|Studio album by|
|Released||1 July 1987|
|Recorded||August 1986 –May 1987|
|Studio||Rich Bitch Studios, Birmingham|
|Producer||Napalm Death, Unseen Terror, Head of David, Dig|
|Napalm Death chronology|
|Singles from Scum|
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.
The two sides of the record were recorded by two different lineups in sessions separated by about year. The only musician in both incarnations was drummer Mick Harris. The two sides are very different, and the two taken together serve to bridge stylistic elements of heavy metal and punk rock. While the songs on the A-side are influenced heavily by hardcore punk and anarcho-punk, the vocals and lower-tuned electric guitars on the B-side anticipates subsequent developments in extreme metal.
The album sold more than 10,000 copies in the year of its release and reached #8 on the UK Indie chart. In 2005, Scum was voted the 50th best British album of all time by Kerrang! readers, and in 2009 was ranked number five in Terrorizer's list of essential European grindcore albums.Scum is listed in Robert Dimery's book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die .
Napalm Death formed in 1981. After various personnel changes, demo recordings, and a period of dormancy, they had returned to activity in 1985 with a lineup of Nicholas Bullen (vocals, bass), Justin Broadrick (guitar), and Miles Ratledge (drums). Around this time, Daz Russell, promoter of the club The Mermaid in Birmingham, had essentially made Napalm Death the punk "house band" of his club.Due to the local popularity of the band, this arrangement secured him the visitor numbers sufficient to generate enough revenue to pay the foreign bands playing at the club. Napalm Death therefore supported all the hardcore punk bands that Russell booked, including Anti Cimex, Sacrilege, Heresy, Concrete Sox, and The Varukers. Bassist Peter Shaw also briefly played with the band while Bullen sang exclusively. After recording their demo Hatred Surge, Shaw and founding drummer Ratledge departed, and the latter was replaced by Mick Harris in November 1985. Harris aspired to play faster than any other drummer, citing U.S. hardcore bands Siege and Deep Wound as influences. The first live appearances with this lineup took place in January 1986 with Amebix and Instigators, and the new lineup had allowed the band to become more musically adept. In March 1986, the group entered Flick Studios and recorded the demo From Enslavement to Obliteration, combining their initial anarcho-punk influences with riffs akin to those of Celtic Frost and extremely fast drumming.
Napalm Death intended to record another demo in 1986, as no record label had yet shown interest in the band.Russell offered to release either a single or split for the band on his newly formed independent label. The band thus entered the Rich Bitch studio in Birmingham to record a set of songs. The recordings took place over two days, with sessions happening at night due to the studio charging a lower hourly recording rate during this time. Around 20 friends of the band were present for the sessions. These included the members of the bands Head of David and Unseen Terror, who are listed on the record as producers, as well as Damian Thompson of Sacrilege, from whom Broadrick had borrowed an effects pedal.
The songs came from different phases of the band's development. Some material was based on ideas from Justin Broadrick dating to 1983,while others derived from material written by Broadrick and Ratledge for the Hatred Surge demo. The songs "The Kill", "You Suffer", and "Death by Manipulation" were included on From Enslavement to Obliteration, but the versions of the songs recorded during this session were faster than the originals. Russell paid the initial studio costs, but Napalm Death decided not to give him the master tapes because he had never paid them for their appearances at The Mermaid.
The demo was distributed to various record labels. Manic Ears Records had planned to release it as a split album with Atavistic, but the label owner Shane Dabinett ultimately withdrew his offer. Napalm Death also received a cancellation from Pushead and his label Pusmort Records.
After the recording sessions, there was tension in the band. Bullen attributed this to the fact that every band member wanted to take over the leading role.In September 1986, Jim Whiteley joined as bass player while Bullen switched to singing exclusively. This coincided with Bullen's loss of interest in Napalm Death and music more generally. After a concert in Leeds with Sacrilege, Broadrick left the band to play drums in Head of David, which was at the time more successful than Napalm Death after having released an album for Blast First, the label of Sonic Youth. Broadrick was initially replaced by Frank Healy, and later by the 16-year-old Bill Steer. Soon thereafter, Bullen left Napalm Death to pursue his studies of English literature and philosophy at the university. Lee Dorrian joined as the band's new singer. The new lineup's sound reflected an increasing interest in heavy metal while remaining rooted in anarcho-punk.
In late 1986, the band came into contact with Digby Pearson, who had just founded Earache Records.Pearson had learned of the band after receiving the recordings from Broadrick. Subsequently he became interested in the band's activities.
In March 1987, Napalm Death signed a contract with Pearson, who bought the master tape from 1986 recordingsand booked the Rich Bitch Studio to record further material. Harris had written 16 songs with Steer in his parents' house in Liverpool. Two songs were written by Steer, and Whiteley was involved in some of the arrangements. Harris had written tracks on a guitar despite not being able to play the instrument. He did this simply by tuning the A and E strings and removing the others, recording the guitar parts on a tape recorder. The lyrics were written by Whiteley, while Dorrian added some material on the night before the recordings. The band had only one three-hour rehearsal before entering the studio in May 1987.
The recordings took place under the direction of sound engineer Mike Ivory.As was the case for the recording sessions yielding the A-side, the B-side recording sessions were held overnight for reasons related to cost. The recordings were difficult, especially for Dorrian, who was in a recording studio for the first time. Harris had to signal to Dorrian to indicate the moments at which he was to begin singing. The band was not satisfied with the initial mix, particularly due to the drum sound. Pearson organized a final studio mixing session, which took place from 4 to 8 o'clock in the morning, to fix the initial mixes.
Pearson wanted to release Napalm Death's debut not as a mini-album and not as a split, but instead as a complete album.He did not believe, however, that the current lineup, which had not been active for long, could write enough songs for an album in a reasonable time. He therefore decided to use the previously unused recordings from August 1986 as an A-side for an album. There was little reason to expect the record to achieve commercial success, and for this reason, the budget for the record's production was very low. Pearson spent nearly all of his savings for the recording, production, and promotion of the album. It was his label's third release, and the album's failure would have potentially spelled bankruptcy. In June 1987, the album was released in a pressing of 2000 copies.
|The Metal Forge||10/10|
Earache Records secured a contract with Revolver Records and thus was able to ensure the nationwide distribution of its releases, so that the first edition of the album sold out within a few weeks. Simultaneously, Napalm Death embarked upon the first tour in their history along with Ripcord.The most decisive cause of the commercial success of Scum came when radio host John Peel played songs from the album on his radio show BBC Radio 1 and subsequently invited the band to perform a Peel Session. On 13 September 1987, Napalm Death recorded twelve tracks with a total playing time of 5 minutes and 40 seconds, which were first broadcast on 22 September 1987. The broadcast gave the album national attention, and Earache Records thus pressed another edition. This sold well, leading Napalm Death to procure the number 8 spot on the UK Indie Charts. Within a few weeks of the first Peel Session, about 10,000 units of the album had been sold.
The first pressing of the CD (1988) included 54 tracks, adding the From Enslavement to Obliteration album and four bonuses. In 1994, the first two albums were re-released separately. A remastered version was released on 27 January 2012. The album cover was designed by Bill Steer's Carcass bandmate Jeffrey Walker. The album covers came in varied colours: orange, gold, green, blue, and yellow.
The album stands as a landmark achievement. Natalie J. Purcell described the album a formative influence on the European grindcore,while Ian Christe called Scum the conclusion of a ten-year competition for the fastest and hardest sound, marking the point from which neither speed nor intensity could increase. The album is regarded as the "central release of grindcore" both musically and lyrically, marking "the height of the discourse of extremization" within the British punk scene. The song "You Suffer" was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's shortest song; the track is precisely 1.316 seconds long.
Napalm Death remained active in the years that followed, but by the 1991 departure of Mick Harris, all members that had played on either side of Scum had been replaced by new members.
|2.||"Instinct of Survival"||2:26|
|5.||"Caught... in a Dream"||1:47|
|8.||"Siege of Power"||3:59|
|10.||"Born on Your Knees"||1:48|
|14.||"Prison Without Walls"||0:38|
|15.||"Point of No Return"||0:35|
|23.||"As the Machine Rolls On"||0:42|
|UK Indie Chart||7|
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 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.
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.
Harmony Corruption is the third studio album by Napalm Death, released in 1990 on Earache Records.
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.
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."
Shane Embury is a British bassist and, since 1987, a member of grindcore and death metal band Napalm Death.
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.
Lee Dorrian is an English singer, best known as a former member of Napalm Death and later frontman of Cathedral.
Nicholas Bullen is a composer, artist and writer.
"You Suffer" is a song by the British grindcore band Napalm Death, from their debut album, Scum. It is precisely 1.316 seconds long. The song was written by Nicholas Bullen, Justin Broadrick, and Mick Harris during the March 1986 demo sessions for From Enslavement to Obliteration (1988), and is featured on the band's debut album, Scum (1987).
Digby Pearson, also known as "Dig," is a British musician, producer, and businessman. He is the founder of independent record label Earache Records.
Noise for Music's Sake is a double-disc compilation by British band Napalm Death. It was released on 8 July 2003 on Earache Records. This album is a retrospective of the band's entire career. The first disc is a best-of compilation; the second disc contains rarities. The booklet includes 20 pages with interviews of band members Shane Embury and Mark "Barney" Greenway. It also includes a guide to all the songs from the second disc, and a complete "Family Tree" detailing every person who was ever in the band.
Unseen Terror was a British extreme metal band formed by Mitch Dickinson (Heresy) and Shane Embury, and played extreme metal with a technical edge along with elements of hardcore punk. Their most notable feat took place in March 1988, when they recorded tracks for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 program.
Electro Hippies were a thrashcore band formed in St Helens/Wigan, United Kingdom, in 1985.
Seven Churches is the debut album by American death metal band Possessed. The title of the album refers to the Seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation. "The Exorcist" begins with producer Randy Burns' version of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, arranged and performed as it was in the 1973 horror film of the same name. About.com named the album one of "10 Essential Death Metal albums".
Napalm Death: Thrash to Death is a short heavy metal music documentary aired on British channel BBC. Thrash to Death centers around grindcore pioneers Napalm Death. An interview with its four members is conducted at their hometown, interspersed with footage from their live show at the ULU, also featured on Arena's "Heavy Metal" documentary.
Jim Whitely is a musician who in the late 1980s played bass guitar in several Birmingham-based hardcore and grindcore bands, most notably Napalm Death.
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.