Birmingham England's Napalm Death have always managed to remain true to themselves as a band. Despite many musical phases -- some of which alienated early fans during the 1990s when they issued albums that deliberately experimented with production, melody, texture, and dynamics -- they have always managed to sound not only urgent, but have pushed extreme music to suit their aims as a group rather than the other way around. Apex Predator- Easy Meat is ND's 15th studio album. The tempos vary, from all-out thrash to absolutely menacing grindcore to something approaching industrial metal. There is a looking back on the album, but it's not musically. Lyrically, they address the same global capitalist greed as they did on Scum 27 years ago; in the meantime, capitalism has evolved and attached itself like a leech onto nearly all living things. The raging death metal grind in "Cesspits" addresses the plight of the world's poor, who are quite literally living in holes as the more fortunate masses turn a blind eye to their suffering. Barney Greenway is at his growling roaring best as guitarist Mitch Harris lays out a knotty amalgam of angular riffs and bends. Drummer Danny Herrera is in pure blastbeat fury. Elsewhere, on the title track, Greenway uses his low-end Gregorian-esque chant a cappella layered amid reverb to slowly enter the emerging dirge led by Herrera's tom-toms, the full-on throb in Shane Embury's bass and, eventually, Harris' sparse yet groove-laden riff. "Bloodless Coup" is full-on thrashing death metal. "Hierarchies," an unhinged screamo orgy of riffs and grooves with a twisted, bridge, underscores how subtle and wide-ranging societal inequalities are along class and racial lines. The last of these 14 tracks, "Adversarial/Copulating Snakes," is also the longest at over five minutes -- an eternity for ND. It sums up not only the album's lyric themes, but its musical ones as well. The pace is not only intense, it's insane, and Greenway's screams and guttural roars seem to come from his marrow. Harris' galloping riffs are pushed into the red by the rhythm section. There are no signs of creative slowdown here. If anything, Apex Predator- Easy Meat ups the ante on all their post-2000 albums. How they top this is anybody's guess. Completely unrelenting; thoroughly amazing.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek