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Album Review: "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" (2015) by British Death Metal Band Napalm Death

Updated on November 10, 2017

A Photo of the Band Napalm Death

From left to right: Danny Herrera, Mark "Barney" Greenway, Shane Embury and Mitch Harris.
From left to right: Danny Herrera, Mark "Barney" Greenway, Shane Embury and Mitch Harris.

This album is Not Typical of This Band

The album called "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" is the 2015 studio album by British death metal band Napalm Death. The album represents a sort of different era and musical style from this band than what fans have been used to.

How is Apex Predator - Easy Meat Different from Other Albums of the Band? The Vocals

The first noticeable difference between this album and 1992’s Utopia Banished is that the vocals of Mark “Barney” Greenway are louder, rougher, and they sound like the vocals from a very heavy Finnish band called Scalping Screen.

What is the Meaning Behind the Album's Title?

Some of us may wonder what the meaning is behind the title Apex Predator Easy Meat. In an interview with Germany’s Rock Hard Magazine in 2015, Greenway said that the title of the album comes from evolutionary terminology. It refers to anything that sits at the top if the food chain such as a shark in the ocean or the lion in the jungle. The strong always overwhelm the weaker organisms and this has been the case throughout human history. The meat refers to the people (average people) that are being subjected to harsh working conditions for low pay in some countries. As Barney says, it is the big companies that really control things and they make the decisions. In their opinion, making clothes cheaply is good while anything expensive is bad. The album’s title speaks of the challenging and sometimes rough world that we live in.

Mark "Barney" Greenway Explains Where the Album's Title Comes From

The First Song Does Not Define This Album

Though the album with its title track starts in rather bizarre fashion with Barney uttering some deep, low dialogue as if something spooky is about to confront us, the album does not stay substandard. In fact, this more modern version of grindcore death metal is still pretty good.

Napalm Death May Have Been the Originators of the Hardcore Vocal Style and They Are Not Boring

The next song called Smash a Single Digit sees Barney Greenway using his clean vocal approach before switching back to the hardcore heavy shouting. Napalm Death may have been the originators of this style of vocals but other bands such as Pantera in 1994 and then later St. Hood would use a hardcore style of thrash and vocals. Napalm Death has not gone away from their trademark harsh shouts, extreme drumming and short songs with no solos. Normally bands without guitar solos would bore most heavy metal fans but this band isn’t boring for those that enjoy their music.

What is the Biggest Flaw With this Album?

However, one flaw with this album is that it relies too much on slower, slushy heavier riffs and they make it too obvious that they try to sound like a hardcore band.

What are Some of the Lyrical Themes in the Songs? Why is There Experimentation With the Vocals?

The song called How the Years Condemn brings awareness to the fact that human beings are not invincible or indestructible and that we must remain on Earth for our family members that we love and to appreciate those true friends that always helped us out when we needed them to assist. It is always said that we should face our fears rather than fear the unknown. Perhaps that’s why Barney’s vocal style got even rougher. He may have thought by experimenting with his vocals that he could offer something different to his listeners rather than the same vocals we have been hearing since he joined the band back in 1989. The song called Dear Slum Landlord is a song criticizing a landlord that thinks he is trying to make life safer for his tenant but he is making life harder for his tenant. The song starts with regular, low vocals, something that we normally would not see from Napalm Death.

The Song Called Hierarchies

How is the Rest of the Album?

The song called Timeless Flogging makes reference to the fact that there are certain instruments that can be dismantled if the government of the country has enough influence to make that happen. That’s the impression that I get from this short, intense song as the band objects to the use of dangerous instruments that are used to bring a country’s citizens to harsh conditions. With the song called Beyond the Pale there is incessant repetition of the words “beyond the” as there is a tendency for the vocals to sound like Cradle of Filth. However, the song called Stunt Your Growth brings awareness to genetically modified foods having an adverse effect on the body and that it will stunt the growth in children. Big corporations have so much influence that it is because of them that there are certain foods that are marketed and sold as the population gets sicker when they consume these foods. The band brings awareness to the situation that we have to be careful not to be brainwashed and buy these foods. The band has also tried to point out the flaws of human nature like in the song called Cesspits because the song is describing steps that should be taken to contain the human sludge or foul sludge. Hierarchies is a song that represents an interesting moment in the career of this band. They are trying harmony style vocals and in this song it really works! The song is about how throughout the history of mankind wars have been started that have led to the massive loss of life. The band also tries to point out that the world that is in front of our eyes now has gone against how humans really evolved. Darwin’s theory of evolution certainly has its merits and values but there is something to be said about what the Bible says about how human life began.

Official Music Video for the Song How the Years Condemn

The Song Called Smash a Single Digit

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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