Napalm Death is a British band formed in 1981. They are generally considered to be the founders of the Grindcore
genre, a fusion of crust punk and extreme metal.
Starting off as an anarcho-punk band, the band eventually developed a Signature Style
that combined crust punk and post-punk with early extreme metal (eg. Celtic Frost
, Possessed). After releasing a couple of albums which are now regarded as landmarks in the grindcore genre, they began taking influence from Death Metal
, playing a combination of grindcore and death metal (known as "deathgrind") to this day. Unlike many other grindcore bands, their lyrics do not focus on gore; the majority of their songs are political in nature.
The band's lineup changed considerably in its early days, and as such there are no founding members remaining. Several of its members have been involved with other notable bands, such as Carcass, Godflesh and Cathedral.
- Mark "Barney" Greenway – vocals (1989-1996, 1997-present)
- Shane Embury – bass (1987-present)
- Mitch Harris – guitar (1990-present)
- Danny Herrera – drums (1991-present)
- Nik Napalm (Nicholas Bullen) (1981–1986)
- Marian Williams (1984)
- Lee Dorrian (1987–1989)
- Phil Vane (1996–1997)
- Si O (Simon Oppenheimer) (1981–1982)
- Daz F (Daryl "Sid" Fedeski) (1982)
- Grayhard (Graham "Robbo" Robertson) (1983–1985)
- Damien Errington (1985)
- Justin Broadrick (1985–1986)
- Frank Healy (1987)
- Bill Steer (1987–1989)
- Jesse Pintado (1989–2004)
- Nik Napalm (Nicholas Bullen) (1981, 1985–1986)
- Grayhard (Graham "Robbo" Robertson) (1982)
- Fin (Finbar Quinn) (1983–1984)
- P-Nut (Peter Shaw) (1985)
- James (Jim) Whiteley (1986–1987)
- Rat (Miles Ratledge) (1981–1985)
- Mick Harris (1985–1991)
- Scum (1987)
- From Enslavement to Obliteration (1988)
- Harmony Corruption (1990)
- Utopia Banished (1992)
- Fear, Emptiness, Despair (1994)
- Diatribes (1996)
- Inside the Torn Apart (1997)
- Words from the Exit Wound (1998)
- Enemy of the Music Business (2000)
- Order of the Leech (2002)
- Leaders Not Followers: Part 2 (2004)
- The Code is Red... Long Live the Code (2005)
- Smear Campaign (2006)
- Time Waits for No Slave (2009)
- Utilitarian (2012)
Despite their place in music history, they're probably most well-known in the public eye for the song "You Suffer", which was included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest recorded song (precisely 1.316 seconds long).
This band displays the following tropes:
- Careful With That Axe: A few songs, including "Twist the Knife (Slowly)" and "Moral Crusade".
- Cover Version: Barney joined forces with Dream Theater for a live cover of Metallica's Damage, Inc.
- Creative Differences: The reason why Justin Broadrick left. In his words, he had "had enough of Napalm Death very, very quickly". Nicholas "Nik Napalm" Bullen did this too before shifting his focus to studying psychology and English literature at a university.
- Death Metal: Not initially; as mentioned above, they eventually switched to playing deathgrind.
- Dream Team: They have done a split with legendary metalcore outfit Converge.
- Also, the aforementioned collaboration with Dream Theater.
- Genre Popularizer: Whether they were the first grindcore band or not, they certainly caused genre to take off: they coined the term and are the most successful band in the genre.
- Grindcore: The Trope Maker and Trope Namer.
- Hardcore Punk: Their early demos.
- Harsh Vocals: Napalm Death are one of the bands responsible for popularising the excessively guttural death growl that became a staple of the heavier death metal bands.
- In Name Only: None of the original members exist.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: See how many members there have been? Yeah.
- Absolutely no founding members remain in the band, which possibly qualifies them for the largest amount of Pete Bests in one band. Interestingly, after losing all their founding members, they've had a more stable line-up than most metal bands.
- Miniscule Rocking: "You Suffer", which holds the record for the shortest song ever to be recorded: one second.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally a very solid 10.
- Motor Mouth
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast
- New Sound Album: Harmony Corruption, when they started taking on death metal influences.
- Protest Song: Every song by them. Even "You Suffer" manages to deliver some rather effective lyrics.
- Revolving Door Band/Long Runner Lineup: In the band's early years members walked in and out on a routine basis. However, excepting a brief hiatus of Barney Greenway's in 1996-1997, the lineup has been stable since 1991, making them an example of type 4 of the latter trope.
- Shout-Out: Sol Badguy's One-Hit Kill is named after this band.
- Soprano and Gravel: They've been using clean vocals here and there for a while now, with "The Wolf I Feed" and "Fallacy Dominion" being some of the more noticeable examples. Scum Side B features both low-pitched and high-pitched Harsh Vocals.
- Sweet Home Midlands: The original band members formed in Birmingham, which coincidentally is also the city Black Sabbath and Judas Priest came from.
- Trope Maker: for Grindcore, though there were proto-grind bands like Siege, Repulsion, and Swans that employed many traits of grind in a more primitive form. The Japanese hardcore act S.O.B. is the other main claimant to the title of "first grindcore act", though they were considerably closer to hardcore on Don't Be Swindle, which was released around the same time as Scum. In either case, both bands are friends with one another and carry deep mutual respect for their respective works, so it's not as if anything even resembling a rivalry exists.
- Trope Namer: The term "grindcore" was coined by Mick Harris, initially describing the sound of the band Swans to a friend. He also, incidentally, coined the term "blast beat" for the famous drum pattern that became commonplace in almost any form of extreme music (which he was also responsible for helping to popularize).
- Verbal Tic: Mark says "you know..." a lot in interviews.
- Vocal Dissonance: That short-haired, seemingly unassuming guy in the image above is Mark Greenway. Bet you expected him to have a much more menacing look.