Saturday, April 5, 2014

When the Napalm rains, it pours

Accompanying Mitch Harris' excellent new Menace album and an EP released to coincide with their Roadburn appearance, there's a new Napalm Death recording - and more excitingly, a Napalm Death Bandcamp page. The new release is a Cardiacs cover, released as a benefit for The Cardiacs' Tim Smith, who suffered a heart attack and stroke in 2010.

I remember checking out the Cardiacs' A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window a decade or so ago, largely due to a dedication to the band on the Live Corruption DVD. To say I didn't understand their music would be a gross understatement - their mix of post-punk, prog, and pop seemed to me like one of the drug induced hallucinations in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The Napalm cover is similarly batshit crazy. Along with the typical guitar and drums carpet bombing, there seems to be either a keyboard or a melodica and something akin to the harmonized guitar interplay that their friends in Carcass are so fond of. Napalm have always worn their influences on their sleeves - Siege, Repulsion, Swans in particular - but any impact the Cardiacs may have had on Napalm's sound is hard to parse.

Most likely it's less the Cardiacs' sound, but more their "anything goes" approach to songwriting that rubbed off on Napalm Death. Napalm were probably the first band to consciously mix shoegaze with extreme metal; not to mention all the skewed side projects they've done over the years like Meathook Seed and Malformed Earthborn. The two groups probably recognize something of their own renegade spirit in the other, hence the mutual love. One more reason why Napalm have always been a few steps ahead of their peers.