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Utilitarian

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 28, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 album from the veteran Grindcore outfit. Fourteen albums in and Napalm Death still remain the leaders of the Grindcore/Death Metal world, once again showing the upstarts how it's done. Utilitarian runs the gamut from straight-ahead violence and force to pure, undiluted Napalm Death-induced chaos that overall provides a well-rounded bloodletting that's not for the weak and also confronts the listener with such surprising moments as the sax passages by none other than John Zorn on 'Everyday Pox' or choral-like clean sections in 'Fall On Their Swords' or 'Blank Look About Face'. True to the band's tradition of spitting gallons of verbal venom, Utilitarian is an in-your-face razor-edged platter of social, cultural and political commentary.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Circumspect
  2. Errors in the Signals
  3. Everyday Pox
  4. Protection Racket
  5. The Wolf I Feed
  6. Quarantined
  7. Fall on Their Swords
  8. Collision Course
  9. Orders of Magnitude
  10. Think Tank Trials
  11. Blank Look About Face
  12. Leper Colony
  13. Nom de Guerre
  14. Analysis Paralysis
  15. Opposites Repellent
  16. A Gag Reflex
  17. Everything in Mono [*]


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 28, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Century Media
  • ASIN: B006XF2SZ6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,276 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
This is an excellent album; there is no denying that fact. Napalm Death are in fine form on "Utilitarian," and they even manage to throw in a few curves here and there ("Everyday Pox," anyone?). You should be buying it now, if not sooner.

But Century Media has done a great disservice to the band and their fans by screwing up the digital version. The album proper is sixteen tracks, ending with "A Gag Reflex." The CD version, meanwhile, adds a seventeenth track at the end entitled "Everything In Mono." The limited edition contains two extra songs ("Aim Without An Aim," plus the aforementioned track); both of these are rather oddly inserted mid-stream so that they become tracks 13 and 14, respectively. This means that "Nom De Guerre" becomes track 15, "Analysis Paralysis" becomes track 16, "Opposites Repellent" becomes track 17, and "A Gag Reflex" becomes track 18. I honestly don't know if this was intentional on the band's part or if it was just weirdness on the part of CM, but it has led to the digital version being labelled incorrectly due to some apparent laziness.

What CM has done (in their infinitely infinite wisdom) is to encode the album based on the limited edition. But since they're only selling you sixteen songs, you can probably see where this is going: the last four tracks are mislabeled, and what you end up with is an incomplete album. Sure, you're getting the limited edition's bonus tracks, but you're also missing the last two tracks from the album in the process... "Opposites Repellent" and "A Gag Reflex" are just outright missing. Not getting extra songs is one thing, but not getting a true part of the album is something else entirely (and not something that any true fan of the band-- or music in general-- should be willing to condone).
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Format: Audio CD
Napalm Death are a well respected and pioneering force in extreme music and besides that, they are a very prolific band who have released numerous live albums, EPs, one and a half covers albums and now their fourteenth studio album of original music in 2012, entitled Utilitarian. With so much of a back catalogue to contend with, approaching a new album as a new fan could be confusing without all the musical context.

Furthermore, Napalm Death are a band forever surrounded by hyperbole due to the especially nasty, violent and savage sound that they make, so getting a feel of how one album is different to another can be difficult since everyone will just say clichéd things about how your ears will bleed etc.

An honest and hyperbole-free summation would be that if you generally like very extreme music, you should give Napalm Death a fair try and if you generally like Napalm Death then you should give Utilitarian a fair try, there is a strong possibility that you will like it.

Produced by Russ Russel, (The Berzerker, The Rotted, Dimmu Borgir) Utilitarian sounds great, and the energy level from the band themselves is very high. This is yet another expertly crafted album from the band delivering more extreme music and highly political lyrics.

Historically, the band have covered a lot of different ground in their lengthy career, and in the first decade of their career became known for taking radical shifts in musical style, sometimes to crys of `sell out' and sometimes to great praise. In the past decade however, Napalm Death found a winning formula and stuck to it very rigidly, which both garnered praise for consistency and occasional criticism for treading water creatively.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
It's not exactly news to long-time Napalm Death followers that the band is one of the rare and blessed few metal acts to not only go with strength into their fourth decade but also to find new ideas and approaches that work within their time-tested framework. If I may, they're the Killing Joke of the grindcore scene or whatever genre you use to describe them to the uninitiated. To me, this is a fine hour of many for the band! On every track, their trademark fearlessness is front and center and, unlike many metal albums to have been relased in the last decade, the production varies enough between pieces to allow for different moods to exist without sacrificing any power or pulse on the heaviest of heavy to be found on Utilitarian. Truth be told, I'm always a sucker for a band/artist that has longevity but also really begins to blossom in their late forties-early fifties, proving that youth is just youth when wisdom prevails. Napalm Death sound wiser and grittier than ever, compiling good ideas from previous albums into where they are now, improving upon them in most cases, having a bold and furious go of it in all. Just when I thought they couldn't improve upon Time Waits For No Slave, they prove me wrong yet again!
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Format: Audio CD
On full-length album number fifteen (!), Napalm Death extinguish the experimental angle that they took on their last two records, 2006's "Smear Campaign" and 2009's "Time Waits For No Slave" (both of which featured guest vocals by a member of the progressive-post-punk group Swans or Dutch prog-rockers The Gathering). But this is still one of the most innovative and groundbreaking grindcore bands in the history of the genre, so experimentation is never out of the question. And sure enough, 2012's "Utilitarian" does employ some new-ish-sounding elements. Opener "Circumspect" is a two-minute-long doom metal-soaked instrumental, making it a big standout not just on the record, but in Napalm Death's whole discography. Also of note is "Everyday Pox," which fuses in squealing, strangulated saxophone soloing (from Naked City frontman/noisemaster John Zorn) amidst its usual avalanche of fiery riffs, pounding drums, and distorted bass. "The Wolf I Feed" features a bass-heavy mix in addition to some Burton C. Bell-derived borderline clean, echoing-out vocals from Mitch Harris. (And this is on top of the tune's usual Motorhead-inspired speed punk beat and catchy call-and-response vocal refrain where intelligible hardcore screams trade-off with Barney Greenway's visceral growls.) And finally, "Fall On Their Swords" has another interesting twist in that it incorporates an epic-sounding, Gregorian-esque chanting choir into the mix, thus interrupting a number that is otherwise sheer, blast beat-laden sonic violence and malevolence. The vast majority of this blistering, throat-ripping set, though, sounds like the usual Napalm Death of old.Read more ›
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