Friday 27 September 2013

Napalm Christ - 2013 Demo

After a brief glimpse at my mellower side with yesterday's review, I'm back with something heavier. This is the demo from Arkansas based extreme metal band Napalm Christ. I could be more specific than extreme when describing them, but when they play an amalgamation of death, grind, doom and black metal, I figured the term would suffice. NC only came to my attention earlier this year and it turns out that this demo is their first recorded output. The tape has been released by UK label Goatprayer Records, who have been releasing music for bands from far and wide since early 2012.


1. Idols of Evil
2. Life Is Dimmin
3. Reclaimed By The Earth
4. Nuclear Holy War
5. Despoilment of Will
6. Burning Away The Scourge

As this demo is very recent, you'd expect the recording to be pretty good, which is it. Idols of Evil opens it up with some thick, sludgy riffs that give way to some fast death metal. The twin guitar harmonies sound epic and the grinding drums in the background more than match them. The vocals have a slight hardcore edge, but remain pretty deathly. NC throw in some well placed time changes and atmospheric clean guitar too, which add texture. NC slows things down with Life Is Dimmin, which features some more that great guitar work. It's a bit of a departure from the more instant opener but the musicality involved shows off their writing skills. It's all delivered in a measured and controlled way, with no histrionics or showboating, which is refreshing. Don't get me wrong though, they do lurch back into death metal territory during the song, but it's so listenable that you don't mind the sudden jolt.

They have a purely hellish masterpiece in Reclaimed By The Earth. It's over nine minutes of progressive extreme metal with a hint of the black stuff. It's a nod to sort of extreme metal, which has spawned so many blackened hardcore bands of late. This time though, NC injects the song with a lengthy instrumental mid-section, which peppered with low growls that sit in the mix. The slow, trudging riffs and the power of the bass may well make your bowels drop out! The speed is turned up during Nuclear Holy War, with the vocals taking on a new evil form. The melodic guitar picking adds technicality and you can't help but headbang. It's great that there’s plenty going on musically in these songs, even though they're not overly complex. It's just refreshing to hear a band not trying to show off.

Talking of not showing off, Despoilment of Will is a grinding, writhing mess of a song (in the best possible way), that doesn't even pass two minutes. It leads into sprawling closer Burning Away The Scourge. Another lengthy number this one, but with enough riffage and sass to make it worth it. With the strength of this demo, a brief closing song just wouldn't be right, so it's down to Burning Away The Scourge to ensure that you turn this tape back over and play it again and again, which you will. It's extreme but also accessible, so even if you're just finding your way down the left hand path, you'll find plenty to enjoy. This is certainly one of my candidates for demo of the year.

You can stream the whole demo here:-

You can buy the tape directly from the above bandcamp page and it comes with an immediate digital download too!

It's available on Napalm Christ's own bandcamp page as a name-your-price download here -

You can also get it from Goatprayer's bigcartel page here -

Napalm Christ Facebook -
Goatprayer Records Facebook -
Goatprayer Records Website -

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