Fear, Emptiness, Despair

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Fear, Emptiness, Despair
Fear, Emptiness, Despair.jpg
Studio album by
Released31 May 1994 (1994-05-31)
RecordedOctober 1993 (1993-10)–November 1993 (1993-11)
November 1993 (1993-11)–December 1993 (1993-12)
StudioParr St. Studios, Liverpool, England
Jacob Studios, Surrey, England
Genre Death metal [1]
Label Earache, Columbia
Producer Pete Coleman, Napalm Death
Napalm Death chronology
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
Fear, Emptiness, Despair
Greed Killing
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [1]
MetalReviews86/100 [2]

Fear, Emptiness, Despair is the fifth studio album by British grindcore band Napalm Death, released on 31 May 1994. Napalm Death's inclusion on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack brought significant exposure to the band and this album, alongside the fact that the band's label Earache had formed a partnership with Columbia Records which allowed the album to disseminate to a wider audience. [3] RAW magazine listed Fear, Emptiness, Despair as one of the essential album of the 1990s.

Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as: thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.

Napalm Death British grindcore band

Napalm Death are a British extreme metal band formed in Meriden, West Midlands, England, in 1981. While none of its original members remain in the group since December 1986, the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent of the band's career since 1992's Utopia Banished, although, from 1989 to 2004, Napalm Death were a five-piece band after they added Jesse Pintado as the replacement of one-time guitarist Bill Steer; following Pintado's departure, the band reverted to a four-piece rather than replace him.

Earache Records is an independent record label, music publisher and management company founded by Digby Pearson, based in Nottingham, England with offices in London and New York. It helped to pioneer extreme metal by releasing early grindcore and death metal records between 1988 and 1994. The label roster has since diversified into more mainstream guitar music, working with bands such as Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Blackberry Smoke and The White Buffalo. The company also hosted the 'Earache Express' stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and will be hosting 'The Earache Factory' at Boomtown Fair 2018.


In a 2017 interview, bassist Shane Embury listed the album as his least favourite of Napalm Death's discography, citing the division between the vocalist Barney Greenway and the remainder of the band, and the high corporate influence over the band during the album's production as factors that undermined the final result. [4]

Shane Embury British musician

Shane Embury is a British bassist and, since 1987, a member of grindcore and death metal band Napalm Death.

The following is a comprehensive discography of Napalm Death, an influential English grindcore/death metal band.

Barney Greenway British extreme metal vocalist

Mark Andrew "Barney" Greenway is a British extreme metal vocalist, who is currently the lead vocalist of Napalm Death, and was formerly a member of Extreme Noise Terror, and Benediction.

Musical style

Originally titled Under Rule, [5] the album represented a stylistic transition for Napalm Death. [6] Fear, Emptiness, Despair maintained the complex music structures of their previous albums Utopia Banished and Harmony Corruption , [1] but there was a greater emphasis placed on incorporating elements of groove into the band's style, resulting in a wider use of mid-paced music. [7] The group experimented a new compostional style: they started off with the drum beats and then layered the guitar riffs atop of the drum patterns . Bassist Shane Embury claims that Helmet and their album Strap It On influenced the band's style on this album. Other alternative rock groups that shaped Napalm Death's music during this transitional period were Soundgarden, Jane's Addiction and Sonic Youth, plus old favorites such as Discharge and Death. [8]

<i>Utopia Banished</i> 1992 studio album by Napalm Death

Utopia Banished is the fourth studio album by the British band Napalm Death. The album was released in 1992 by Earache Records. It is the first album featuring Danny Herrera on drums following the departure of Mick Harris.

<i>Harmony Corruption</i> 1990 studio album by Napalm Death

Harmony Corruption is the third studio album by Napalm Death, released in 1990 on Earache Records.

