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.


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. [3]

Musical style

Originally titled Under Rule, [4] the album represented a stylistic transition for Napalm Death. [5] 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. [6] The group experimented a new compositional 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. [5]


In its first week of release Fear, Emptiness, Despair reached No. 22 in Billboard's Heatseekers chart. [7] The inclusion of "Twist the Knife (Slowly)" in the Mortal Kombat soundtrack brought the band further acclaim. [8] The soundtrack scored a Top 10 position on the Billboard 200 chart, [9] and went platinum in less than a year. [10] In the August 1995 edition of RAW Fear, Emptiness, Despair was featured in the magazine's 90 essential albums of the nineties. [11]

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


Napalm Death

Production personnel

Chart positions

Chart (1994)Peak position
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard) [12] 22
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) [13] 78

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  1. 1 2 3 Birchmeier, Jason. "( Fear Emptiness Despair > Overview )". Allmusic . Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  2. Goat. "Napalm Death - Fear, Emptiness, Despair". MetalReviews. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  3. 1 2 https://www.decibelmagazine.com/2017/12/13/rank-defile-shane-embury-orders-napalm-deaths-albums-worst-best/
  4. "NAPALM DEATH". Earache Records. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  5. 1 2 "Decibrity Playlist: Shane Embury (Napalm Death)". Decibel Magazine. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2017.External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. Mudrian, Albert (2004). Choosing Death: the Improbable History of Death Metal and Grincore. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House. Page 194.
  7. Billboard's Heatseekers Album Chart. Billboard, 18 June 1994. Page 20.
  8. "Artists :: NAPALM DEATH". MusicMight. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  9. "Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales". Billboard . Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  10. "Search Results for Mortal Kombat". Recording Industry Association of America . Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  11. "RAW's 90 Essential Albums for the 90s". RAW. August 1995. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  12. "Napalm Death Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  13. "Napalm Death - Fear, Emptiness, Despair". Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Germany. Retrieved 24 September 2015.