Napalm Death - From Enslavement To Obliteration [Earache - 2012]“From Enslavement To Obliteration” really needs little or no introduction to fans of extreme music/sound- it was the second full length album from UK grindcore originators Napalm Death. It was originally released back in 1988, and it was seen then as one of the most extreme & brutal records ever recorded, it still is one of the most intense sonic experiences your likely to have. This new reissue finds the original masters been remastered in Full Dynamic Range- so in theory this is an even more head battering, whirlwind screaming, and avalanche ripping slice of grindcore.
I can still to this day remember buying this when it first came out, and the impact in had on me…it truly was a real game changer for me, as I had never heard anything so extreme yet precise in my life before. The album starts off surprisingly slow, and stark with the relatively lengthy( by early Napalm standards) 3.13 mintues of “Evolved As One”. Then the band truly batter into you for the next 25 tracks of intense, fast, brutal grindcore, that’s lined with Lee Dorrian’s guttural growls to high-pitched screams, and propelled along by Mike Harris truly breathing taking speedy blast beat ribbed drumming. It truly was, and is, the perfect extreme beast of a record, with the perfect line-up & selection of songs. Sure “Scum” their first album was damn extreme, but “From Enslavement..” pushed the form to it’s brutality & unrelenting perfection.
So what does this new reissue bring to the table…..well the main and big thing is the Full Dynamic Range remastering, and to my ears it has made the whole thing sound cleaner, with each sonic element defined so you can make out it’s detail & tone better. Wether it’s any louder than is was before, I cant really say, but certainly it feels a lot sharper & more slicing in it's attack, instead of the original just plan battering attack.
The only other extras/additions from past versions of the album is five bonus tracks, and these take in: “The Curse”(which is taken from the original bonus 7inch that came with the very ltd edition of the album)- this is a great slower almost doom/ dub take on the bands sound, coming off like a mixture between the “scum” title track & “Evolved As One”. And there’s a great feeling of ominous space as the crusty & bleak bass tone is just left to bounce slowly off it's self at the end of the track.
“Scum” & “Life”- these are slightly different versions of these “Scum” album original tracks taken from the ‘North Atlantic Noise Attack’ compilation…..there ok, but not really anything too different from the original versions. “Retreat To Nowhere”- another different version of a track from the ‘North Atlantic Noise Attack’ compilation, this time from “Enslavement to..”…again it’s ok, but nothing special.
And lastly we have another rare/ unheard track in the form of “Internal Animosity”- this appeared on the ‘Pathological’ compilation. And this again shows the band in slower more brooding form, it’s also the longest track here at just over five minutes. The track starts off with a mixture of rolling noise textures, and a tolling bell elements over a sort of slowed ‘n’ fuzzed up early Godflesh meets sludgy Napalm mix…Dorrian comes in later with this mumbled monk like vocals, and more moans & shouts are added over the top. The feel of the track quite brought to mind the first few Scorn albums with it’s dub yet bleak production. So all told only “The Curse” & “Internal Animosity” are the only worthy & interesting addtions here- it’s a pity that they couldn’t have added on the rest of “The Curse” 7inch, because seemingly it had four other tracks on it.
Packaging wise(I’m reviewing the cd version) it’s pretty much the same layout/ artwork that’s always been used for the album. So it’s a pity there couldn’t have been an expanded booklet with maybe an essay or interviews in it, and maybe a bit of a write up about the different editions of this release as all told since it’s release in 1988 it’s had 21 different editions released of this album.
All told it’s down to how much of a fan of this release you are, as to whether it’s worth picking up- if you already have this on vinyl, cd or tape…then possibly it might be worth picking up to get the shaper sound version, and the two worthwhile tracks. But if you only have a passing interest in the band, and already have this….then this isn’t really worth it. But if you've never heard this before, and are a fan of any forms of extreme music, this is the best edition so far of the album…so it’s well worth picking up. This new edition comes in cd form, and pink, purple, burnt orange or plain old black vinyl form.