Napalm Death are a national treasure. Since their formation way back in 1981, the band have been responsible for creating one of the most exciting, excruciatingly extreme sub genres in all of heavy metal: grindcore, whilst not losing an ounce of aggression and extremity throughout their thirty-seven year career.
The band have consistently expanded and dominated across other sub genres alongside creating some of the most intense grindcore records known to man, such their late 80’s/early 90’s death metal leaning output, the industrial tinged mid 90’s period, or their Swans-esqe walls of noise drone epics featured on their recent records. Napalm Death have proven time and time again that they’re one of the best extreme metal bands to ever do it.
Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs is a collective output of album outtakes, B-sides and other previously unreleased material spanning from The Code is Red… Long Live the Code, Smear Campaign, Time Waits for No Slave, Utilitarian and Apex Predator: Easy Meat album recording sessions. Arguably one of the finest top tier album streaks any band has sported in a long time, with Apex Predator arguably being their best release since their career classic From Enslavement to Obliteration.
Featuring thirty-one tracks over ninety minutes, Coded Smears covers all the best parts of what makes Napalm Death so brilliant. Ranging from the outright ferocity of ‘Standardization’, ‘Like Piss to a Sting’ and ‘Oh So Pseudo’ reeking of that classic Napalm Death grind they’ve perfected to an art form. The punk’d out stomp of ‘It failed to explode’ and ‘Losers’. The post-punk gone grindcore slabs of ‘Caste of Waste’, ‘Where the Barren is Fertile’ and ‘Oxygen of Duplicity’. Even the piano interludes of ‘Clouds of Cancer/Victims of Ignorance’ is a shock to the system, before landing a swift head-butt of blast beats and grind riffs right on the beak.
The list goes on and on as you work your way down the track list. This is a heavy session to take in all at once, as each track subdues and beats you into submission in different ways. For the casual fan this may seem a bit much, however there is plenty of variation throughout that keeps it all sounding fresh amidst the flurries of blast beats.
Whilst meant as a stop gap to fill the void between their previous rager Apex Predator and the rumored threats of a brand new record later this year/early 2019, Coded Smears stands up tall amongst Napalm Death's previous recorded output, at times even towering over. If you’ve loved everything Napalm Death have produced in the last ten years, then this is absolutely essential. If you’ve been a fan since day one, the point still stands. If you’ve only just discovered who Napalm Death are, the point still remains valid. Napalm Death are the gift that keeps on giving. Please don’t ever change.