NAPALM DEATH – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
Label: Century Media
Release Date: September 18, 2020
I‘m going to do something a little different for this review. This is my defense of Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism and why everyone should give this some spins with an open mind! The first single for this album was “Backlash Just Because” which is an awesome track and is mostly what you’d expect from NAPALM DEATH but the second single “Amoral” features some experimenting and caught a lot of fans off guard. There was a good amount of hate and flack posted on social media about how the band has fallen off. Then the third single, “A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen” is more along the lines of a noise/industrial track than grind, and again the hate on the new album increased even more on social media. Now I personally wouldn’t have used those last two songs for singles but I often disagree with labels and what they use for singles. So after a good week of jamming to Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism, I feel I should defend this as NAPALM DEATH has taken a chance just like when the Diatribes album came about 24 years ago.
If you into metal at all you should know who the legendary pioneers of grindcore NAPALM DEATH are and what they’re all about. So here’s a brief history, NAPALM DEATH formed in Meriden, West Midlands, England, in 1981. None of the original members remain, but since their second album, vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera have been the mainstay while including Jesse Pintado (RIP) (the main man behind America’s best grind band TERRORIZER) as the second guitarist from 1989 to 2004. They’ve remained a 4-piece ever since. Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism is still pure NAPALM DEATH, it’s not that bad but it’s not that great. So… let’s get into it!
First off, what do you want from NAPALM DEATH? Another album that sounds like Utilitarian, Smear Campaign, Time Waits for No Slave, or Apex Predator? More of you should be appreciating NAPALM DEATH for taking the chance to experiment and possibly delivering something great. Also, if you’re a die-hard fan you could hear some of this coming as the Apex Predator album was trying a few new things here and there. Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism starts off incredible! Track 1 “Fuck the Factoid” is the grind you’d expect. They don’t let off the peddle either for the next few tracks, “Backlash Just Because”, “That Curse of Being in Thrall” and “Contagion” are top notch grind. “Contagion” does have some vocal experimentation by Barney when singing the chorus but it fits perfectly. I don’t see why this got some hate on social media, Travis Ryan (CATTLE DECAPITATION) took a chance with those creepy vocals and it paid off great for him! Then tracks 5 and 6, “Joie De Ne Pas Vivre” and “Invigorating Clutch” are strongly noise rock/industrial inspired and kinda lets up on the intensity of the album. Track 7, “Zero Gravitas Chamber” picks the grind intensity back up. Track 8 “Fluxing of the Muscles” has a more simple d-beat vibe. Track 9 “Amoral”, the second single, I was in agreement with most people on social media with hating this track, but the more I listen to it, the more I like it. It has a strong Diatribes album/KILLING JOKE feel to it and it definitely grows on you! Tracks 10 and 11, “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism” and “Acting in Gouged Faith” get back to the NAPALM DEATH grind standard of what you’ve heard on their last few albums. The last track on the album “A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen” is definitely a noise rock/industrial track which does hold my interest. So back to what I’ve stated in the beginning, it’s not that bad, it’s not that great, but it’s above mediocrity!
Once again, NAPALM DEATH prove that grindcore doesn’t need the same description for every album and they’re willing to experiment to push what the boundaries are. Sixteen albums in, Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism still comes out sounding fresh and inspired. So give it a listen, multiple listens, I beg of you! Now it might not be ranked near the top of the list when it comes to ranking their albums but this record still has some banging tracks that will make me pull this album out every now and then! Simply put, in almost 40 years of existence I truly do appreciate it for the greatness that is on this album!