Napalm Death, "Order of the Leech"
Napalm Death return from their successful rebirth on "Enemy of the Music Business" with "Oder of the Leech", or, as I like to call it, "Enemy, Part II". It's definitely a bookend album that continues on the path laid down by the previous album, with only subtle differences to really seperate the two (you know, riffs, lyrics, etc). Of course, anything that sounds even close to "Enemy..." is pretty much guaranteed to rip the face off most extreme metal out there, so this 'bookend' business is a very, very good thing. Basically, "Order of the Leech picks up exactly where "Enemy..." left off, full of Barney's massive throat, Danny Herrera's furious beats and the high speed riffing of Harris/Pintado. It's every bit as heartless, cold and brutal as "Enemy..." was, and that's saying a lot. All the tracks blow by in similar fashion, but some stand out, particularly the one-two punch of "To Lower Yourself" and "Lowest Common Denominator". Both songs have interesting riffs and definite hooks to sink in. Barney doesn't exactly care about things like "melody", so about the only variation you get in the vocal treatment is when Mitch Harris opens his screechy throat for some cool double-tracked lines. Still, I don't think anyone wants Barney to start singing, so this is just more good news. A little more variety in the song arrangements wouldn't have killed them, but at the same time, it's hard to complain when the material's this good, and the further you into the album you get, the better the songs sound. On the down side is that Simon Efemy's production is not as good as it was on "Enemy...". The drums are clickier and the mix has lost some of the warmth and thickness that made "Enemy..." so powerful. Still, the sound is good, and unless you A/B the CDs, you'll probably never notice it. Defying all the odds and spitting on their detractors, the old farts from Birmingham have done it again.
To Lower Yourself (Blind Servitude)