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Napalm Death 

Leaders Not Followers 2 (Century Media)

After years as Earache Records' flagship act, Napalm Death has been label-hopping recently. They put out two quality albums on Spitfire and are now issuing this covers compilation on Century Media. Most of the selections here will be obscure to all but the most devoted old-school thrashers. Cult acts like Master, Die Kreuzen, and Discharge are the best-known names, but tracks by true undergrounders like the Offenders, Attitude Adjustment, and Wehrmacht are the primary focus. Most of these songs are 90-second bursts of fury, but they frequently boast stylistic flourishes Napalm's own tracks don't -- like guitar solos and choruses.

Vocalist Barney Greenway comes from a crust/hardcore background, so he's comfortable barking out the simplistic slogans that pass for lyrics. The speed and headlong fury of most of these cuts must bring back fond memories for them -- not just of songs they used to love, but also of how they used to sound. Still one of the hardest bands around, Napalm has expanded its sonic range over the years. This disc is a roaring, thrashing trip back in time.

More by Phil Freeman

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