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Napalm Death - Punishment in Capitals Review

by Matt Hensch

I typically find a decent amount of live albums to be very poor and redundant. After all, several factors can make or break a band's own show that most folks don't even consider, and from that comes the 50-50 chance of such a release kicking ass, or sucking like a black hole. Thankfully, my bi-annual stint in which I crave Napalm Death like a drug brought me to the group's loved live record entitled Punishment in Capitals. Intrigued by Napalm Death's legendary status and career, I picked it up, and wasn't disappointed by the wonderfully-produced plastic that brought every good quality of a live recording in full-circle. A great song list, awesome production, and spot-on playing are just small parts of what this great CD has within.

Punishment in Capitals was recorded about twenty years after Napalm Death suited up for what would become their genre-defining sound. And with this special mark in the band's career, Napalm Death showcases a surprisingly-large set containing songs from every release at said point in time. Whether they're grinding through a collage of Scum material or newer death metal tracks, Napalm Death keeps the track list enjoyable, unpredictable, and definitely fun to hear. After all, thirty tunes from the gods of grind should keep anyone entertained; if that doesn't, then the mini-solos, the various cover songs including "Nazi Punks F**k off," and the Celtic Frost references will. This here is a golden hour of slaughtering metal filled with an incredible list of tracks that will make any fan of Napalm Death faint, or jump for joy at the very least.

Live recordings must meet a certain number of non-performance guidelines in order to be considered passable by the slightest degree; this includes several items, but production is by far the most important. Punishment in Capitals thankfully benefits from the wide scale of wonderful production this CD offers, mainly because each member brings his own set of cacophony to the table without coming off as a sloppy performance. Everything is clear and easy to here, yet one thing separates this baby from the rest: the utter rawness. Napalm Death is a group that lives for sounding rough, unpolished, and uncooked for the sake of originality, yet the group's chewy rareness is what builds up this record's content. It's like diving into a big, greasy burger knowing you'll get a bit messy, but love it nonetheless.

Napalm Death manages to benefit from a strong overall performance. All thirty tunes are jacked with high doses of speed, flexibility, and comfort with the group's signature ripping riffs, Barney Greenway's low growls, and raw bass audio. The common death metal characteristic of playing fast is definitely something to expect, but the quick transitions between tracks is also something to take note of. Also, Barney doesn't hesitate pumping up the crowd by offering the coming tracks or just joking around with the fans. The entire band has all the attitude, charisma, skill, energy, and crowd interaction only a Napalm Death show could offer.

Being a fan of live CDs myself, I need to say Punishment in Capitals is definitely one of the better items available on the performance shelf. It sure is amazing to hear this legendary faction dish out tune after tune with ease, and without leaving any breathing room or gaps in their incredible performance. Truly a disc you'll want to own if live records make you smile, or you have a place in your heart for Napalm Death.

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Napalm Death - Punishment in Capitals


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