Over three years have passed since stalwarts and hegemonists of the British extreme metal scene, Napalm Death, unleashed their latest studio album, 'Apex Predator - Easy Meat'. While this new release, a double album compilation that's said to feature "rarities and exclusive earworms spanning 2004-2016", offers no new material as such, certain people will be hearing some of this stuff for the very first time. 'Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs' includes bonus tracks from previous albums (some only ever made available in Japan); songs from split EPs; leftovers from recording sessions; B-sides; and covers.
It's quite the collection. Over an hour and a half of Napalm Death's grind/death/hardcore brutality... and then some. And with enough grooves that'd undoubtedly make even Bruce Campbell declare his perennial 'Evil Dead' catchphrase. It also offers a far more varied listen, in terms of stylistic divergences, than a new Napalm album. Not only do we have a sonic diachrony of 12 years' progression, but tracks that are atypical for the band, such as 'Oxygen of Duplicity' (a down-tempo and darkly atmospheric piece), and 'Caste As Waste' (the latter has some Atheist-styled passages... to my ears).
The production quality varies between some of the pieces, although is generally strong enough throughout. After all, we're talking about post-2004 recordings, not rarities from the distant past. And the ever-reliable Russ Russell is credited as taking "care of the audio treatment of the material"... so I'm guessing it's been tarted-up in some kind of remastered form.
There's not much more to say, really. It is what it is - a fine collection of rare tunes from one of the music scene's most unique and influential bands, and from a bunch of people who actually give a genuine fuck about the environment and all the social injustice and warped prejudice that plagues our world. Long live Napalm Death!
CODED SMEARS AND MORE UNCOMMON SLURS
Review by Mark Holmes
46:24 & 46:15
30th March 2018
CD1: 1) Standardization; 2) Oh So Pseudo; 3) It Failed to Explode; 4) Losers; 5) Call That an Option?; 6) Caste as Waste; 7) We Hunt in Packs; 8) Oxygen of Duplicity; 9) Paracide; 10) Critical Gluttonous Mass; 11) Aim Without an Aim; 12) An Extract (Strip it Clean); 13) Phonetics for the Stupefied; 14) Suppressed Hunger; 15) To Go Off and Things
CD2: 1) Clouds of Cancer/Victims of Ignorance; 2) What is Past is Prologue; 3) Like Piss to a Sting; 4) Where the Barren is Fertile; 5) Crash the Pose; 6) Earthwire; 7) Will by Mouth; 8) Everything in Mono; 9) Omnipresent Knife in Your Back; [plus 7 more tracks]
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a fine collection of rare tunes from one of the music scene's most unique and influential bands..."