Rock Docs: Napalm Death: The Scum Story - Reviewed

Grindcore. I just love to look at the word sometimes. It means so much to me as an artist, writer, and observer of extreme music. Growing up, force feeding myself with any music that was pushing the envelope, grindcore ended up on my plate and I scarfed it down without even giving it a closer look. Boy was I not ready for it, but in a real good way.

Back in the late eighties and early nineties, there was a phenomena known as ‘Those Earache Bands’. These were bands all signed to the once world crushing British record label named Earache Records of which the flagships were Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Entombed, Morbid Angel, Godflesh, and most notably the mighty Napalm Death. All of the bands listed above have had a well documented and massive influence on heavy and extreme music, but none more than Napalm Death. As mentioned in Napalm Death - The Scum Story, two of the mentioned bands (Carcass and Godflesh) even hosted ex-members of Napalm Death. While, even the members of Napalm Death will admit that the blast beat was invented by Dave "Grave" Hollingshead, Mick Harris and Napalm Death took it to the next level and perfected it, with the present incarnation of Napalm Death still churning out mind blowing and barrier smashing grindcore to this very day.

Napalm Death - The Scum Story is a quick and informative jaunt through the ‘Scum’ era of Napalm Death, this would be their first proper release. The majority of the interviews circle around Mick Harris, the band's second and most notable drummer, much to the dismay of Danny Herrera who replaced Mick in 1991 and remains behind the kit for Napalm Death to this very day. While I would have liked to hear from other key players such as Justin Broadrick, Lee Dorrian, or Bill Steer, Mick does a fine job explaining the the story of how this iconic record was written, and recorded. I just would have liked to see other participants talked to so this documentary did not seem so one-sided. Regardless, if you are a nerd for this kind of music like I am, the history lesson you get will make you forgive this shortcoming easily.

Napalm Death - The Scum Story is sure to make any long time fan gaze up and smile to the films soundtrack of selected tracks from ‘Scum’, which is easily still one of the most barbaric and face melting slabs of grindcore ever created even now with over three decades behind it.

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-Scott W. Lambert