Sunday Old School: The Godfathers Of Grindcore, Napalm Death
Band Photo: Napalm Death (?)
Having been credited with the creation of the grindcore genre, many people will claim that Napalm Death are among the most influential bands in the world of extreme metal and some people will go so far as to say they were the last band from Great Britain to have a signifficant impact on the world of metal. Like many great British metal bands such as Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, Napalm Death were formed in the Midlands area of England, starting up in 1981 in the village of Meriden, just outside of Birmingham. The band recorded a four song demo in 1982 and continued to perform regularly until towards the end of 1983 when they imposed a hiatus of sorts, with only one concert being performed in 1984 (a benefit show for the striking mine workers.) The band would return permanently in 1985 and performed many shows at their local pub The Murmaid, which was known to host hardcore matinees on the weekend. The band achieved a stable line up when drummer Mick Harris joined the group, complimenting the guitar sounds of Justin Broadrick and bass player/vocalist Nic Bullen. This lineup of the band recorded the first half of the now classic album, "Scum" in 1986, however before they could record the B-side to the album, both Broadrick and Bullen left the band. Harris recruited Bill Steer (later of Carcass fame) on guitar, bass player Jim Whitely and friend of the band, Lee Dorrian to join as the groups new singer, even though he had never sang before. This lineup recorded the second half of "Scum," completing what is now regarded as a classic in the field of extreme metal. The band replaced Whitely with bass player Shane Embury and recorded their second album, "From Enslavement To Obliteration" which was released in October of 1988 before Steer left the band to focus on Carcass full time and Dorrian quit to form the now legendary doom metal band, Cathedral.
The band recruited vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, of the British death metal outfit Benediction and their first international members in the form of Mexican guitarist Jesse Pintado, who had previously been known as the guitarist and founding member of Terrorizer and second guitarist Mitch Harris (who is from the United States of America) after touring with Bolt Thrower, Carcass and Morbid Angel. This lineup of the band recorded only one album, "Harmony Corruption" before Mick Harris decided to leave the band to form Scorn, leaving no members of the "Scum" lineup left. Napalm Death replaced him with American drummer Danny Herrera. These band members would then continue throughout the the 1990's recording eight albums together (Greenway was briefly fired from the band in 1996 and replaced with Extreme Noise Terror vocalist Phil Vane and while Vane never recorded with Napalm Death, Greenway recorded vocals for the Extreme Noise Terror album, "Damage 381" before returning to Napalm Death following the dismissal of Vane.)
In 2004, Jesse Pintado left the band and Napalm Death has since continued as a four-piece, releasing a string of critically acclaimed albums in the form of "The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code," "Smear Campaign" and most recently, "Time Waits For No Slave." Jesse Pintado sadly passed away in a hospital in Holland in 2006, after suffering from a liver failure. Napalm Death are a unique band because not only are they themselves regarded as hugely influential, but so are practically every band related to them. Lee Dorrian's Cathedral have become known as one of the best doom metal bands of all time and Bill Steer's Carcass has similarly been recognised as one of the greatest death metal bands in history. Justin Broadrick's bands Godflesh and Jesu have become recognised as influential and groundbreaking and even bands that only had small links to the band such as Extreme Noise Terror and Terrorizer have since become known as legends in the field of grindcore. While Napalm Death are often imitated, they are, as they say, never duplicated.
Napalm Death - "From Enslavement To Obliteration"
Napalm Death - "Incinerator"
Napalm Death - "Greed Killing"
Napalm Death - "Silence Is Deafening"
Napalm Death - "You Suffer"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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