If NAPALM DEATH modernized a lot their sound with “Fear, Emptiness, Despair”, with “Diatribes” they passed over their own limits and the result was a kind improvement. The ultra-heavy base is kept intact, but “Diatribes” is far more melodic, with stronger Hardcore elements added and it’s also much more dynamic. The overall speed is slowed down, but certainly not the violence.
This music is incredibly stunning, specially by side of the drums, that sound most of the time like sick machine gun… the riffs are rather fat and the vocals direct and aggressive as always (“Barney” Greenway shows once again that he’s an extraordinary vocalist). “Diatribes” is an ultra corrosive album… ok, it lacks the rotten sound of the first NAPALM DEATH years, but this cleaner, straighter violence is equally shocking.
For some reason, this album makes me remember “Streetcleaner”, the Industrial/Grindcore debut of GODFLESH (founded back in the years by NAPALM DEATH’s renegade Justin Broadrick). Both releases have many things in common like the creepy atmosphere, distorted and ultra-repetitive vocal effects and the high-voltage sensation present at every moment.
Modern as it is, the musical line of each song in “Diatribes” is rather predictable, without big breaks or surprises, but all the time incredibly dense. On the other hand, it has much more variation than the previous “Fear, Emptiness, Despair”… every song is unique and if you like the style they play, this should be anything but boring.
I have reasons to say that “Diatribes” is the most succeeded of the four NAPALM DEATH albums while playing Modern Death/Hardcore. It’s a direct injection of electricity to your veins and represents all the real strength of the band’s most overlooked era. Check it. (Online February 19, 2006)