NAPALM DEATH (1982–PRESENT). Lee Dorian (vocals, replaced by Mark Greenway), Mick Harris (drums, replaced by Danny Herrera), Jim Whitley (bass, replaced by Shane Embury), Justin Broadrick (guitars, replaced by Mitch Harris), Bill Steer (guitar, replaced by Jesse Pintado, no longer in band).
There may have been bands that played as loud and aggressively as Napalm Death, but it would be hard to find one as completely brutal as this band. Napalm Death are an English group who established the metal subgenre known as grindcore. Original drummer Mick Harris patented the ultra-fast “blast beat” that is the hallmark of the grindcore style, in which the drums speed up faster than a hardcore beat and the guitars and bass become blurs of noise, accompanied by vocals that are either incomprehensible or simply also blurs of sound.
The first Napalm Death record was actually recorded in parts by the original lineup (for most of their career Napalm Death has contained no original members), featuring original bassist Whitley and guitarist Broadrick with only drummer supreme Mick Harris appearing on both sides of the landmark Scum album, which literally shook metal by its feet and raised the ante for extreme music. The band was heavily influenced by noise merchants the Swans, as well as classic English hardcore band Discharge, who were among the most extreme hardcore acts of the time.
When Mick Harris left Napalm Death, the band inevitably had to do a lateral move and slow down (as obviously they could not have gotten any faster) and bassist Shane Embury essentially took control of the band, where he has remained the
one constant since joining in the early eighties. Influential British DJ John Peel was an early fan of the band and championed them early on, playing extremely fast songs such as “You Suffer” (0:1.5) on his radio show over and over again and eventually having the band in to play on one of his Peel Sessions.
When vocalist Lee Dorian grew frustrated with the relentless touring schedule, he exited to play in a band that in many ways is Napalm Death’s polar opposite, the ultra slow Cathedral. Soon after, Harris was out of the band, leaving Napalm Death with no original and only one long-lasting member. Napalm Death continued to tour with new lineups, experimented with slowing down at some points, but never lost sight of being the most extreme band in the world. To this date Napalm Death is still regarded as one of the most extreme bands in musical history and a benchmark for what musicians could achieve. They pretty much invented a new genre almost all by themselves and raised the stakes for extreme musicians all over the world.
Discography: Scum (Earache, 1986); From Enslavement to Obliteration (Earache, 1988); The Peel Sessions [EP] (UK Strange Fruit, 1989); Napalm Death [EP] (UK Rise Above, 1989); Mentally Murdered [EP] (UK Earache, 1989); Harmony Corruption (Earache/Combat, 1990); Live Corruption (UK Earache, 1990); Suffer the Children [EP] (UK Earache, 1990); The Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit/Dutch East India Trading, 1991); Mass Appeal Madness [EP] (Earache/Relativity, 1991); Death by Manipulation (Earache/Relativity, 1991); Utopia Banished (Earache/Relativity, 1992; Earache, 1996); The World Keeps Turning [EP] (Earache, 1992); Nazi Punks Fuck Off [EP7] (Earache, 1993); Fear, Emptiness, Despair (Earache/Columbia, 1994); Greed Killing [EP] (Earache, 1995); Diatribes (Earache, 1996); Inside the Torn Apart (Earache, 1997); Bootlegged in Japan (Earache, 1998); The Complete Radio One Sessions (BBC/Fuel 2000/Var? Sarabande, 2000); Leaders Not Followers [EP] (Relapse, 2000); Enemy of the Music Business (Spitfire, 2001).