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  • Napalm Death has one foot in the obnoxious, raw energy of hardcore punk and the other in the dirty, aggressive chops of thrash metal. However, _Scum_ is a big extension of these genres rather than a narrow amalgamation of them.When the album begins, you might suspect that this is just another badly produced thrash album from the 80s. Nothing could be further from the truth, and once those grindcore assaults kick in, you’ll be viscerally aware this fact. The heart of (most of) these songs, framed and sometimes divided by simple thrashery, is the band’s distinctive contribution to metal: audacious assaults that basically consist of numbingly fast blastbeats and a greasy smear of guitars playing thrashy-NWOBHM riffs cranked to max-speed with incomprehensible, guttural vocals. The songs are all very short: at even with 28 tracks the album is over in 33-minutes (the shortest song, “You Suffer”, is all of two-seconds). Some of my favorites are “Control”, “DRAGNET”, “Divine Death”, and the eerily hypnotic “Instinct of Survival”.Why would anyone want to listen to this anyway? On the one hand, sonically it represents to me social decay, our regression back to primitivism in the democratic age. On the other hand, it’s very fun and intense listening, and catchy also. Ultimately, it is a great sound with power and intensity rarely matched (although you might not be able to feel that power if you aren’t able to take this music seriously). Both this album and _From Enslavement to Obliteration_ are essential metal albums. Napalm Death was the first to do something that countless bands have since attempted, but where Napalm Death succeeded in uncharted waters, most bands failed utterly while following in their footsteps. Highly recommended.

    Posted on December 29, 2009