Napalm Death

From Enslavement to Obliteration

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Napalm Death's second full effort, From Enslavement to Obliteration in ways put the seal on what the band had done, with most of its members going off to pursue their own individual efforts soon thereafter, and as such is the perfect complement to Scum, showing the quartet both straining at the bit and honing its original approach to a T. Like Scum, it starts on a more deliberate pace, with "Evolved as One" hitting a slow, careful trudge -- everything is quite discernible, even Lee Dorrian's sore-throat roar style of singing -- which is all the better to build up the listener for whatever happens next. That combination of just enough variety with nuclear-strength ultimate velocity feedback, clatter, and barking once again does the trick; if it wasn't quite as thrillingly new as before, it's still unquestionably grand, making this album the Leave Home to the original's Ramones, if one likes. The song titles once again make it clear that fluffy bunnies aren't the band's subject du jour: "Unchallenged Hate," "Mentally Murdered," "Retreat to Nowhere," "Make Way!" There's a little bit of wry humor starting to surface at points, though -- thus "Cock-Rock Alienation," which somehow manages to be a critique of the modern music business' interest in sheep-like consumers even while blurring along in the expected fashion. Those moments where the band finds a more straightforward thrash-stomp once again show that the quartet could nail that when they desired, but as always it's when the group completely goes beyond the conventions that things just completely hit a new hit. Crazy high point: the four-second solo on "Uncertainty Blurs the Vision," which compacts a feedback shriek of ecstasy into the smallest possible space. [Early CD versions of the album included Scum and other extra tracks, though the two are now usually found separately.]

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