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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

Hell Yeah!!!

Now this album sure takes me back! I saw Napalm Death live in September '94 and actually met the entire band (except for the late Jesse Pintado, unfortunately). Mitch Harris is a really nice, amazing guy who I discovered from our first conversation is from the same area in NY that I am! Back to the album... Fear, Emptiness, Despair does not disappoint. Personal favorite for me is "Remain Nameless." The heaviness and intensity just grips your very soul... Barney Greenway got a little experimental with his vocals on this album, and it works out perfectly. If you're a fan of intense, melodic death metal, then definitely give this baby a listen!

A masterpiece

From the opening riffs of Twist the Knife to the final riffs of throwaway the listener can expect one of the most brutal trips in metal history. Napalm Death, already well know for albums like Scum, take brutality to a new level here. Thought provoking lyrics about social issues growled in hideous (meaning good) fashion bring to mind the ugly parts of civilization. Drums beat down the listener in a storm of blast beats while the guitars thrash apart ear drums. Buy this album.


There's alternative metal, hardcore punk, death metal, thrash metal, and many other types of bands who make some really heavy and fast songs. But Seriously, I think the grindcore gods Napalm Death are probably the most brutal band ever! Not the craziest, but even with their new albums, they just keep getting heavier and heavier. They are heavy but still maintain some creativity and play really difficult stuff. Barney's growls are as strong as ever, the crap deathcore bands only wish they could be as brutal as him. This is too much for anyone, well most metal is too much for the avergae person. Especially pop kids who would bleed their ears listening to this. But if you want some good music, or are a metal fan looking for some real brutality, then this is something you should have.


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 1981, 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 mix; ultimately, Napalm...
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