Just one year after releasing the highly acclaimed “The Code Is Red…” Barney and co are back with yet another strong effort that continues the ‘comeback’ that started with “Enemy Of The Music Business” back in 2001. Perhaps with the exception of IRON MAIDEN no other band has had such a prosperous post-millennium spell and while this album is an aggressive effort that throws more than a passing glance to the heady days of the late 80s it isn’t afraid to march militantly forward by also introducing more of the art-rock elements that made “The Code…” such an enjoyable album.
After the somewhat superfluous intro proceedings are kicked off with the super heavy “”Sink Fast, Let Go”, a track that impresses with patented grind shrieks and a HEAVY groove that underlies an equally great chorus. After sitting through the following few songs it is clear that this is going to be one hell of an aggressive album that is chock full of ‘dense’ riffing and some of Barney’s most pissed-off vocals ever, claims that are firmly laid down by tracks like “Puritanical Punishment Beatings” and “Freedom Is The Wage Of Sin”, the latter featuring some great Thrash riffing and wailing cymbal crashes. Of course they experiment here and there, especially on songs like “In Deference” (featuring THE GATHERING’s Anneke on backing vocals) and the title track (featuring some very eerie clean vocals by Mr. Greenway), but all fear s of NAPALM DEATH wimping out on us are quickly erased by “Rabid Wolves (For Christ)” and “Eyes Right Out” – sonic assaults of massive proportions and about as subtle as a sledgehammer. My personal favorite has to be “Identity Crisis” though, with its brilliant chorus (backed up by some very effective double bass) and the fact that it contains not one, not two but 5 (yes, count ‘em!) “oohs!” in the best Tom G Warrior tradition! Speaking of these “oohs”, there are a total of 11 on the album… Anyway, by now you should have figured out that this is a pretty good album and certainly not one that will disappoint the die hard fans out there.
I feel that the increased heaviness sometimes cost the songs some of the catchiness that was so crucial to the previous album, but even so almost all of these songs contain some brilliant groovy (no, not some wussy Nu groove shit!) passages that will set fire to moshpits around the globe. Overall a very heavy album that overflows with rage and focus and so it is an essential listen if you are a ND fan!! The (smear) campaign is a success!! (Online October 11, 2006)