Saturday, 11 June 2011

Mentally Murdered

We've had some slow, so now let's have a bit more go!  It's Napalm Death's seminal 'Mentally Murdered' EP from '89, the final release from the 'classic' Dorrian/Embury/Harris/Steer line up.  Recorded shortly before the band set off on their acrimonious Japanese tour, Lee Dorrian and Bill Steer would quit the band shortly upon returning.  So, a band very much on the brink here and this EP is audibly solid evidence.  It's not hard to discern the band's blatant attempts at resolving the simmering (sonic and personal) tensions that would all too swiftly overwhelm them.  Listen closely to the increasing song lengths and the favouring of (Master, Death Strike and Repulsion style) death metal tendencies they display, to the (eventual) detriment of their extreme hardcore (L'arm, Fear Of God and S.O.B. etc) influences.  Now, look again at the photo on the back of the sleeve.  Lee off to the left with a distinct gap between him and the rest of the band, wearing a Discharge t-shirt and a Confuse logo on his combats.  The rest of the band are off to the right, in standard issue metallers gear.  Shane (leather kecks!) and Mick with matching Morbid Angel t-shirts, Bill staring off into the distance, perhaps in contemplation of his future musical eviscerations with Carcass...  Possibly their raised profile on the back of the 'fastest band, shortest songs' media hype was proving to be so annoying that 3/4ths of the band felt sufficiently compelled to prove their credentials as serious death metal contenders?  Lee has explained (in Ian Glasper's 'The Day The Country Died') that he felt uncomfortable writing lyrics after Jim's departure and unable to reconcile earlier incarnations of Napalm's anarcho politics and DIY attitude with the other members (and Earache's) increasingly fervent pursuit of a more (mainstream) metal audience..  Didn't stop him signing right back up once he'd formed Cathedral though!  Hmm, sensationalist speculation, don't ya just love it?  Ahem, let's put it down to 'providing context' this time and move swiftly on... Indeed, please don't let all this tabloid intrigue put you off if you've yet to wrap yer lugholes around this ugly little beauty.  It remains a tsunami like high water mark.  A snapshot of state of the art extremity in the late '80's (anti)musical underground and a tipping point in the then ongoing evolution and collision of hardcore and metal.

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