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Complete Radio One Sessions (BBC)

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  • Already released once as “The Peel Sessions”, four more tracks recorded in 1996 for the BBC Friday Rock Show have been tacked on as an added enticement. The primary raison d’etre of this package seems to be to give American fans a chance to pick up this material; the “Peel” disc was in fact an import, and even at it’s moderate price was scarce in the US. That being said, there’s little incentive for owners of that CD to pick up this new release. The artwork is as atrocious as that on it’s foreign counterpart, and the vocals on the songs from ‘96 are mixed way back in the cheap seats. But fans discovering these versions for the first time will find a wealth of rage and hostility greeting them in the ultra-brief, ultra-violent forays into the band’s early material. For those unfamiliar with the John Peel program, guests on the show are given four hours of studio time to lay down takes of however many songs they can manage in that time period. These restrictions don’t allow the bands the luxury of editing or post-producing the output, so basically it’s set the knobs on the control board and let `er rip. What comes out is a jaw dropping maelstrom of malcontent, rendered in brief, concentrated bursts (the echo following Napalm’s performance of “You Suffer Part 2″ actually lasts about four times longer than the song itself). Aside from the last four tracks, everything else is from those first three pre-death metal grindcore albums, resembling a musical train wreck witnessed from an uncomfortably close position. Napalm Death have now moved on to greener pastures while preserving their integrity, but “The Complete Radio One Session” reminds us of the energetic fury which once came ripping from a nation’s loudspeakers, and on public radio, no less. Only in Jolly Old England.

    Posted on March 15, 2010