Napalm Death

Napalm Death

Bootlegged in Japan


Long heralded as the innovators, renovators and purveyors of grindcore, England’s Napalm Death steadily rose from being cult icons to extreme metal’s international ambassadors, playing the farthest reaches of the earth — including numerous visits to Japan. And after one spin of Bootlegged in Japan (a 1996 live show in Japan that’s been heavily bootlegged, hence the title), it’s no wonder why the band does: Napalm Death throws down an utterly whiplashing show, and crowds everywhere respond in kind by going completely apeshit — yes, even the Japanese.

If there ever was a compact introduction to this legendary band, Bootlegged would justly do the deed, each of Napalm Death’s then-six albums getting near-equal billing, from immortal early blastbeaters (“The Kill,” “Lucid Fairytale”) to more recent calculus-grinders (“Ripe for the Breaking,” “Hung”). The only album underrepresented is 1992’s Utopia Banished ; the omissions are more than redeemed by the choice selection of that record’s “I Abstain,” one of Napalm Death’s more jarring and anthemic moments. Another minor quibble is the mix on frontman Barney Greenway’s vocals: way upfront, and uncharacteristically more hardcore-styled bark than the usual grunt ‘n’ growl; no alarm, though, because the bite is still present. And as far as the whole of Napalm Death goes, it always has been — even in the midst of the band’s recent creative coma.

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