that point is seriously great going! The first album I heard as a young fella was Order Of The Leech released after Enemy. Very little comes close to ND in terms of real aggression and honesty in my opinion. Even the best death or black metal that has tons of atmosphere or evil tone – to be honest its not the same as ND. They’re lyrical themes and attitude is about very real issues and by fuck do they play it with serious conviction!

  6. An amazing album, the aggression/power/style, the progression is perfect. Love everything they’ve done, but this was always the “holy fucking shit”!! album in terms of really flat out ferocity.

  7. An album of firsts for me. The first Napalm Death album I heard, bought at my first record fair. The first truly “extreme” metal album for me (with Slipknot S/T and “Midian” by Cradle of Filth being the heaviest listening up to that point) and the first album in these series that got me proper nostalgic. To the best ND album without doubt.

  8. When Barney is going full throttle the power and aggression in his voice is unmatched. The whole thing is a wall of insanity. A real standout album.

  9. It’s a great album, but the one-two impact of The Code is Red… and Smear Campaign were the ones that really knocked me for six. As a result, I tend to think of EOTMB as a starting point, rather than as an album in it’s own right.

    Dig Pearson isn’t the most reliable in the world, but I did find it interesting when he noted that Earache had funded them throughout their experimental 90’s phase (apparently, Words From the Exit Wound cost £40,000 alone) and, when they found themselves without the safety net of Earache, they reverted back to grind.

  10. Long time ND fan and this is easily one of their best no doubt, for me it’s a constant and a classic!!!

  11. leatherface Says:

    ‘C.S. Conservative Shithead Pt 2’ off this album is one of my favourites. A belter of an album.

  12. wobblechops Says:

    Absolute fucking beast of an album. When this was released it was the equivalent of JP releasing painkiller, an absolutely dazzling return to form, except ND have managed to stay on form and nail every album since to the fucking wall. What a band!

  13. An absolute monster of an album. NfuckingD!

  14. paulmcloughlin5 Says:

    KILLER ALBUM 10/10

  15. I thought it was just me that rated this album highly (along with the ferocious From Enslavement to Obliteration). Nice to see that a few of you out there think the same about EOTMB.

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