All you need to know about Napalm Death is that they created grindcore. They made their first demo, “Halloween,” in 1982, but this 1987 album, “Scum,” was the band’s first real/official release. “Scum” has a somewhat retched production (these songs sound like they were recorded in someone’s garage), but, other than that, every ingredient for classic grindcore is in place, here. The band members skillfully combine death metal (violent barks and occasional high pitched shrieks) with speed of light thrash. Fueled by insanely fast, pulverizing, walloping blast beats, these songs careen, plow forward, and crush everything in sight (including the listener’s ear drums). These songs are also full of fret-board smoking (though somewhat repetitive) riffs and whiplash tempo changes. A couple mini guitar solos also sprout up (in “Polluted Minds” and “Parasites”).
This album has one last defining characteristic: short songs. Many of these songs are less than a minute in length (in fact, “You Suffer” set the record for the world’s shortest song-1.316 seconds), and the longest song on here is the title track, which is two minutes and thirty-eight seconds long.
Songs like “Caught…In A Dream” and “Born On Your Knees” are maelstroms of guitars and ultra-fast, crashing drums; “Scum” has blazing riffs and a pounding, head-rattling blast beat; and songs such as “Sacrificed” and “Success?” are backed by excellent, almost inhumanly fast drumming. Lastly, some songs–like the slower, churning, “Siege Of Power,” and “Deceiver” and “C.S.” (which both have jackhammer rhythms)– even manage to be kind of catchy.
Napalm Death will probably never get inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but they sure know how to get the listener’s head banging. This is absolutley essential listening for all death metal/grindcore fans, and metalheads in general.