Nicholas Bullen

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Nicholas Bullen
Also known asNik Napalm
Born1968 (age 5152)
Coventry, England
Origin Birmingham, England
Genres Punk, rock, industrial, electronica, grindcore
Occupation(s)Musician, sound artist, writer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, programming, bass guitar, electronics
Years active1981–present
Labels Monium
Associated acts Napalm Death (1981–87), Scorn (1991–95), Final (1983), Black Galaxy, Photon Hex, Alienist

Nicholas Bullen (born 1968 in Coventry, England) is an English composer, artist and writer.


Bullen is one of the founding members – with Miles Ratledge (Rat) – of Napalm Death, [1] the band credited with creating the Grindcore genre. [2] The duo had collaborated on fanzines and played together in a number of 'bedroom' bands from 1980 onwards and formed the first line-up of Napalm Death in May 1981 (when Bullen and Ratledge were 13 and 14 years old respectively).

Bullen was initially the vocalist in the group, but later began to play bass and vocals after Justin Broadrick (Godflesh and Jesu) was invited to join the group on guitar in 1985. Bullen had previously been a collaborator with Broadrick in the power electronics project Final in 1983 and 1984.

Bullen left Napalm Death in December 1986 (after recording the A-side of the band's debut album Scum which is credited with being the release which initiated the 'Grindcore' genre) due to an increasing dissatisfaction with the direction of the group and a desire to pursue his studies at university (where he studied English Literature and Philosophy).

Bullen was invited to join Mick Harris (a fellow ex-member of Napalm Death) in Scorn in 1991: a more experimental project that moved away from the members previous work to explore dark breakbeat-driven rhythmic mantras informed by avant-garde modern composition, the reflective spaces of Dub and dark drone-based ambience. The core duo released 3 albums on the Earache label, along with a number of 12" singles featuring radically deconstructed remixes of album material and appearances on compilation albums (including the Isolationism and Macro Dub Infection compilations of the Virgin Ambient series). The group also released an album of remixes featuring artists such as Bill Laswell, Scanner, Coil and Autechre, and recorded 2 sessions for the John Peel radio show. The group featured a revolving roster of temporary members including Paul Neville (Godflesh) and James Plotkin (OLD, Khanate) in an ancillary role as guitarist. Bullen left the group in March 1995.

Bullen continued to be involved in other projects during his tenure in Scorn: he worked with the avant-garde techno group Germ, the experimental soundscape project Umbilical Limbo and released material under his own name including an album called Bass Terror with bassist and avant-garde producer Bill Laswell.

Bullen remained silent musically for the best part of a decade (during which time he gained another university degree in Computer Science) before returning to live performing in 2003 with the experimental electronic group Black Galaxy. Black Galaxy use a range of instrumentation (including laptop, tone generators, circuit bent instruments, tabletop guitar, preparations, and amplified objects) to blend rhythmic pulses with deep bass tones and abstracted sound. They also create satellite work related to non-rhythmic sound fields, live improvised film soundtracking, and regular collaboration with electro-acoustic musicians kREEPA. The group have played at a number of festivals (including Sonar (Barcelona), Supersonic festival and the Sonic Arts Network Expo). He also participates in a number of other collaborative projects which are predominantly focused on live performance and improvisation (including the Photon Hex ensemble and electro-acoustic improvising trio Migrant), and performs solo (as Alienist and under his own name).

To extend this work, Bullen began the Monium imprint in 2006 with the intention of bringing together a loose collective of artists interested in the exploration of (analogue / digital, improvisation / composition, performance / recording) in sound, film and text.

Bullen's work in the field of sound art has included sound installations, sound design for radio-based art, writing on the use of the voice in music and art, a tour of cinemas producing improvised sound responses to key pieces of 'experimental' cinema, lectures, and collaborations with artists at a variety of venues (including Tate Britain, Art Basel, Hayward Gallery, Schirn Kunsthalle, ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), Arnolfini Gallery, Ikon Eastside, City Projects and New Art Gallery Walsall). [3] He also continues to develop an ongoing interest in Super 8mm film-making (with a particular focus on abstraction and hand-painted work).

He is based in Birmingham, England. [3]

Related Research Articles

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 grindcore 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.

<i>Scum</i> (Napalm Death album) 1987 studio album by Napalm Death

Scum is the debut studio album by English grindcore band Napalm Death. It was released on 1 July 1987 through Earache Records. It is widely considered a formative influence on the grindcore genre.

Praxis was the name of an experimental rock project, led by producer/bassist Bill Laswell and featuring guitarist Buckethead and drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia in nearly every incarnation of the band.

Godflesh English industrial metal band

Godflesh are an English industrial metal band from Birmingham, England. The group formed in 1982 under the title Fall of Because but did not release any complete music until 1988 when Justin Broadrick and G. C. Green (bass) renamed the band and decided to use a drum machine for percussion. Melding heavy metal with industrial music and later with electronic music and dub, Godflesh's innovative sound is widely regarded as a foundational influence on other industrial metal and post-metal acts and as significant to both experimental metal and extreme metal.

Scorn is an English electronic music project. The group was formed in the early 1990s as a side project of former Napalm Death members Mick Harris and Nic Bullen. Bullen left the group in 1995 and the project continued on until the end of 2011, as an essentially solo project for Harris.

Final (band) band

Final is a project of Justin Broadrick, creator of the band Godflesh, which he started when he was just 13 years old. Unlike Godflesh, Final is primarily electronic in nature, taking on a space-like, dark ambient sound.

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 'The Earache Factory' at Boomtown Fair 2018.

Michael John Harris is an English musician. He is generally credited for coining the terms 'Blast beat' and 'Grindcore' to describe his ferocious drumming attack and the genre he helped create and popularize. Since the mid-1990s, Harris has worked primarily in electronic and ambient music, his main projects being Scorn and Lull. According to Allmusic, Harris's "genre-spanning activities have done much to jar the minds, expectations, and record collections of audiences previously kept aggressively opposed."

Justin Broadrick Record producer, musician, singer

Justin Karl Michael Broadrick is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist and drummer. He is best known as a founding member of the band Godflesh, one of the first bands to combine elements of extreme metal and industrial music. He was briefly in the English grindcore band Napalm Death when he was a teenager in the mid-1980s, writing and recording guitar for Side One of Napalm Death's debut album, Scum. Broadrick has also maintained a parallel career as a producer, producing records and remixes for groups such as Pantera, Isis, Mogwai and Hydra Head labelmates Pelican. Since 2012, he has been releasing hard techno music under the solo moniker JK Flesh. Broadrick has set up record labels such as HeadDirt, Avalanche Recordings, Post Mortem Productions, Lo Fibre and Heartache.

Painkiller is a band that formed in 1991, combining avant-garde jazz and grindcore. Later albums incorporated elements of ambient and dub.

Miles "Rat" Ratledge is a founding member of the band Napalm Death, the band credited with creating the grindcore genre which blended elements of extreme metal and punk rock.

Kevin Martin (British musician) English musician

Kevin Martin is a musician, record producer and journalist, often known under his recording alias The Bug from England, UK. Martin moved from Weymouth to London around 1990 and is now currently based in Berlin, Germany. He has been active for over two decades, in the genres of dub, jazzcore, industrial hip hop, dancehall, and dubstep.

Paul Neville is an underground experimental guitarist and musician from Birmingham, England.

kREEPA are a group that perform electronic music and musical improvisation founded by John Richards and Hilary Jeffery in 2000. The group performs a type of industrial jazz and electro-noise.

Industrial hip hop is a fusion genre of industrial music and hip hop.

Submerged is a Brooklyn-based DJ, bassist, founder of Ohm Resistance and co-founder of Obliterati, American avant garde drum and bass and experimental music labels, and a prolific multi-genre electronic music producer, first notable for his work with Grammy Award-winning bassist and producer Bill Laswell in creating drum and bass - jazz fusion projects including their band Method of Defiance, and The Blood of Heroes.

Iroha (band) British band

Iroha is a post-metal band from Birmingham, England formed by former Final member Andy Swan featuring Jesu bassist Diarmuid Dalton and former Rumblefish and Low Art Thrill member, Dominic Crane.

Diarmuid Dalton British musician and songwriter

Diarmuid Dalton is a British musician and songwriter. He is best known as the bass guitarist of post-metal bands, Jesu and Iroha. Dalton frequently collaborates with Justin Broadrick, who is the founder of Godflesh and Jesu.

<i>Life Is Easy</i> 1999 studio album by Fall of Because

Life Is Easy is a compilation album by Birmingham-based industrial metal group Fall of Because, compiling songs recorded in 1986 and 1987 before the band became Godflesh. Released on 24 August 1999 through Alleysweeper and distributed by Martin Atkins' label Invisible Records, Life Is Easy contains many songs that went on to be rerecorded and turned into Godflesh tracks.


  1. Napalm Death official site Archived 19 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Mudrian, Albert (2004). Choosing Death: the Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House
  3. 1 2 Art Review September 2008