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Napalm Death 

Order of the Leech (Spitfire)

Most pioneers will eventually be outdistanced by those who follow them. But Napalm Death is the exception to that rule. This band isn't just holding its ground; Order of the Leech is the best thing it's ever put out. Words From the Exit Wound, the 1999 album that was the band's last for Earache, was a total shock, slamming listeners with one staggering, merciless blast of tightly wound fury after another. Napalm Death's debut for Spitfire, Enemy of the Music Business, kept to that formula and proved to be just as powerful. And then, somehow, Order of the Leech is even heavier and harder than Exit Wound.

From the first jagged riff that opens "Continuing War on Stupidity," the album never offers a moment of respite, letting loose an endless barrage of frenzied blast beats and retched vocals. Napalm Death's had a lot of lineup changes over the years, but the current players are more committed to sheer instrumental destruction than any previous members have been. It all works to make Order of the Leech quite possibly the metal album of the year.

More by Phil Freeman

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