Napalm Death – Leaders Not Followers

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Reviewed: January 2000
Released: 1999, Ranch Life/Pangea/Dream Catcher
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson

You know, cover tunes in general are already very old. Every band does covers. And every record label releases cover albums. But do you know what? I love Napalm Death. They were my introduction to death metal and remain one of my favorite bands to this day. So I naturally got excited about this EP. Partly because Napalm Death rules, and partly because the band has such a diverse taste in music, I knew they would pick great songs to do. And the guys are intelligent also. So I knew they wouldn’t just go for the usual Slayer, Maiden, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Metallica, or other popular artist. (Although they could cover anybody, even Mariah Carey, and I would still love it).

Well I got what I hoped for: six great and rather obscure songs from bands both familiar and unfamiliar. First off is a Raw Power cover called “Politicians”. Raw Power was an ’80s hardcore band more or less, and totally unfamiliar to me. “Politicians” is a short, fast number and features Barney using both his classic growl and screaming vocals. A very short blast beat is thrown in for good measure too. Next up is a Slaughter song entitled “Incinerator”. This is the old ’80s thrash band…not the glam band (“Uuuup alllll niiiiight! Sleeeep alllll Daaaay!”). Another obscure band, at least for me. Very powerful, slower track…bang that head that doesn’t bang! And what is that I hear…a guitar solo? Wow! It’s been a long time guys! A Pentagram cover follows, called “Demonic Possession”, from a rare 7″ single. Great song with varied tempos and one of the best on the EP. Next in line is “Maggots in Your Coffin”, a Repulsion cover! Repulsion was a big influence to a lot of the late ’80s/early ’90s death metal bands. Napalm Death rips through this one fully armed with blast beats! Intense! But check out this next cover: Death’s “Back From the Dead”, from their 1985 rehearsal demo! Awesome! I bet that blast beat wasn’t in the original version. What else can I say? This track is godly! Finishing up the EP is a familiar Napalm Death cover: Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”! You may recall this song wound up on a 7″ Napalm Death single by the same name, the Japanese version of “Fear, Emptiness, Despair”, and the Alternative Tentacles “Virus 100” compilation. But this song has been re-recorded for this compilation. Great cover, and done exactly the way they did it before, with just different production.

This EP rules, but I take that for granted because I love this band. I only wish they would have done a Godflesh cover. Now THAT would RULE! And I know they could pull it off too!


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