Harris takes us through the details of the scene at the time, the first time he saw the band live and his eventual joining of the band's ranks, the band's line-up changes throughout that period, significant places of the band's history including the house where he and Broadrick jammed on Napalm material for the first time, Rich Bitch Studios where the album was recorded and mixed in hours for a total of pounds and the regular gig venue The Mermaid and shares a wealth of detailed info about the band, and the writing and recording process behind one of metal's most influential albums of all time.
The doco also features input from Earache Records boss Digby Pearson, music journalists Dom Lawson and Malcome Dome, and artist Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner who explains how the band's music has influenced him , all of which further explain the importance of Napalm's debut effort. I normally don't dig on reissues. Often, they are simple money grabs offering very little incentive for fans to shell out their hard earned cash.
Sure, they may have new artwork whoopi-do!! Seriously, though, that tinny, helter skelter transition feels like a monumental sign of the band's ever-shifting future. This is where it gets really nasty. The highlight of these "later songs" is the overall claustrophobia and the withered, weathered voice of Lee Dorrian who went on to form Cathedral.
Of course, the reissue comes with extras and hooks. Why get the new? On it, Mick Harris walks down memory lane visiting olden-day practice spaces, Rich Bitch Studios, where the album was recorded, etc and there are interviews with Earache founder Digby Pearson, Mark Titchner, Kerrang!
In the end, DVD and history and all that shit aside, what's strangest about close listening to something you thought you knew by heart is how unfamiliar and un-extreme Scum sounds in light of the music it helped birth. Songs like "Success? Musically the album is short on technical finesse and you could argue that if all the songs had been better written and had some real structure in the way of definite riffs and melodies, then the guys would have something to channel their energy and righteous anger with the result that their message would be more effective and hard-hitting and listeners would feel the anger and aggression coming out of the music.
As it is, the emotion seems blocked and all over the place and unfocussed. With the songs being so short, there is not much scope for a guitarist with some talent like Bill Steer to prove his chops. But possibly the idea behind "Scum" was to create something that was anti-capitalistic and anarcho-punk in spirit and that might have meant doing away with "capitalist" music concepts such as melody and pacing and all the other things that make music amenable to listeners' preferences which sometimes can be pretty narrow , therefore we have "anti-music" as well as "anti-capitalist" music.
Overall the lyrics are more important than the actual music itself and I think this is very much in sync with Napalm Death having been more of an outlet for expressing a particular point of view and ideology about what music should be about, and changing people's perceptions of music composition. This is obviously one of those recordings where the legend surrounding it is greater than the actual object that spawned it deserves but that's often the way with famous albums.
I could take an example of a legendary album like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" which is hugely famous and which a lot of people regard in awe: I find that a lot of the music on that record is really very ordinary, indulgent and forgettable, and the hoopla that's surrounded the album since its release just seems to get bigger and more out of control.
A lot of things have been said about "Scum" by Napalm Death. Some more true than others, but as it stands, this is a very fine grindcore album, though not deserving of most of the credit or praise it gets. The music defines the early Earache sound. Exceptionally metallic grindcore at the time that has been copied to death, from Japan to the USA.
The production was crap, the vocals were shouted and shrieked and the guitars sound like a muddy mess, with the most of the guitarplaying in mid-speed over the frenzied and well-executed blastbeats.
The only break from the insanity are the occasional thrash metal riffs and the slow sludge of the title track's intro. When it comes down to it, it's a very good record and definitely recommended if you want to widen your horizons in extreme music, but the formula has been done better before and after, even by blatant copy cats such as Insect Warfare or Unholy Grave. However, if this isn't what you're looking for, don't hesitate to look for other grindcore records, the genre has much more and better things to offer than this.
Most everything has already been said, but some of this bears repeating: Scum, albeit incredibly raw, epitomizes everything good about grindcore. This entire album is a work of incredibly fast and aggressive sonic mayhem. The speed and intensity of Napalm Death on this recording which is actually two separate sessions, one in late '86 and one in early '87 still is rarely matched today by most bands; it puts all of their speedy hardcore punk and thrash contemporaries of the mid-eighties to shame.
Simply playing fast, of course, is not what is amazing about this album; any artist with enough practice can play at fast tempos. The amazing thing is how they manage to weave the speed with their incredibly raw production and instrumental sound which in my opinion is when grindcore sounds best.
The album is not polished, but still very audible, even to picky listeners. The actual instrumental sound is very raw, adding further to the intensity of the music. Blastbeating drums thud throughout the entire album, which unfortunately sometimes drown out the guitars. Despite this, the heavy insane drumming makes the perfect grindcore atmosphere, complete with frantic riffs and the occasional slowed down parts, such as before the verses in "Scum," or in "Siege of Power.
Okay okay okay! So it's already obvious that Napalm Death's "Scum" is hailed as the first true grindcore release ever I must say that this isn't the best grindcore around; although for it's time, this was extreme but even back then, if I was to hear this album as a raging angst teen in the mid's, I'm sure I still would've been kind of turned off to the album.
A lot of it has to do with the bands attempt at trying to be the most brutal band of the time and the musicianship. It's not really catchy, not so memorable, not spectacular; wait, I take that back; it's spectacular in the sense of actually hearing one of the first attempts at making "schizo" music. Other than that, the production on the first half of the CD reeks of shit the first half is actually the demo I know but it could've been mastered better while the other half of the CD has much more decent production but still not the best song writing.
That's the weird about this release, it has two distinct sides. The first half of it is the demo part that Napalm Death recorded and released independently featuring Justin K. Broadrick and Nik Bullen on strings. Justin I know never was a fan of being apart of the "grindcore" movement and despised the word. With this in mind, I must also add that he wasn't the best guitarist for fast paced music; Godflesh is his homecoming because his attempt at playing stellar hardcore punk riffs never worked out.
For the most part then, Justin wrote the music with Mick Harris drums on the first half of the CD and did I mention how much of a maniac Mick is on drums?
For something in the 80's, this was fucking extreme because of his unique drumming style at the time of course. Some songs which could've been good but failed because of musicianship are songs like "Instinct of Survival" because the drumming and attempt at playing fast guitar altogether just didn't seem to work out and Lee Dorian vocals sounds more like he's barking with a sore throat rather than barking with a growl sound.
Throughout the first half, Lee sounds like this and it's not the best vocal performance either. I like it better when he sounds like he's actually growling rather than half assed sore throat rasps.
On the other hand, some standout songs are the immediate showstoppers "The Kill" for it's intensity and sting after it's done within 23 seconds, and also the classic "You Suffer", which has to be one of the most innovative songs played and why you ask?
Well, it's no more than 3 seconds long and that should seem retarded to many of you, but think about it: a song that is 3 seconds long? Who would have ever thought? It's definitely not a sing-a-long song try screaming "You suffer It's not the best song here but it's worth mentioning that it's different from the rest of the whole album.
The other half of this release features Bill Steer guitar of the soon to be Carcass fame as well as Jim Whitely bass of Ripcord fame. Even though the production is far better on this side of the album, it still isn't so memorable of a listen. Bill was born to play music this fast as opposed to Justin because his riffs are top notch and can play in temp with the blast beats Justin couldn't really do that so well as I mentioned.
The blast beats and guitar playing working hand in hand with one another. Still, the music on this half seems kind of "empty" or it's missing something… it's missing energy! As opposed to the other half of this CD, this side doesn't have such great and raw energy. It sounds very monotonous and bland Such memorable songs here are "Deceiver", which the opening riff kind of grabs you and leaves you in blast beat oblivion and Lee's better vocal performance with his growling.
It's a riff playing over and over to a blast beat with Lee's voice echoed through the song like he was some ghost in the studio. I can't think of any other song really worth mentioning from this side because nothing else seems to stand out like "Deceiver" does. While this may be the first grindcore release ever, it isn't the greatest.
Things that begin usually start very rusty and progressively get better. As with most things that start, grindcore as well as Napalm Death would sound and get better and, as with any art, you have to learn to perfect what you're doing. Hence I'm not trying to negatively degrade this album at all but I am pointing out that Napalm Death will get better and this "grindcore" music will become more interesting than the music here. I'm merely saying in short that this is legendary and very novelty to listen to, but it's not recommended for a intro to grindcore music or what Napalm Death sound like.
The line up is really archaic, one of the early line ups, yes there were other members before the band recorded "scum"!
The production is raw, giving the cd a gritty feel. Elements of punk and hardcore clubbed together to create a sound so raw and brutal, it could change the way you look at the world around you. The songs mainly deal with socio-political issues such as governments,multi-national corporations, 3rd world nations etc.
The album got napalm death noticed because of its ferocious anti-commercial stance. Each song is a furious minute long burst of agonizing guitars and vocals coupled with blast beats and fast punk style drumming. Songs on this cd may come across as short detonations of noise to the untrained ear.
The guitars on the first 13 tracks sounds more punkish. The guitar on the songs after track 13 are more buzzsaw like and "grindcore" sounding, this kind of tuning is what you may hear on most other grindcore bands.
Vocals range anywhere from gruffy shouts to savage screams "whirlwind screams" as the cd inlay describes it. Some of the songs are very mosh-able but most are just furious explosions of sonic violence making it very different from later napalm death albums where songs would be around 4 minutes in length and sound more refined and polished. Its really hard to keep track of the songs without looking at the display on your cd player. Most may not even differentiate between the tracks which all are the same blasts of noise only varying in terms of riffs and drum paterns.
I guess that makes listening to it better. You have to play the entire album from start to finish and just sit back and take the pounding and enjoy all 26 tracks as one unit all together. Scum would sound very harsh on your ears and devastate your idea of extreme music if your listening to it for the first time but then again, this is how napalm death stormed through the metal world, crushing death metal and thrash metal bands alike.
This is the greatest opening track on any cd. Instinct of surival : A bizarre mutation of punk metal, has a great vocal pattern. And great opening riff. Moral crusade : This is on the "second" half of the cd.
Boils with angry screams and growls and insane guitarwork. The most extreme outburst of guitars, drums and vocals ever recorded. You suffer : Ok, this isnt exactly a song, but just a songlet less than 1 second!!! This holds the world record for shortest song ever released. Probably inspired the trend of releasing really short songs among other grindcore songs. On an ending note, it should be observed that no ther band -save for Black Sabbath,has achieved what Napalm death have - Inspire a whole new genre of music with just their debut called Grindcore.
The fact that they exist to this day without leaving behind any of the brutality is a standing testament to this fact. Little wonder the name "napalm death" is synonymous with the term "grindcore". Another interesting point is that two other big bands branched out of the line up on this album: Bill steer bass would quit to form carcass, and Lee dorian vocals would start cathedral. Both bands gained their own brand of popularity in the metal underground. A sacred relic to every grindcore fan and a powerhouse of socio-political expression, "scum' is a must buy for any fan of extreme music.
Truly, this album is a piece of modern music history. Well what do we have here? Only probably THE singlehandedly most extreme reknowned and pioneering albums of the eighties which has influenced countless extreme bands since The first, and superior, half contains both the blistering title track that is still a death classic even now, as well as the infamous two-second hyperblast one of many that is 'You Suffer'; the latter half with the more familar Embury, Dorrian, Harris lineup.
This music is raw yet not underproduced to detriment , incendiary, brutal Music to destroy things to. Quite simply if you hate pop-rock and their coiffured MTV-kin, or just want to make your ears bleed, listen to the album that gave heavy metal a shotgut at the base of the neck and cold shiver down the spine.
The original line-ups yes I said line-ups, because there are essentially two different bands on this album, one per side combined metal, hardcore, and punk with their own sick, demented, twisted creativity and points of view which evolved into the most brutal music ever made.
Mick Harris's technique called the "blast beat", forever changed the genre of death metal. Virtually every death metal band to start after 'Scum' made use of the blast beat. The music on 'Scum' is brutal, fast, and speaks of human nature, and political unrest and world issues.
The songs are short, which is why there are 28 tracks crammed on, which equal less than 30 minutes worth of listening. The vocals are all but impossible to decipher, which also had an influence on death metal. The guitars are grinding and pound brutality into your skull like a jackhammer. To fully get what the music on 'Scum' is all about I advise that you check it out Be open minded, as 'Scum' takes several listens to fully absorb.
Its been a long time since an album literally grabbed me by by neck and pounded the flying shit out of me, but all has changed since i bought this album. On the first spin i was all over the fucking place!!! The album just picked me up and slammed me against the wall Many would consider this an infuential album, and so do i And you can't forget the odd story behind this album Share Facebook Twitter.
I first went to a gig in , Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. Point of No Return Negative Approach Deceiver Parasites Pseudo Youth Divine Death As the Machine Rolls On Common Enemy Moral Crusade Stigmatized Dragnet Full Dynamic Range Edition also available.
Tags metal death metal grindcore Meriden. Slaughter Club.Aug 31, · Napalm Death's "Scum" off of their album Scum In your mind Nothing but fear You can't face life Or believe death's near A vision of life On television s.