NAPALM DEATH – Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism
- by John Morrow
- Posted on 18-09-2020
If there’s one band in the world of extreme metal that needs absolutely no introduction, it is Napalm Death. A band that has, in their 39 years of existence (a phenomenal feat in itself for a band of this level of extremity), both started and stretched the limits of sonic excess, they have found success in the darkest regions of the underground and relished in their cult status. From their beginnings as one of the originators of grindcore through their move to classic death metal, and then on to areas of experimentation that have produced unbelievable results, their journey is one to be applauded. Since the release of their angriest record (2000’s ‘Enemy Of The Music Business’, for obvious reasons), the band have grown stronger, more intense, and downright enjoyable as the past 20 years have passed, and with their new album, ‘Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism’, they have found new heights of badassery.
All the elements that we’ve grown to love and expect are firmly in place: unearthly heaviness; blinding speed; vicious vocals; brutal lyrics; and a heady amount of adventurous playfulness. But the biggest surprise, especially with all that we’ve had to deal with in 2020, is the outright confidence that the band display in their need to destroy absolutely everything in their path. If this was the band’s debut record, their brash attitude would almost be expected – for a band whose youngest member is 50 years old, this is a portrait of a project that has not once lost an iota of their venom since their inception, and it’s completely intoxicating.
From the vitriol of the opening number (the uber-vicious ‘Fuck The Factoid’), the listener can sense that this is a band that will continue to flay the flesh from the body of conventional music until their absolute final breath. In and amongst the songs that thrash out with the best of them is a groove that cannot be taught or duplicated – this is priceless groove that evolves through years of playing together, a gust from the woodshed gods that lays the choicest foundation known to man. This is most prominent in songs such as ‘Contagion’, ‘Zero Gravitas Chamber’, and ‘Fluxing Of The Muscle’, but it can be felt throughout the record, and it is most welcome.
Experimental tracks like the sludgy, atmospheric ‘Joie De Ne Pas Vivre’, the modern hardcore vibe of ‘Amoral’, and the avant garde unsettling of album-closer ‘A Bellyful Of Salt And Spleen’ are all amazing to behold in their own right, but they serve as additional palette colours to an already vibrant masterpiece that is held tightly together by a band that know exactly what they want and how to get it. Just a few seconds each of soon-to-be classic Napalm ragers like ‘The Curse Of Being In Thrall’, ‘Acting In Gouged Faith’, or the blistering title track will silence even the harshest critics, and the record acts as a testament to the institution that is Napalm Death.
With such a vast array of amazing albums released this year, there is a (very slight) possibility that a new Napalm Death might be overlooked, and that would be criminal. This is one of the most primal and enjoyable releases from the grind kings, and it stands proud draped in its independence and extremity. For such a bold statement as this, the world of extreme music needs to take the time to absorb and revel in the mastery that is ‘Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism’, set to be one of the most classic in the band’s discography. Yes, it’s that damn good. Guaranteed.