Napalm Death: Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism

Napalm Death

Reviewed by:
On 14 September 2020
Last modified:14 September 2020


The Old Guard of Grindcore bring out a much needed and standout album. Which will get anyone off their feet.

Let’s be honest, 2020 has been a sh*t year. From the Australian bush fires, to the explosion in Lebanon, and of course the plague that’s swept world and caused nearly one million deaths worldwide. It’s like the world is in a never ending state of grieving. And one of those stages of grief, would be anger. And my lord do I have the album that encapsulates that completely. Napalm are a band I’ve known about since I can remember.

Having a father who was a metal DJ in the 80’s and early 90’s he’d created a collection to make any collector blush. I’d often flick through his Vinyl records just to look at the artwork (mainly because, at 6 years old, I wasn’t trusted with a record and a needle). And through the Fleetwood Mac to the Candlemass records, there were a few that always stuck out to me. This album which had a Death-bat hanging over those smiling people with a mountain of skulls beneath them. And above it all was a name burnt into the artwork. NAPALM DEATH.

That name stuck with me and for a good reason. Napalm Death are, in my opinion, the heaviest band to have ever existed. Yes you can tune your guitars heavier and have your vocalist sound like Satan with a sore throat. But Napalm Death are a level of heaviness all of their own. With a speed that would leave Road Runner out of breath and in stitches. To these gritty riffs, that feel like you take it one twinge lower in tone so it becomes inaudible, but instead releases this primal urge to move and destroy everything in sight. Controlling this all would be Barney, with a vocal delivery that makes you feel like he’s gripped you by the ears and screaming in your face personally (in a good way though!). With the sound of pure and utter rage encased in this mans diaphragm. But with the lyrical skill to cut past all the pretentious bullsh*t that a lesser band may fall to. The lyrics are jet fuelled hot, and direct like a million pound surgeon with a scalpel, straight to the heart with no intentions on stopping. And yeah this is that album in a nutshell.

If you don’t like your metal with social and political themes, then this is not the band for you. The band has been political from day one and with this new album it doesn’t look like they’re stopping. It’s been five years since their previous work “Apex Predator” (an album that I think is arguably one of their best work), they’ve had a lot to talk about. In the space since their last album we’ve had Brexit, Election of Trump, Terrorist attacks, countless sexual assault allegations to the 1%, and so much more that if I wrote them all out I’d have to send myself back to therapy. And going back to this year in particular it’s like the band hit boiling point and just exploded into chaos and anger. And my god, listening to this album is therapeutic. Standouts to this album would have to be both “F*ck the Factoid” (the opening track) and “That Curse Of Being In Thrall“. Two tracks that would get an elderly punk from their deathbed and begin trashing everything in sight whilst trying to start a circle pit with anyone nearby.

My biggest gripe with this album in honesty is the run length. I need more, and I don’t want to wait another 5 years until their next album. I’ve had my Napalm fix but I’m already gearing for another. Hopefully we can all go see them live again once this pandemic is over and disease and stupidity is done with. Please, Please, Please listen to this album!

Tracklist: –

  1. Fuck the Factoid
  2. Backlash Just Because
  3. That Curse of Being in Thrall
  4. Contagion
  5. Joie De Ne Pas Vivre
  6. Invigorating Clutch
  7. Zero Gravitas Chamber
  8. Fluxing of the Muscle
  9. Amoral
  10. Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
  11. Acting in Gouged Faith
  12. A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen

Note: The limited edition Mediabook CD version of the album will
include three bonus-tracks: “Feral Carve-up”, “White
Kross” (Sonic Youth cover-version) and “Blissful Myth”
(Rudimentary Peni cover-version). The vinyl version of the
album will include the bonus-track “Air’s Turned Foul in Here”.


Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway – Bawling, shrieking,
intermittent baritone
Shane Embury – Bass reverberations, barks and moans,
noise-testing everyday objects
Danny Herrera – Turbulent beat throes

Links: –


The Old Guard of Grindcore bring out a much needed and standout album. Which will get anyone off their feet.

About Robert Laidlaw