Napalm Death
Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism

Napalm Death, the greatest grindcore band ever, have just dropped their 16th album, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.   I have followed ND since Scum in 1987 blew my mind apart. I remember getting the LP and inside had an order form for Napalm Death shirts. I had to have my father get a check in pounds sterling to personally send to Earache Label owner Digby Pearson. I received a long and short sleeve. It was the Napalm Death death figure on front and the logo and figure were all in an embossed orange and white. I no longer have those, but I would wear those shirts to shows and fans would offer me money, back in 1987/88. I would tell them just send the dude money – leave me alone. Yes I dubbed Napalm Death the best grindcore band because they are. Many other phenomenal grind bands both old and new but Napalm Death constantly reinvent themselves and are forward thinkers in the sounds they create. This album is 12 songs in 42 minutes and the bonus addition has an additional 3 songs.

The first song ND chose to release, prior to the album release, was “Amoral”. My brother-in-law and I were like, ???? Hoping the rest of the album did not sound like this. When listening to the entire album, which I have done, approx. 25x now, the song actually fits on the album and incorporates some of their elements they have experimented with, a bit of drone, industrial and kind of their ’95 – ’99 more mid-paced albums era. But think of it in terms of, not a commercialized sound, but rather that slower style mixed with when they returned to the grind roots on the 2000 trailblazing Enemy of the Music Business style and since then – so it’s rather harsh and a bit noise influenced with some Swans influence. But I agree a weird song to release first. But right after “Amoral” the title track comes bursting through with the grindcore and the song is ferocious. Barney barking like a madman. Crushing song.

Yeah, I skipped around on the album a bit, but that’s kind of what this original and outstanding album does, since it skips around to various points in their 35+ year career. Danny, Barney and Shane are still the stable mainstays and Mitch Harris, who has not toured with the band in over a decade, provided his scorching signature guitar tone and his higher register screams. “Fuck the Factoid” does open the album in true Napalm Death fashion. A blistering grind number and Barney really kills it on this album, as he sounds his angriest to date and the music pulverizes with brutal, yet dissonant riffing. This is a pure chaotic opener and one of their most insane openers in some time. Once live shows return they have to open their set with this. It’s like a nuclear bomb went off and erupted a huge sinkhole to envelope all the political stoolbags out there. I love Shane’s fuzzy bass towards the end of the song and then while the song ends “Backlash Just Because”, begins and has Shane’s bass opening the song. Quite the continuity between the first 2 songs – super cool. The song is a very noisy mid-paced number with a lot of crust/hardcore groove with a slightly quicker pace which is a vintage Napalm Death signature part and then right into ferocious and I mean ferocious blast. The guitar riff is memorable and excellent as Mitch has some of the most creative riffing in all of extreme music.

“Contagion” incorporates various styles with the above mentioned 90’s era parts, but again, noisier and more chaotic and mixing in scorching grind whirlwind blasts. This has to be another song in their live set. It’s mauling.   The bonus tracks has a tune “Feral Carve-Up” which is a pure beatdown mid-paced moments with scorching and relentless grind blasting. “White Kross” (Sonic Youth cover) and “Blissful Myth” (Rudimentary Peni cover) are cool and different types of songs to cover. While I was never a fan of those bands they showcase the wide range of Napalm Death’s influences.

Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism has quite the striking album cover as well. Perfect color choices as the splashes of red blood across the white is intense. The album name goes perfectly with the album cover too. The music production is excellent. Loud, varied and in your face and the spot-on mix captures all the musical nuances with the chaotic parts and nothing is buried in the mix. It’s great to hear Napalm Death embrace all their various past albums with this all encompassing musical journey and make no mistake – this is a brutal display of musical creativity and grind perfection that never feels old and once again proves why Napalm Death are leaders and not followers. I can go on and on, but what’s the point? One of this year’s finest albums from, still, one of the best bands in the world. Buy or wind up like the bird on the album cover.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 5th, 2020


  1. Commented by: J. Mays

    I can’t confess to being a Napalm Death fanboy, but I love their spirit. They are still making blisteringly heavy, creative, bad ass music, and have been around almost as long as I have been alive.

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