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Fear, Emptiness, Despair

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Album Review

Fear Emptiness Despair is the culmination of Napalm Death's early-'90s meanderings. Everything comes together here, resulting in the album that Harmony Corruption (1990) and Utopia Banished (1992) had foreshadowed — unrelenting grindcore as played by an experienced, technically advanced death metal collective with the guidance of a professional producer (Pete Coleman). "Hung," "Twist the Knife Slowly," and "Plague Rages" are hands down some of Napalm Death's best songs ever, and the remaining songs aren't far short of the mark. These songs are as ferocious as anything the classic lineup of Napalm Death (i.e., the late-'80s grindcore band) had recorded. They can stand alongside the likes of "Unchallenged Hate" and "Mentally Murdered," yet they're intricate and well developed in the manner of the band's later, more elaborate songs like "Suffer the Children" and "The World Keeps Turning." Plus, the professional production gives them a glorious, full-color sheen that early, lo-fi Napalm Death simply didn't have. In the end, it's really that simple — Fear Emptiness Despair is the culminant album fans had been waiting for, the one that again put Napalm Death atop the field of extreme metal (for a while, at least). It's not a perfect album, nor is it their be-all, end-all masterwork, but it's certainly a career highlight and a striking listen. [Earache's 11-track, 1999 edition featured alternate cover art.]

Customer Reviews

Good album from the Brummies

I got into Napalm Death from winning this album in a competition back in 1994. This is a good solid death metal album, my favourite tracks are, Remain Nameless & More than meets the eye.

Fear Emptiness Despair

Along with 2000′s Enemy Of The Music Business; Napalm Death’s fifth studio album Fear, Emptiness, Despair is a clear contender for best Napalm Death album to date.

Released in 1994, with the first occasion of the band not having a line-up change between records; Fear, Emptiness, Despair represents Napalm Death at the absolute apex of their early career, displaying all the immense talent and musicianship they had been building over the years, creating a genuinely unique record that no other band could have ever released.

The album seamlessly mixes their older insane speeds, (then) newer death metal influences and adds in a touch of the groove metal of the time to create an utterly compelling release that ranges various tempos and styles while still maintaining the classic Napalm Death feel and attitude.

Highlights include the absolutely blistering ‘Hung,’ and the famous ‘Plague Rages,’ as well as ‘Armageddon x7′ and ‘More than Meets the Eye,’ although to be fair the entire album is so consistent and enjoyable nothing is really less than fantastic.

The only flaw that the album really has is that the production style is fairly muddy and dense in that distinctive mid-nineties extreme-metal way, which can make tracks from this album seem less polished and perfect than they really are (something they have no problem with in the live show when all tracks are produced the same.)

Overall; Fear, Emptiness, Despair is one of the band’s finest outings and an absolute must-have release for any Napalm Death fan. It isn’t the kind of album you listen to once and then stick on the shelf never to be seen again, this is an album you will listen to for years after your initial purchase. When they play anything from this live, it is sure to bring a smile to your face!




Formed: 1982 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The fathers of grindcore, Napalm Death pushed the envelope of metal to new extremes of ear-splitting intensity, rejecting all notions of melody, subtlety, and good taste to forge a brand of sonic assault almost frightening in its merciless brutality. Formed in Ipswich, England in 1982, they trafficked in the usual heavy metal fare for the first few years of their existence, but by the middle of the decade they began to expand their horizons by incorporating elements of hardcore and thrash into the...
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