There are few bands that get me more amped when they announce a new record like Napalm Death. Since my initial introduction to the band in 1996’s Diatribes record, I salivate like Pavlov’s dog at the mere mention that something new is coming our way via Birmingham England. Sure they’ve put out a few stinkers in their career (see Fear.Emptiness.Despair and The Code Is Red…) but most of their catalog is full of some of the best grindcore records ever released and I could spend the next hour debating what the ultimate ND setlist would be because they have so many rippers at their disposal. So needless to say, I became super excited when the news that a new album, Apex Predator – Easy Meat, was being recorded.

2012’s Utilitarian was the first album since The Code Is Red…Long Live The Code, which I found myself having to work for a good feeling about an ND record. I mean, at that point they were 25 years into releasing records and experimentation was bound to happen eventually. However, unlike Code, the album did eventually win me over and has recently been one of my top go to records of theirs, probably only falling behind Enemy Of The Music Business and Order Of The Leech. It was different where it needed to be and allowed Napalm Death to express their artistic side without cheapening the experience. It certainly was an improvement from when they tried to be more commercial during their Earache Records days. So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I heard that the band was writing and recording this album over a long period of time to gain the widest variety of sounds possible. They weren’t kidding either because, while keeping the common Napalm Death theme going, this album is really all over the place with styles and influences. Songs like Metaphorically Screw You, Timeless Flogging, and Stunt Your Growth dive way back into that early Napalm Death sound that was more straight forward punk than anything else. Smash A Single Digit, Cesspits, and Adversarial / Copulating Snakes keep the feeling of Utilitarian going strong while songs like Hierarchies and Stubborn Stains are reminiscent of the thrash heavy grind with fast groovier riffs that appeared on Order and Enemy.

So far it all sounds good but the album does come with its flaws and mostly in their more experimental songs like the intro title track which features Barney chanting over a tribal like beat. It’s not necessarily bad because it is, after all, an intro track but it drags on entirely too long that after the first two spins, I just skip it and get to the real meat (pun) of the album. Its other major brainfart occurs in the middle of the record with the track Dear Slum Landlord, which is a slow, “clean” singing track that reminds me a lot of the song Morale which was easily the worst song they ever wrote. This isn't nearly as bad but it's bad. It’s unfortunate that this song takes place in the middle of the record because it’s a total momentum killer.

Aside from two questionable tracks, Napalm Death has managed to release yet another solid album that relies heavily on its diversity to fulfill a fun ride throughout the albums entire 40 minutes of length. If you hated the experimentation on the last record, you will definitely hate it on Apex Predator – Easy Meat because it’s laid on a lot thicker. If you are just a sucker for anything Napalm Death and want to hear what it sounds like when they do things a little different, then sleep not on this album.