As they are one of the originators of grindcore, there aren’t many people in the metal world who are unaware of Napalm Death. That being said, aside from their monumental opus “You Suffer,” and a handful of glimpses and tastes of their earlier work, I will admit I am not too familiar with the band’s actual material aside from listening to this release and I must say, boy, how I’ve been missing out. I can’t really compare it to their other works but there were some absolutely crazy curve balls that were thrown at me over the course of this EP. The bass is the first thing that hits you on the opening song “Narcissus” and it is both crushing and beautiful. The song then starts with the same groove when the band comes in and then erupts into a mosh-worthy thrasher sprinkled with blast beat-laden bridges, and already I am hooked. So far the album seems fairly typical of what I would imagine the originators of grindcore to put out. “Resentment Always Simmers” is more laid back with eerie, droning guitars overtop the majority of the track before coming back to the punky, thrash realm with the furious and short “By Proxy.” So far I understand what’s going on pretty well, but the curve balls don’t come until “People Pie.”
Now, I wasn’t aware the song was a cover until doing more research on this EP – the original band is called Slab! of whom I was previously unaware – but this track does an excellent job of highlighting the glorious bass tone on this album for starters. A pseudo hip-hop back beat, grooving bass riff, vocal rapping, and those gospel choir gang vocals that made me perk my head up and after a few verses is honestly a joy to listen to. “Man Bites Dogged” comes back around to familiar territory; another thrasher if a little slower than the others. Personal highlight for me is the pull-off riff over top of the slower thrash beat in the beginning. I will also admit that I was very surprised by the clean vocals making an appearance throughout the EP, they aren’t great by any means but being less than perfect reinforce the more grimey, creepy sections that are interspersed among the fast, intense, and groovy parts. “Slaver Through a Repeat Performance” blends some death metal- inspired riffing more so than the other tracks and shows off a bit more of the intricate musicianship the band is capable of. “Don’t Need It” is another cover, this one by Bad Brains, which fits a little more with Napalm Death’s repertoire and featuring a slightly different vocal style, is a short and great punky etude. The title track and final track brings back the groovy, eerie bass riff from the second track with an even creepier, dissonant drone over top. They call it “Dark Sky Burial Dirge” and “dirge” is a completely fitting word. The track continues on with industrial and even symphonic elements before fading out with dissonant sampling.
From the perspective of a first time listener, “Resentment is Always Seismic” is a pretty solid EP from Napalm Death. Looking back on it, it probably isn’t the best choice for an introduction to the band, but seeing as how it’s gotten me curious about the other parts of Napalm Death’s catalogue, I’d say it gets the job done. For those expecting a typical grindcore release, you’ll find that here, but there are some strange elements that show the band is capable of expanding their repertoire farther without losing touch of (what I imagine to be) their roots nor attempting to be more accessible.
Release Date: 11th February 2022
Label: Century Media
- Resentment Always Simmers
- By Proxy
- People Pie
- Man Bites Dogged
- Slaver Through a Repeat Performance
- Don’t Need It
- Resentment is Always Seismic (Dark Sky Burial Dirge)