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Music / Napalm Death

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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) and the spirit of no wave and power electronics. 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 death 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, Jesu, and Cathedral.

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).

Current lineup:

  • Mark "Barney" Greenway – vocals (1989-1996, 1997-present)
  • Shane Embury – bass (1987-present)
  • Mitch Harris – guitar (1990-present; on indefinite live hiatus since 2014)
  • Danny Herrera – drums (1991-present)

Past members:

  • Vocals:
    • Nik Napalm (Nicholas Bullen) (1981–1986)
    • Marian Williams (1984)
    • Lee Dorrian (1987–1989)
    • Phil Vane (1996–1997)
  • Guitar:
    • 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) (RIP 2006)
  • Bass:
    • 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)
  • Drums:
    • Rat (Miles Ratledge) (1981–1985)
    • Mick Harris (1985–1991)

Guest Collaborators:

  • Glen Benton (Deicide) - vocals on "Unfit Earth" (Harmony Corruption)
  • John Tardy (Obituary) - vocals on "Unfit Earth" (Harmony Corruption)
  • Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) - vocals on "The Great and the Good" (The Code is Red...)
  • Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) - vocals on "Instruments of Persuasion" and "Sold Short" (The Code is Red...)
  • Jeff Walker (Carcass) - vocals on "Pledge Yourself to You" (The Code is Red...)
  • Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) - backing female vocals on "Weltschmerz" and "In Deference" (Smear Campaign)
  • John Zorn - saxophone on "Everyday Pox" (Utilitarian)
  • John Cooke (Venomous Concept) - guitars on "Hierarchies" (Apex Predator - Easy Meat)
  • Russ Russell - electronic effects on "Joie de ne pas vivre" and "A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen" (Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism)

Studio albums:

  • 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)
  • Apex Predator - Easy Meat (2015)
  • Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (2020)

You Troper:

  • Careful with That Axe: A few songs, including "Twist the Knife (Slowly)" and "Moral Crusade".
  • Cover Album: Leaders Not Followers and Leaders Not Followers Part 2
  • Cover Version: Barney joined forces with Dream Theater for a live cover of Metallica's "Damage, Inc".
    • The band itself covered "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" by Dead Kennedys, "Clouds of Cancer/Victims of Ignorance" by G-ANX, "Paracide" by Gepøpel, "Crash the Pose" by Gauze, "Back from the Dead" by Death, and "Avalanche Master Song" by Godflesh. And that's not getting into the Leaders Not Followers albums.
  • Death Metal: They're the Trope Maker for deathgrind.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their first two albums, while of course iconic in their own right, stick out among the rest of their discography, as they contain no death metal elements and are their sole releases not to feature Barney Greenway.
  • Epic Rocking: "Resentment is Always Seismic (Dark Sky Burial Dirge)" off of Resentment is Always Seismic is their longest song yet, clocking in at 6:03
  • 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: The band hasn't had any of the original members since 1986.
  • Lead Bassist: Nik Napalm was a Type B.
  • The Midlands: From Meriden, and Barney is well-known for his Brummie accent (which he takes great pride in).
  • Metal Scream: Barney Greenway uses a Type 1 while Mitch Harris uses a Type 3. Nik Bullen and Lee Dorrian before them used a Type 2.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "You Suffer", which holds the record for the shortest song ever to be recorded: one second. Being a grindcore band, they naturally have plenty of other examples as well, especially on their first two albums.
  • Motor Mouth: A staple of their music and the genre they helped create
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: If it wasn't obvious enough
  • New Sound Album: Harmony Corruption, when they started taking on death metal influences.
  • Post-Punk: A prominent influence on their modern material, particularly on tracks like "The Wolf I Feed" and "Amoral".
  • Protest Song: Every song by them. Even "You Suffer" manages to deliver some rather effective lyrics.
  • Revolving Door Band/Long-Runner Line-up: In the band's early years members walked in and out on a routine basis. Scum is a standout example of this trope in action as the band had different lineups on each side of the album; Mick Harris was the only person that performed on the whole thing. However, excepting a brief hiatus of Barney Greenway's in 1996-1997, the lineup was stable from 1991 to 2004, making them an example of type 4 of the latter trope, and hasn't changed in the studio since Jesse Pintado's departure in 2004. Mitch Harris, however, has not been able to tour for some time due to pressing personal matters and will likely continue to not be able to tour; John Cooke (Corrupt Moral Altar, Venomous Concept; also a live member for Anaal Nathrakh) is their main live fill-in at this point, while Erik Burke (Brutal Truth, Nuclear Assault, Sulaco) also filled in on an early 2015 US tour.
  • 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.
  • Trope Makers: For Grindcore.note 
  • 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. Beavis And Butthead poked fun at this when they reacted to the "Plague Rages" video, saying "It doesn't look like that voice should come out of that guy."
  • Vocal Evolution: Barney's voice was originally slightly lower and less gruff than it is now.
  • The West Midlands: The original band members formed in Birmingham, which coincidentally is also the city Black Sabbath and Judas Priest came from.