Napalm Death

Profile:
Band History Compiled by Adam Thompson

Originally formed in Birmingham around late 1981 and early ’82, it was some five years before the cheerfully named Napalm Death unleashed their debut LP, by which time they were virtually a different band going under the same name.

Founded by vocalist Nick Bullen and drummer Miles ‘Rat’ Ratledge – at the time in their early teens – they were initially inspired by the offbeat anarchist punk ramblings of Crass, The Apostles and similar groups familiar to the Crass and Mortarhate labels at the time. Having toyed with the name Civil Defence, this more threatening moniker was inspired by the film Apocalypse Now.

Teaming up with bassist Finbar Quinn and Robbo on guitar, they began working on a set of songs. They played several gigs early on with the likes of Chaos UK and Amebix, and recorded a couple of demos, Punk is a Rotting Corpse and Like Sheep We Have All Gone Astray. They began attracting moderate attention from fanzines and throughout the underground hardcore scene in general, and in ’84 they were featured on the Crass Records double-LP compilation Bullshit Detector 3 with the track ‘The Crucifixion of Possessions’.

Daz Russell, who was the major promoter of hardcore gigs in the area in the mid/late ’80s, got the band regular slots at the Mermaid pub and they began steadily building up a following for themselves. Following a brief split, Nick and Rat recruited Justin Broadrick and recorded the Hatred Surge demo in ’85. A much heavier, crustier affair than previous recordings, this three-song tape saw the band adopting a sound that took the dark atmosphere and grinding guitars of Amebix, the slightly gothic leanings and relentless pounding beats of Killing Joke, and mixed them with the harsher, aggressive approach of heavy anarcho-punk outfits like Antisect and Icons Of Filth. The tape included a slower, more powerful early version of ‘Instinct Of Survival’ (which eventually would appear on their debut LP).

Rat left soon after this recording when the other two started heading in a noisier, faster musical direction that didn’t suit his tastes. Mick Harris, who had been catching their gigs for some time, took over on drums and they recorded the demos From Enslavement to Obliteration and Scum. Inspired by the brutally noisy US hardcore act Siege, the style they were now playing was the most extreme brand of ultra-speed thrash imaginable, with totally incomprehensible grunted vocals and songs that often lasted no more than a matter of seconds.

When Nick and Justin called it a day, Mick carried on using the same name with his newly recruited ensemble of musicians. The new-look line-up featured Lee Dorrian (vocals), Bill Steer (guitar) and Jim Whitely (bass). Signing to the recently set-up Earache label (appropriately named), they entered the studio in spring ’87 to record a new set of songs for their debut LP. This new material would make up side two while the earlier Scum demo recording formed the first side of the record. The resulting album was a brutally over-the-top, sonic aural assault from start to finish.

In many people’s eyes they were the archetypal band in what became known as the ‘grindcore’ sub-genre – the bastard offspring of hardcore punk and extreme thrash/death metal (although the likes of Heresy and Extreme Noise Terror had also been playing similarly fast and aggressive music for some time). John Peel became a big fan, inviting the band in to record several sessions for his Radio 1 show between ’87 and ’90. Surprisingly, they became something of a phenomenon in the late ’80s, making a number of television appearances.

By the time of their second LP, From Enslavement to Obliteration, Jim had left to join Ripcord with Unseen Terror’s Shane Embury stepping in. Further line-up changes followed in ’89 with former Benediction front man Barney Greenaway taking over on vocals and Americans Mitch Harris (of Righteous Pigs) and Jesse Pintado (ex-Terrorizer) on guitar duties (the Mentally Murdered EP was the last release featuring Lee and Bill).

The early ’90s saw the band changing gear into more of a death metal style with longer, more complex songs. Meanwhile, Bill went full-time with his other band Carcass, Lee formed doom metallers Cathedral and Mick twiddled knobs for spaced-out ambient dub act Scorn along with OLD’s Jim Plotkin. Lee also ran the Rise Above record label while Bill ran Necrosis Records (as a subsidiary of Earache) as well as writing the thrash fanzine Phoenix Militia. Justin had a brief stint with alternative noise merchants Head Of David in ’86 before forming Godflesh – an ultra-heavy, semi-industrial hybrid of early Swans, Throbbing Gristle and grinding, cranium-crunching guitars (they were subsequently also signed by Earache). Shane played guest guitar on a record by British rap act Gunshot in the mid-’90s.
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Napalm Death Discography Tracks

