Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism by Napalm DeathRelease date: September 18, 2020
Label: Century Media Records
Not much needs to be said about the godfathers of grindcore that hasn’t been written a million times before… including this sentence. Birmingham’s sons of anarchy Napalm Death practically wrote the book on grindcore and their impact in the metal genre, not limited to purely grind artists, is evident in a lot of todays extreme music. Like graffiti on a club wall their blueprint will perpetually remain for others to tinker with.
Modern era Napalm remain just as brutal and necessary as they’ve ever been, but the extensive gap between Apex Predator – Easy Meat and new 16th album Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism has allowed for a more expansive and expressive sound to grow. It would be hard to see a politically-driven band like Napalm Death lose their abrasive touch considering the many ills that ooze from our worldly climate. Situations are more intense than ever and the battering, harsh fury of a new Napalm record is just what the doctor ordered.
Right off the bat ‘Fuck the Factoid’ slams hard with blistering blast beats from Danny Herrera and stomping groove sections, and being an instant case in point that the veterans have plenty of venom left in them. Continuing the riotous noise is ‘The Curse of Being in Thrall’ making one’s heart pound with sporadic blasting events and tuneful fist-pumping riffs. Next up is the pandemic-sized banger ‘Contagion’ and its rip-roaring climax of heavy clattering blasts and foot-pummelling catchiness.
The album’s first real curveball is the avant-garde and experimental ‘Joie De Ne Pas Vivre’, packing in twisted industrialised ambience and Embury’s heavy bass plucks against an oral force of vocal vitriol, making this a joyously grim standout track! ‘Amoral’ changes gears once more with a toned-down Killing Joke-esque number before the beat-heavy ‘Zero Gravitas Chamber’ returns the pace with a mid point tear down of teeth gritting, head banging riffage ripped from the old school of extreme metal.
Title track ‘Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism’ riles up the blood pressure from the opening salvo of Barney’s isolated, cavernous voice, which suddenly throws you into a whirlwind of violent chaotic blast-gasms and urgent riffage. Closing track ‘A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen’ ends the album on an epic Swans vibe, with clattering, commanding drums leading a soundscape of haunting industrial ambience.
There’s plenty of nuance to laud in these twelve stomping tracks. For example, head to earworm ‘Fluxing of the Muscle’ for the albums catchiest riff. The majority of the album is Napalm through and through with a few extra tasty side dishes to make this an album of modern grindcore brilliance and one of their strongest to date. Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism is an uncompromising album that features past, present and future sounds from a band who never let their game slip. With each era Napalm Death still seem to remain current and at the frontline of the genre and returning each time with a powerful message to convey under the weighty brutality of their music. The five year wait has been rewarding and the outcome has been an enthralling listen.