When it made its first crude, unintelligible blast onto the metal landscape, no one could have foreseen that Napalm Death would do anything other than flare out into obscurity as a quickly worn novelty. But the band, now grinding away into its 25th year, would not only go on to become an institution, but would forever change the face of metal in the process, almost single-handedly spawning a new world of possibility at the music's then-furthest, most unlistenable extreme and setting metal history hurling on a course toward a (perhaps unattainable) horizon of heaviness and acceleration so inhuman that the music actually feels like it's slowing down.
These days, though Napalm has made a marked return to its grindcore roots over its past four albums, the band continues to explore and reinvent itself, never truly sitting still within its slurring, spastic frenzy. And few in metal are criticizing the Bush administration or directly confronting the politically instigated paranoia that pervades American life with as much fury as Napalm vocalist Barney Greenway. On the other hand, Greenway prefers somewhat indirect lyrics, masks them with his trademark death-metal roar, and does little preaching from the stage. Let the music do the, uh . . . burning, we suppose.