Napalm Death: Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism

I started this last year. I had an idea that involved explaining how Napalm Death approach their music as an artistic, conceptual endeavour and was going to use past approaches to performance and songwriting as examples. I was also going to go into how critics (myself included, depending on how loose your definition of critic is) are more willing to praise / condemn a band /artist for experimenting than they are willing to examine how much that experimenting affects the output.

I wrote some of the review, then a bit more. Somehow I lost that bit more.
I then wrote most of this over the last couple of weeks and took a bit out as the end result didn’t warrant that rambling on about Napalm Death’s approach.

I feel this is bloated. Could’ve been more concise. Oh well.

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I hope you enjoy.

Since somewhere around Words From the Exit Wound and Enemy of the Music Business Napalm Death have developed and furthered a particular sound. They’re a band that always have sounded like themselves, even during their run with particular sounds during the nineties; However, at a point they found a new sense of footing and have run with it ever since. This said, their desire to experiment whilst refining has remained.

Often it seems that said desire is necessary for the intensity of their music rather than a forced requirement. Napalm Death are a rather blunt band. However, if they didn’t further themselves, then much of that bluntness would eventually lose its impact. As such, whilst many of the albums from Wound / Business onward sound similar, they also have a bit of variation to them; something of which continues on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism starts muted before quite quickly launching properly into “Fuck The Factoid”, a song quite familiar with Napalm Death’s more recent oeuvre. That said, it seems knottier, more “chaotic” and has no problem going for more straightforward, stretched out stuff during the “choruses”. Rather than stick to just this, the song throws in a sort of ominous, menacing groove at the end. There’s a fair bit of groove on this album so upon repeat listens the inclusion here makes a bit more sense.

“Backlash Just Because” follows in a slower vein, though with more groove and less angularity. As it progresses it shifts around whilst maintaining a sense of steadiness. “That Curse of Being in Thrall” feels unable to sit down and plays with overload / underload in the percussion whilst the other instruments hammer away. However, once more eventually the Napalm Death go for the groove, though not without what feels like an anthemic call and response toward the end.

“Contagion” is more “mid-paced” stuff with a nice bounce to it, though the choruses go for more of a haunting feel, coming off as an atmospheric counterpoint. Eventually the song shifts away from these and takes on a pummeling, sort of avant-garde approach for a bit before including one more chorus. It’s a great section to include, but after enough repeats it feels like padding.

On “Joie De Ne Pas Vivre” atmosphere comes forward once more. It’s a colder, more reverb-filled song that feels off and at times uncomfortable in a way the rest of the album doesn’t. “Invigorating Clutch” sort of continues on, though with less room. The introduction draws long and broods with menace. Eventually it kicks into a doomy, sort of post-punk groove, pushing atmosphere in a different manner.

The following “Zero Gravitas Chamber” returns to more familiar territory and sees Napalm Death blast their way through heavy riffs at first. There are a few shifts throughout, with some sections feeling more connected than others. “Fluxing of the Muscle” returns to more groove, but it’s also really angular. Eventually it enters this sort of spacey, martial-like rhythm before finding groove once more.

Up to this point Throes Of Joy In The Jaws of Defeatism has been playing around a lot. Sometimes it feels as though the band is just kind of throwing things together. Maybe it’s an attempt at disorientation; maybe it’s not, but in terms of individual sections, everything works. When put together, some parts feel awkward and arbitrary, but overall the album thus far is tight, and meaningful. The vocals remain consistent in making sure the words get the force they need, the instruments match that force and really build on the intensity; everything gets all the gusto and implied freneticism you’d expect from Napalm Death. It’s pretty full on, though Napalm Death never have been one to mince words. This all said, “Amoral” is probably the most straightforward and lightest any of the album gets.

“Amoral” is a song where Napalm Death firmly embracing the Killing Joke influence in their music. Cold riffage and appreciable melody with a sense of the bleak, though also a strong sense of trying to reach out. The song is blunt and direct; Not making it this wiry tangling of notes allows the song to hit in a different way. It’s a simply song, though also difficult as whilst it’s effective, it feels both too beholden to influence and firmly Napalm Death. It’s solid but it sits in an odd space.

