After briefly parting ways with longtime frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway in 1996, the remaining members of Napalm Death had almost immediate second thoughts and welcomed him right back, then ran straight into the studio to record their seventh studio album, Inside the Torn Apart, just like business as usual. Not that "usual," however, since the aging veterans of U.K. grindcore were still very much engaged in the experimental middle period of their career, a period in which they gamely attempted to broaden their sound beyond their unforgivingly extreme origins, only to meet with widespread scorn from many of their so-called biggest fans. Sifting through the offending parties: the title track's numbing perseverance recalled the exploits of New York noise rockers Helmet, while the bountiful counterpoint riffs exchanged by guitarists Mitch Harris and Jesse Pintado on "Breed to Breathe," "Birth in Regress," and "The Lifeless Alarm" touched on influences as diverse as Prong, Machine Head, and Godflesh, respectively. But there were also several familiarly brutal thrashings to be found here (see "Reflect on Conflict," "Lowpoint," "Prelude"), and it was only because even these eventually tried to keep things interesting (God forbid!) by changing tack via slower passages or cleaner guitar parts that a vocal fan minority was apparently left traumatized. Ironically, these were some of the same people who would later bitch and moan when Napalm Death gave up trying to progress and simply started reliving their heady early grindcore days, so never mind them; just know that Inside the Torn Apart, while anything but perfect, now stands as one of the Birmingham bunch's most unique albums.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia