Serving as a stop-gap between the brilliant Apex Predator/Easy Meat and their next full-on studio release later this year, Grindcore godfathers Napalm Death have offered up a real treat for die-hard fans. Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs serves as a compilation of basically anything that has never been readily available before and spanning 12 years and over 90 minutes in length there is much to delve into.
It, of course, inevitability kicks off with the signature classic Napalm Death “Grindcore” sound with the track ‘Standardization’. It serves as a testament to the boys in ND that this kind of song never ever sounds old, tired or played out. They’re just so unrelenting and uncompromising in their delivery that it sounds like it could all come to a crashing halt at any point.
The next few songs offer up more of the same until we get to ‘Oxygen Of Duplicity’ which really took me back with its really slow pace and lurching heaviness – something I’d like to hear an awful lot more of on future ND records. Finding out through the liner notes that this was from a split release with The Melvins makes perfect sense and puts the song into perfect context. There are also two covers on the first disc, with the cover of The Cardiacs ‘To Go Off And Things’ being a highlight of the entire double disc set.
The second disc feels slightly more lacklustre and for me is where things started to drag even though the majority of the tracks are one to two minutes in length, though to say there is anything particularly bad would be harsh though, as the brilliant five-minute ‘Omnipresent Knife In Your Back’ comes at the midway point and thus breathes life back into the record. This track comes straight from the Time Waits For No Slave era and oozes the same quality as that record did.
Similarly, in the same vein is a cut from Smear Campaign (all Century Media) sessions, ‘Atheist Runt’, and again the different feel to this compared to a regular ND track gives it a weightier, more epic feel. Hearing ND be this heavy in such a different way to their norm is really refreshing and again something I really want to hear more of.
Whilst the runtime may deter some more of the casual fans or newcomers, for veterans of the band this a great way to find all of the obscure tracks the band has released without having to wade through the albums to find each one. This collection really adds some layers and puts even more meat on the bones on the current era. I am now fully ready for a new release.