For “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism” the commencement is (relatively) more subdued: Screaming / grunting in what sounds like a muffled room. From there it’s a grindfest with more angular knotting and abrasive textures that build atmosphere. “Acting in Gouged Faith” pushes more on knotty grooves and tension, though of course once more goes into a shift. The shift leads to what feels like a of dismantling of the groove, then biting, blistering aggression returns.

“A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen” feels like a progression of a particular style Napalm Death pursue on specific songs. It’s a slow(ish) grinding, cold, monolithic dirge, with chant-like vocals and intense imagery. Synth sounds shimmer bleakly whilst the vocals continued their detached, disembodied calling. It seems as though the song is going to wind down for a moment; It then picks back up, almost feeling like a rallying cry. Eventually it ends on what feels like a twisted melodic section, almost calm, at ease, peaceful and accepting. Great ending to the album really.

In a lot of ways Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism sounds spontaneous. Perhaps free-form; at least, more so than previous albums. A lot of this comes from the segmented, multi-faceted approach to the songs. Each section is tight, but some don’t connect well with each other. At times some songs feel like they run too long, though that has more to do with how much shifting there is than it does overplaying sections. This said, the album is good. It’s Napalm Death refusing to rest on their laurels to get their message across. Their approach here might need further refinement, but it’s effective.

Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism is available here.

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ACE+: Mechonis Field

Alright, so with this one I was looking to just describe what I could and see where it went.
It took two listens and didn’t produce anything I’m neither content nor discontent with.

ACE+’s “Mechonis Field” (“機神界フィールド”) is from Xenoblade Chronicles Special Soundtrack and Xenoblade Original Soundtrack, both soundtracks for Xenoblade Chronicles. The former is a selection of tracks released outside of Japan, whereas the latter is the entire soundtrack. The song’s appearance on the latter is in an extended form where part of it loops.

I hope you enjoy.

A mechanical drone comes forward, then fades away. Replaced it is with what sounds like some sort of percussive sparkling. A deep sense of space forms as sounds in the background create shape. Suddenly something rises forward and an arpeggiating appears. Gradually structure appears as the sounds move forward. Tone and texture come forth, then another sound rises and once more the music shifts.

Metallic, electronic sounds come forward in an emotive sway, moving smoothly and flowing with a sense of grandeur. Something cascades down and all seems to grow out and upward with a grace and beauty. There is an eeriness present in the electronic sounds, and yet it feels all natural and highly fitting.

Once more the music shifts and sounds form and fade over a slow, steady beat and slow, firm bass. The cascading returns, but it is of a different form and the music takes on a more serious, dramatic and pressing nature. The beat drops away, the sounds pull back, then the beat returns just before the song ends.

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Five-Hundred Word Challenge 998: Time to get Busy

Been up for a while and been doing very little. It’s time to get busy and get the things done. It is time to write this, then the next thing. There are things that need to see completion today and so completion is what I aim for on this particular morning of mornings.

I listen for sounds outside and then I look inside myself. Memories are not triggered, but perhaps that is not the point. Sometimes it feels as though listening is involuntary and that I should try and see if I can stop listening to the various sounds out there, but there is so much rhythm and tone and texture, and so much imagery conjured from what is heard. That imagery might not necessarily be an accurate reflection of the real thing, but perhaps it is a true reflection of the real thing. Don’t know and not going to think about that further… maybe.

Anyway, I sit here and I type this out. I hope for the best, expect the worst and keep on going. I like for things and I see what things out there could be in here, but then I look back at this and decide that perhaps it is best to just think about the words that are coming forward. Maybe I should think about the words and think about how they happen as they happen, and which way they happen. Perhaps I should consider the order in which these words come forward and see how they operate with each other and provide context and meaning in relation to each other.

Perhaps not.

I try to think of other things but there is no real thinking about thinking today. There is also no real talking about thinking, though maybe there is and all of this is some sort of failed attempt to mask such a thing. There is every possibility that it is and, now that I’m jumping onto this, I am going to pretend that that is indeed the case. Sure, there are other things that are more worthwhile to pretend are the case, but for now let us pretend that this is indeed the case. It makes it easier for me to keep on pretending and working toward the things that I pretend to work toward, but I’m really just rambling and letting whatever it is that comes forward come forward in the hopes that there is something that makes this reading experience an experience involving reading rather than anything that could be classified as coherent. You win some, you lose some, but all of this is somewhere in the middle until it no longer is, forcing me to face up to the fact that all of this writing is achieving little, but then again, does it have to achieve anything? The task today is to get busy and do stuff and doing things is what I am doing, but this doesn’t have to work toward that goal, though it is, so yeah.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 05:25:65

Feel rather sluggish at the moment and perhaps that is reflected in this writing.
Well, busy time commences.

Written at home.

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Five-Hundred Word Challenge 997: Not This Morning

Morning has come and the rays of the rising sun shine down upon the planet and cast shadows in the direction they can resist the light the most in, or something. Fingers, slow and cold warm up and gradually pick up speed as they write out sentences that have no real meaning in the grand context of the grand scheme of things. Such is the way of the morning when you are trying to get things done in an expedient manner.

Well, maybe not this morning, but at least some mornings. This morning is more about a sense of relaxation, though of course that sense might not be captured in any way, shape or form. There are other things to worry about, but I sit here and I sit here with a sense of contentment, but perhaps there should be more restlessness as there are things to do, but there are always things to do and so this is not something outside what one may consider the normal process of things.

Perhaps it is time to step outside of the normal process of things and start walking toward something that shakes up the system of which is built around myself by my own hands.

Of course I could just work at reshaping what it is that I am referring to here, but that would take time and effort and I’ve none of those at the moment. Well, I have time, but all the effort left a while ago and now it’s just me doing this without much to go on, though there always is something to go on and sometimes having something is better than nothing.

I wonder as to when having nothing is better than something. Depends on the situation really.

So anyway, there is now a loud buzzing noise that is invading this space of my creation and I do not like it, but unfortunately it is something that needs to be tolerated for a period of time as there is work happening outside and it is work of some important type. I cannot control it; nor can I tell it to stop. However, I can spend time hopelessly hoping that it will end sooner rather than alter and sometimes that is something that works. Sometimes that is something that really pays off. I can’t explain how, but we need to pretend that that is indeed the case and that is how things work. If I don’t, then I do not know as to what I will do for the rest of the day as that would mean having to accept some other form of reality, or something. That would mean having to embrace other things out there and I don’t feel much like doing that right now as I just want to drive on forward and spend the day hoping for the best so as to be able to spend the day hoping for the best rather than letting this sound happen and pass, but I digress.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 05:41:05

Not sure as to why I waited so long to get this up.
Not great writing but any measure. Somewhere maybe close to a perceived middle.

Written at home.

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Fish Fingers

This first one was just a rough sketch done during a stream last week.

I had planned on tracing it and did so a few hours ago during another stream, but I also redid part of the tail and the mouth as I though it would work better.

I feel as though the rough sketch version works better.

I hope you enjoy.

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Five-Hundred Word Challenge 996: Doing This

Alright, so I start with doing this and then I will add in a little bit of that. We will see what happens and then I will see what happens as my hair continues its quest to become increasingly fluffier and stick out in a whole bunch of messy directions until the weight becomes too much and thus it starts to droop down once more. This is of course something that I wholly endorse as I don’t care much about how my hair looks. Perhaps I should care more, but that is something that I refuse to worry about at the present moment. There are other things of which are significantly more important for me to worry about at this present moment, but they won’t be addressed until the next present moment and there will be hopping about each moment until the right moment finally reveals itself. When that happens I’ll be able to jump upon it and see what it is that it provides, though maybe it’s just whatever I think it would be, or nothing at all and I’m barking up the wrong fish, as they say.

Perhaps all of this overthinking and underthinking provides little else than vapid conjecture and what I should really be doing is moving on with things in a manner that expresses the sensation of progress. It doesn’t actually need to be progress, but the suggestion of progress needs to at least be displayed. There needs to be something that suggests something and all of that other stuff, and so on and so forth and you get the idea.

However, I don’t think that this is important right now so please ignore all of this whilst I go and swing onto the next thing.

Maybe the swing won’t reach far enough and I’ll have to settle with a shortened length. If this does indeed happen, then I will need to make the most of what it is that I reach, but I’m sure that I can through the power of somehow doing what it is that I need to do, or something.

