Well, this is interesting. This music just blew my head clean off and ripped all the flesh from my bones. Boy, you haven’t seen anything till you’ve seen a skeleton headbang like there’s no tomorrow from the distorted view of an eyeball stuck to the wall. But seriously, oh my fucking god, NAPALM DEATH have done it again. They’ve put together one seriously murderous cocktail of cover songs. And not just any kind of covers, but songs from some of the leading (and some more underground) Punk, Hardcore and Metal acts of the 80s. That in itself is a noble thing but when the songs are taken on with such love and professional touch it becomes something even grander. This is giving me such a rush I think I’m gonna have to go lie down before I’ll embarrass myself.
Right from the start the pace is set at hi-speed violence served with enough groove to make your walls crumble and enough razor sharp riffs to rip your head clean off. There’re nineteen tracks of furious anger here and although a few of them aren’t working that well the rest are straight and unerring hits. Tracks like the blistering “Lowlife”, pounding “Troops Of Doom”, lethally groovy “Clangor Of War” and the extremely aggressive and political duo “War’s No Fairytale” & “Blind Justice” are but a few prime examples of the primal aggression found within the album. Now I haven’t heard even half of these songs in their original form but the ones I have sound just as great in NAPALM DEATH’s hands as they do with their original creators. NAPALM DEATH doesn’t just cover the songs but make ‘em sound their own without losing the original spirit and that’s something we can all marvel at.
Cover albums are always a bit tricky. I mean any band can say “hey, I’m tired of writing new material so let’s make a cover album. Our fans will buy it anyway so we can watch the cash fly in without actually doing anything” but with NAPALM DEATH that’s just so not the case. “Leaders Not Followers 2” is an ultimately interesting and nostalgic (well, I personally wasn’t even past ten when these were originally recorded) look at the roots of extreme music. There’s so much raw aggression pouring from the songs it’s making the speakers want to beat the crap out of my desk just to be sure. Anyway, this album is heartily recommended to everyone everywhere. You don’t know what aggression means until you’ve heard “Leaders Not Followers 2”! (Online September 12, 2004)