Drum beat rhythmic pattern played on drums

A drum beat or drum pattern is a rhythmic pattern, or repeated rhythm establishing the meter and groove through the pulse and subdivision, played on drum kits and other percussion instruments. As such a "beat" consists of multiple drum strokes occurring over multiple musical beats while the term "drum beat" may also refer to a single drum stroke which may occupy more or less time than the current pulse. Many drum beats define or are characteristic of specific music genres.


In its first week of release Fear, Emptiness, Despair reached #22 in Billboard's Heatseekers chart. [9] The inclusion of "Twist the Knife (Slowly)" in the Mortal Kombat soundtrack brought the band further acclaim. [10] The soundtrack scored a Top 10 position on the Billboard 200 chart, [11] and went platinum in less than a year. [12] In the August 1995 edition of RAW Fear, Emptiness, Despair was featured in the magazine's 90 essential albums of the nineties. [13]

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Top Heatseekers are "Breaking and Entering" music charts issued weekly by Billboard magazine. The Heatseekers Albums and the Heatseekers Songs charts were introduced by Billboard in 1991 with the purpose of highlighting the sales by new and developing musical recording artists. Albums and songs appearing on Top Heatseekers may also concurrently appear on the Billboard 200 or Billboard Hot 100.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

Track listing

1."Twist the Knife (Slowly)"Shane EmburyMitch Harris2:52
2."Hung"Embury, Mark GreenwayHarris, Embury3:49
3."Remain Nameless"EmburyJesse Pintado3:33
4."Plague Rages"EmburyEmbury3:51
5."More than Meets the Eye"GreenwayEmbury3:55
6."Primed Time"GreenwayHarris, Embury3:28
7."State of Mind"EmburyEmbury3:32
8."Armageddon X 7"GreenwayHarris3:16
9."Retching on the Dirt"GreenwayEmbury, Harris2:59
10."Fasting on Deception"EmburyPintado3:48
Digipak CD bonus tracks
12."Truth Drug"GreenwayEmbury3:51
13."Living in Denial"EmburyPintado3:02


Napalm Death

Singing act of producing musical sounds with the voice

Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi.

Bass guitar Electric bass instrument

The bass guitar is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric guitar, except with a longer neck and scale length, and four to six strings or courses.

Jesus "Jesse" Ernesto Pintado Andrade was a lead guitar player born in Mexico who at an early age moved to the US. He started in the grindcore band Terrorizer where he recorded the album World Downfall, the first album to feature Pete Sandoval who would later leave the band to join Morbid Angel. It was Jesse Pintado who coined the term "grindcore" for the first time, to describe a musical mixture of "noise and chaos" which he was developing at that time.

Production personnel

Colin Richardson is a British record producer, mixer and recording engineer. He has worked on over 100 albums, and is most frequently associated with heavy metal and its subgenres.

Chart positions

Chart (1994)Peak position
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) [14] 78

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From Enslavement to Obliteration is the second studio album by grindcore band Napalm Death, released in 1988. It is the final studio album with vocalist Lee Dorrian and guitarist Bill Steer, and the first to feature bassist Shane Embury, the band's longest-tenured member. A remastered version was released on 2 April 2012.

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  2. Goat. "Napalm Death - Fear, Emptiness, Despair". MetalReviews. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
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  4. https://www.decibelmagazine.com/2017/12/13/rank-defile-shane-embury-orders-napalm-deaths-albums-worst-best/
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  7. Mudrian, Albert (2004). Choosing Death: the Improbable History of Death Metal and Grincore. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House. Page 194.
  8. "Decibrity Playlist: Shane Embury (Napalm Death)". Decibel Magazine. 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2017-06-24.External link in |publisher= (help)
  9. Billboard's Heatseekers Album Chart. Billboard, June 18 1994. Page 20.
  10. "Artists :: NAPALM DEATH". MusicMight. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  11. "Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales". Billboard . Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  12. "Search Results for Mortal Kombat". Recording Industry Association of America . Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  13. "RAW's 90 Essential Albums For The 90s". RAW. August 1995. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  14. "Napalm Death - Fear, Emptiness, Despair". Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Germany. Retrieved 24 September 2015.