Blast From the Past: Napalm Death – Death by Manipulation

Napalm Death date their roots back to Birmingham, England circa 1981. Throughout their lengthy and illustrious career they have released 14 studio albums, 4 live albums, 5 compilation albums and 9 EPs. A new studio album is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012.

Napalm has had a checkered past full of artistic ups and downs, money problems, contract disputes and constant lineup changes, some ex-members of Napalm Death have gone on to form or play in such famed acts as Carcass, Godflesh, Terrorizor and Cathedral. That hasn’t stopped a band whose lineup hasn’t included a founding member for decades; Napalm Death has become an institution that is here to stay.

Death By Manipulation is a release that is really a compilation of 4 Napalm EPs: Mass Appeal Murder (1991), Suffer the Children (1990), Mentally Murdered (1989), Napalm Death, S.O.B. Split EP (1989) and 5 bonus tracks taken from a 1990 live release entitled: Live Corruption (US Release Edition only).

This release is important because it does more than just highlight the group’s achievements in Grindcore; it shows Napalm Death’s evolutionary process from a band that is now considered a cornerstone of modern Grindcore music to one that has become a cornerstone of modern Death Metal. Few musical acts can make such a claim which is why any Death Metal or Grindcore enthusiast should check out Napalm Death’s music.

Death by Manipulation can be considered, for all practical purposes, a fifty-one minute crash course in the evolution of Death Metal. The album’s song selections are arranged in reverse order with the more recent tracks coming at the beginning of the compilation and the early Grind stuff coming at the end.

The songs on the album range from high quality production to literal basement quality tapes but that’s all part of the beauty of this release, hearing Napalm Death’s musical evolution from kids playing in a garage to bona fide artists. The musicians playing on the recordings are as varied as the songs themselves packing the group’s entire history in this 21 song extravaganza.

Highlights on the album include Napalm Death classics such as: “Mass Appeal Madness”, “Pride Assassin”, “Suffer the Children”, “Harmony Corruption” and “Siege of Power”.

The songs: “Rise Above”, “The Missing Link”, “Mentally Murdered”, “Walls of Confinement” are personal favorites because they are songs sung by Ex-Vocalist Lee Dorian, who went on to find fame in the Doom Metal band Cathedral, these songs are dirty, scratchy recordings that truly capture Napalm Death’s unbridled desire to try something different with their music, a true glimpse into a band that once was.

Death by Manipulation is an essential album for fans of extreme music that are unaware of Napalm’s contribution to these genera. It should also appeal to fans familiar with Napalm’s work since it contains highlights of the band’s more successful music, from Grind to Death, essentially making it a Napalm Death’s greatest hits collection. \m/

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David Halbe
About David Halbe (285 Articles)
I live in the USA and I'm a fan of all types of metal: Black, Death, Hair, Thrash, Nu, Core, Sleeze, Stoner, Groove, etc... I have a huge collection of heavy metal CDs and I have been attending shows since 1986. Nothing is too extreme or poserish for me, if it rocks it rocks. Metal is the music we all have in common, it is our lifeblood. \m/

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