Albums

NO 5 Napalm Death And, Like Sheep, We Have All Gone Astray(Cass, S/Sided) Obituary Tapes NO 5 UK 1982 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Scum album art Napalm Death Scum (Album) Earache UK 1987 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - From Enslavement To Obliteration album art Napalm Death From Enslavement To Obliteration (Album, EP) Earache UK 1988 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Harmony Corruption album art Napalm Death Harmony Corruption (Album) Earache UK 1990 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Utopia Banished album art Napalm Death Utopia Banished (Album) Earache US 1992 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Live Corruption album art Napalm Death Live Corruption (Album) Earache Indonesia 1992 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Fear, Emptiness, Despair album art Napalm Death Fear, Emptiness, Despair (Album) Earache Poland 1994 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Diatribes album art Napalm Death Diatribes (Album, EP) Earache Australia 1995 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Inside The Torn Apart album art Napalm Death Inside The Torn Apart (Album) Earache UK 1997 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Words From The Exit Wound album art Napalm Death Words From The Exit Wound (Album) Earache UK 1998 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Bootlegged In Japan album art Napalm Death Bootlegged In Japan (Album) Earache UK 1998 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Enemy Of The Music Business album art Napalm Death Enemy Of The Music Business (Album) Dream Catcher Poland 2000 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Order Of The Leech album art Napalm Death Order Of The Leech (Album) Feto Records UK 2002 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Punishment In Capitals album art Napalm Death Punishment In Capitals (Album) Feto Records, Snapper Music UK 2003 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Leaders Not Followers: Part 2 album art Napalm Death Leaders Not Followers: Part 2 (Album) Century Media Russia 2004 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code album art Napalm Death The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code (Album) Century Media Thailand 2005 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Smear Campaign album art Napalm Death Smear Campaign (Album) Century Media US 2006 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave album art Napalm Death Time Waits For No Slave (Album) Century Media Japan 2009 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Live In Japan (Grind Kaijyu Attack!) album art Napalm Death vs. Nasum Napalm Death vs. Nasum - Live In Japan (Grind Kaijyu Attack!) Feto Records UK 2009 Sell This Version
none Napalm Death - Live At Rock City album art Napalm Death Live At Rock City(27xFile, AAC, Album, 256) Earache none UK 2010
Napalm Death - Utilitarian album art Napalm Death Utilitarian (Album) Century Media US 2012 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat album art Napalm Death Apex Predator - Easy Meat (Album) Century Media US 2015 Sell This Version
TDD3, none Napalm Death - Hatred Surge album art Napalm Death Hatred Surge(Cass, S/Sided, Ltd) Not On Label (Napalm Death Self-released), Ax/ction Records TDD3, none US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

Napalm Death - The Peel Sessions album art Napalm Death The Peel Sessions (Comp) Strange Fruit UK 1988 Sell This Version
Napalm Death - Mentally Murdered album art Napalm Death Mentally Murdered (EP, Single) Earache UK 1989 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 14 Reviews

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The-Earth-Looks-Flat

The-Earth-Looks-Flat

August 20, 2018
edited 2 months ago
Napalm Death make great music, whether it's Hardcore Punk / Grindcore / Death Metal or whatever people want to call it (who cares?), anyway they make fast exciting and powerful music on each and every album they release, top band!

Check out this link for an interesting interview with Marc "Barney" Greenway
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brick-brick/201505/the-extreme-humanity-napalm-death-s-marc-greenway
FlammableDestrukktor

FlammableDestrukktor

November 2, 2017
edited 10 months ago
000024CPKX3 Mosh 109CD 926.109 (1994) Fear, Emptiness, Despair Non-Remaster. /
Diatribes 3CD Compilation MOSH9141 (2010) is a Non-Remaster compared to Noise For Music's Sake (2003) Remaster /
0000245BJX3 MOSH53CD (1992) Utopia Banished, Non-Remaster /
The DVD - MOSH 253DVD (2001) Very natural non-boosted violent middle, non-remaster. /
Punishment in Capitals CDVILED293X DVD Non-remaster, same sound as on the old SMADVD010 (2002) dvd. /
Then from 1997 to 2009, I only found non-remasters again (2017).
SeventhGun

SeventhGun

March 3, 2017
Very cool idea by Earache: Vinyl on demand. Our chance to get Words From the Exit Wound on vinyl for the first time:
http://ondemand.earache.com/napalm-death-words-from-the-exit-wound-vinyl
ratmaus

ratmaus

March 11, 2012
Anyone know anything about the 7" referenced in this article with electro hippies?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Suffer
We.Have.Explosive

We.Have.Explosive

October 3, 2011
edited 10 months ago
Prime grrindcore, to begin: loud, chaotic and intense. Two years dilution pushed Napalm Death into Morrisound where they pissed off half their fans by turning into a Death Metal band like any other with Benediction cookie monster Barney Greenway on vocals. Bill (Steer) and Lee (Dorrian) had gone on to great success with Carcass and Cathedral (respectively). Mick, noticing the ship was sinking, also went on to even better things with Scorn. The band currently recycles what they've been doing since 1990 for a living.

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