They teach you in J school (which is bad slang for one who studies journalism) not to talk about older folks as if they are “as lively as ever.” Sure it’s damn straight rude, but you know…
So for example what care should this generation have for a band founded in 1981? Ever heard of Napalm Death? If not, well, quite frankly I’m ashamed. Perhaps I’m different though, for I think Bruce Dickinson is my Michael Jackson.
See, it’s unfair to say these English guys are the dreaded o-l-d, especially when they put out a record about every two to three years and tour consistently. But here is Utilitarian, album number 15. The thing is this whole 17-song saga about how to live ethically can be summed up easily: it’s a little different but exactly how you think it would be. It is loud, abrupt, and utterly in your face, meaning it’s the exact way this blend of death and grindcore should be.
Let’s go back to that consistency subject. What’s good in the hood of grindcore is in “Errors in the Signals,” “The Wolf I Feed,” and “Collision Course,” whereas younger excellent bands like Pig Destroyer have, um, disappeared. Utilitarian doesn’t really have low points unless you count the fact that it’s just a lot to take in. The sneak-peek song we heard weeks ago, “Leper Colony,” was chosen for obvious reasons. It’s digestible to those unfamiliar with totally unorganized loud aggression and a nice introduction to Barney Greenway’s style of yelling.
And dammit, it’s 2012 and grindcore still exists in original form of black and white d.i.y. album covers with sinister-looking characters. What’s unique about Napalm Death is there has always been something incredibly dark about them beyond the lyrical content (see the chanting in “Blank Look About Face”) and a layer of something disgusting on top of the sound. Mitch Harris’ guitar is just a little louder, Shane Embury’s bass is a little lower, and Danny Herrera’s drums never ever stop. It’s like a welcome back without ever really being gone.
By the end of “Everything In Mono,” the record gives no indication of ending- it just does. One awkward misplaced bass drum beat and it’s over. Let me emphasize no indication of ending. Sound familiar?