Total Time: 42:26
Label: Century Media
There’s a legendary quote from a cult ‘80s, Greek movie entitled “Hooligans”, which says that “the truth lies in SEX PISTOLS “, but actually, ladies and gents, the truth lies in NAPALM DEATH.
NAPALM DEATH are definitely (and rightly so) famous for their integrity, a fact that is due to their straightforward, explicit political stance that goes hand-in-hand with their lyrical content. In addition, this is also because the group consistently maintains an anti-rockstar attitude without betraying their underground origins by constantly using all kinds of marketing tricks in order to increase popularity in the mainstream metal audience (whose majority – let’s be frank – consumes music in an ephemeral basis, just like eating junk food). Whatever these guys from Birmingham have achieved so far, they have done it exclusively with their personal hard work and dedication to their music; however, they have never rested on their laurels, so despite their nearly 40-year course, you won’t find even one person today who would label NAPALM DEATH as “dinosaurs”. After all, although we are talking about the band that invented grindcore and established itself as one of the “pillars” in the evolution of the extreme metal / hardcore sound throughout the years, the music of NAPALM DEATH never remained stagnant (as is the case with other grind acts that became quaint), but it was enriched at times with various other influences.
As a result, by listening to “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism”, a loyal fan won’t be surprised with songs like “Amoral” (it clearly has a KILLING JOKE vibe), or “Invigorating Clutch” and “A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen” (which show influences from acts like SWANS and GODFLESH), because these elements had gradually been incorporated in the band’s sound already from its two previous albums (“Utilitarian” & “Apex Predator – Easy Meat”), however, they seem now to be fully integrated, making NAPALM DEATH sound today more interesting and relevant than ever before. Of course, “Throes of Joy…” does not fall behind in the always anticipated “grind storms” such as “Fuck the Factoid”, “Backlash Just Because”, “That Curse of Being in Thrall” or the title track of the album, as well as in the deadly up-tempo “grooves” with head-chopping riffs in songs like “Contagion”, “Zero Gravitas Chamber” and “Fluxing of the Muscle”. Overall, I have to say that we are dealing with the most complete NAPALM DEATH album for a long time, both in terms of diversity and songwriting inspiration. The exceptional production and mixing of “Throes of Joy…” is once again the work of the Brummies’ permanent co-worker, Russ Russell, while it’s worth noting that the guitar parts were recorded by both Shane Embury and Mitch Harris (the latter has now left the band for good).
In conclusion, I believe that “Throes of Joy…” is a release that will be mentioned in the future as one of the group’s most qualitative works, while it is comfortably included in the best albums of 2020. And no one can take it out of my mind that NAPALM DEATH is one of the few bands around that make this fucking world a better place.
Editor: Yiannis Pousios
Related Link: NAPALM DEATH – Official Page