For over thirty years now, Brummie grinders Napalm Death have been mauling the ears of the extreme metal scene. Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism, their latest offering, is not only their most gut-wrenching grindcore assault to date but also their most experimental.

Sure, the core of the sound is still full-throttle, neck-snapping, punk-tinged grind but, right from the moment opener “Fuck The Factoid” rips off your ears, you get the feeling that there is going to be plenty on this record to sink your teeth into. Written primarily by extreme metal stalwarts Shane Embury and Barney Greenway, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism sees the band at their most visceral. From Embury’s rumbling, distorted bass lines to Greenway’s throaty screams, this is sonic mayhem at its finest.

“Backlash Just Because” and “Contagion” see the outfit hurtling along at dangerous speeds. But… listening to the album and reading Embury talk about the record, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism feels more rounded out. Yes, each track rips your face but, given Embury’s unashamed love of anything experimental, this album sees Napalm push the boundaries of their sound even further than before.

Injecting influence from alternative bands like Coil and industrial noise-merchants like The Young Gods, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism is, in all honesty, one of the most terrifying pieces of work that Napalm Death have put out. Cold and clinical yet, confrontational and right in your face, tracks like “Zero Gravitas Chamber” and “Acting in Gouged Faith” are delivered with punishing ferocity but, this time, under a much darker, nastier cloud. The album ends with “A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen,” a song that sees the extreme metal titans sign off this stunning piece of work in jaw-dropping fashion.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Napalm Death album if it wasn’t politically and socially charged and, with plenty to inspire them this time around, it’s no wonder Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism sounds like it does. While most bands become more and more jaded as the years turn into decades, this is not the case for Napalm Death. Armed with this latest slab, the Gods of Grind are as outspoken, terrifying, and utterly essential as they have ever been.

Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism Track Listing:

1. Fuck the Factoid
2. Backlash Just Because
3. That Curse of Being in Thrall
4. Contagion
5. Joie De Ne Pas Vivre
6. Invigorating Clutch
7. Zero Gravitas Chamber
8. Fluxing of the Muscle
9. Amoral
10. Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
11. Acting in Gouged Faith
12. A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen

Run Time: 42:32
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Record Label: Century Media

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.