So anyway, I think that this swinging is something that just needs to happen and so I need to swing into action. I need to roll and dive through the obstacles that I set up and then I will finish with style and gusto. Maybe a lot of gusto, but also maybe very little. It is difficult to tell at this moment, but I’m leaning toward a lot as that seems more fun and exciting and adventurous; far more than very little, at least.

Still, what other variables will exist out there? Plenty, I guess. However, that is not for now. What is for now is the time for action taking and I am the one to take action in this particular instance. I could choose to not take action, but I will definitely take action. I will take action and contextualise it in a way that allows overthinking and underthinking.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 06:58:35

Bit of a lazy write, this one.
Also rather aimless, though that’s not really different from usual.

Written at home.

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Lights in a Car Park

Another photo of a car park, but this time at night.

This one has a dingy feel to it, I think. I imagine it would look different during the day, but here it doesn’t look like the kind of place you’d want to be. The lighting is enough to know where you’re going, but it feels like an attempt to be clinical without quite succeeding.

This is my submission into the one hundred-and-sixty-sixth Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

The theme for this one is “Artificial Light“.

The challenge is hosted by four people and cycles weekly:

Week 1 – Patti

Week 2 – Ann-Christine aka Leya

Week 3 – Amy

Week 4 – Tina

This one is curated by Leya. The next one is curated by Amy.

I recommend participating in the challenges. They’re enjoyable and allow room for interpretation of the theme without straying too far. If you don’t participate, then I recommend that you at least check out what others of the Lens-Artists community are submitting.

I hope you enjoy.

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A Poem About Lines

A short one and a bit of a mess.
I wrote this really quickly, kind of as a need to decompress a bit after working on the images from the last thing I shared.
Still, I think this gets some imagery across.

I hope you enjoy.

Many lines running in different directions
Some intersect and create new forms
Though they always retain their own

Angles appear, following the lines
As they keep growing onward
And find ways to illustrate shapes

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Hue Man

This was started on Wednesday and finished today.

When I thought I’d finished the lines and started filling in the colours for the fuller variants I discovered I’d made an error and had to redo every line of colour.

I think I’ve spent somewhere between fifteen and twenty hours working on this.
It was tedious but in the end I completed the image and I’m glad I did.

I hope you enjoy.

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Five-Hundred Word Challenge 995: Climbing Trees

More writing and once again I have little to go off.

It is one of those days, but I guess I should be glad that it is and not one of the other days where I struggle more.

Maybe I need to look at climbing trees, but in order to climb a tree I need stairs as that will help me better get to where it is that I feel I need to be in order to persevere and assess the thigs that I need to assess.

There will be a table at the top of the whole thing – that thing being the tree – and I will have the things of which I need to assess sitting there. There they will sit and there I will assess them. I will look and analyse each one and I will work out as to which order they are meant to be in. This may take some time.

Thankfully there will be snacks and I like snacking, so therefore this won’t be the worst thing in the world. There are significantly worse things and really, this might just be one of the better things out there that one could ever have to deal with. However, I digress, somehow.

So anyway, I would spend the time and the time would pass by. Night into day and day into night and all that other stuff. There would be the passage of time and there would be the great analysing of things that don’t necessarily matter, but at least they would be analysed. They would be examined. There would be expressing of these things in a linear fashion, but perhaps it would not appear as though it was linear. Perhaps it would appear messy and open and all of those other things that I’d rather not have the whole thing appear as, but sometimes you don’t get a say there and so you just do what you can, where you can and how you can.

Of course you could also choose to not, but that is not something that I’m going to cover here as I need to go over there and then look at some other things. Maybe.

Eventually, of course, this would all grow tiresome and so I would need to go back down the tree and then go home. Of course this is then something that I would gladly do as I would much rather be at home resting than spending far too much time on something that might not warrant it, unless of course I can warrant doing so, which sometimes I can. However, not in this particular instance.

So I’d go home and have a rest and then do some other things which involve sleeping. Maybe there would be a fair bit of sleeping, but then again, maybe there would be very little. Of course it is too early in the day to tell, but sometimes you can tell sooner rathe than later, but right now it wouldn’t matter too much.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 05:18:59

Good speed, bit of a mess, but I feel I was able to weave some sort of whimsy in which somehow improves this.

Written at home.

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