Released: 2004, Century Media
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Napalm Death are metal legends whose name is synonymous with extreme music. In fact, it should not to be forgotten that they are the founders of the grindcore genre.
LEADERS NOT FOLLOWERS, PART 2 (LNF2) is the first album Napalm Death have released for Century Media and it essentially consists of cover songs from bands who influenced them and made them who they are today. The album is, naturally, a follow-up to LEADERS NOT FOLLOWERS, PART 1 which was an MCD released in 1999. LNF2 contains nineteen tracks and clocks in at about forty-five minutes. Though the longest song is over four minutes long and the shortest only twenty-eight seconds, most of the songs are between two and three minutes long.
For the most part the songs cover the time period from 1980–86 but there are two taken from the 1990’s, those being “Schizophrenia” by Sepultura and “We Must Rebel” by The Offenders. I haven’t heard the original versions of most of these songs, but they seem to be a mix of old school thrash, punk and hardcore. Many of the songs were also originally released only as demos.
I can’t really comment about how close the covers are to the originals, but the song are really fast throughout the whole album. Some of the bands covered are Anti-Cimex (twice), Hellhammer, Siege, Insanity, Cryptic Slaughter, Massacre, Hirax and Agnostic Front. Napalm Death’s original bass player Jim Whitely guests on the songs “Game of the Arseholes” and “War’s No Fairytale”, this coming about because the band’s current bassist Shane Embury has kept in touch with Whitley over the years and they both thought the appearance would be a fun thing to do.
LNF2 was recorded from June through July 2003 at Robannas Studio in Birmingham, England. Russ Russell (Defeation, The Exploited, The Wildhearts) co-produced the album and Simon Efemey (Amorphis, Paradise Lost, The Wildhearts) did the engineering. There’s nothing wrong with the production, as it sounds really fast/aggressive/hard/brutal. The band really seems eager to make the album sound as good as possible. Greenway mentions in the liner notes that the band tried to be as faithful to the original songs as possible and so they didn’t try to over-produce them or give them a more modern touch.
The album cover is done by the legendary MID who has done a lot of the band’s other covers. Mick Kenney also contributed visual input, having previously done the cover art for ORDER OF THE LEECH, which is a typical Napalm Death cover.
There’s not much to be critical of here. Napalm Death has done some really strong covers and the album offers younger fans a chance to open their eyes and learn about the band’s personal heroes. Every song sounds extremely good and it’s impossible to pick any favorites. I really hope that the guys pull themselves together and go into the studio to record an original album as a follow-up to ORDER OF THE LEECH from 2002.