You can tell that Bootlegged in Japan isn't a bootleg because no intelligent bootleggers would go out of their way to draw attention to the fact that they have manufactured something illegally. Of course, many Napalm Death bootlegs have been sold in the underground market, and this CD came about after members of the influential grindcore/thrash metal band came across bootleg tapes of a 1996 performance in Tokyo. Feeling that a bootleg tape of an August 5, 1996 show at Tokyo's Liquid Room "captured the true uncompromising live spirit of Napalm Death, " the band decided that the recording might as well be sold legally. To be sure, Bootlegged in Japan does capture Napalm's brutal urgency. With a Napalm lineup that includes Barney Greenway on vocals, Shane Embury on bass, Mitch Harris and Jesse Pintado on guitar. and Danny Herrera on drums, the headbangers are in excellent form on ferocious, enraged performances of numbers ranging from "The Kill" and "Cursed to Crawl" to "Siege of Power," "Lucid Fairytale," and "Unchallenged Hate." A cover of the Dead Kennedys' "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" proves interesting -- Greenway's growl doesn't allow you to make out many of Jello Biafra's right-on-the-money lyrics, but you can definitely feel the urgency he brings to the punk classic. Obviously, grindcore isn't for everyone, but die-hard Napalm fanatics will agree that the band is in fine form on this CD.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson