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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Scum

Napalm Death

1987

Scum
Album Summary

Scum is the debut studio album by English grindcore band Napalm Death, released on 1 July 1987 by Earache Records. The two sides of the record were recorded by two different lineups in sessions separated by about a 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 anticipate subsequent developments in extreme metal. Loudwire put it in the list of the best 10 metal albums of 1987. Scum sold over 10,000 copies in its first year of release, reaching number eight on the UK Indie chart. Since then, it has become known as a formative release in the grindcore genre. In 2005, Scum was voted the 50th best British album of all time by Kerrang! readers, and in 2009, it was ranked number five in Terrorizer's list of essential European grindcore albums; it is also listed in Robert Dimery's book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.07

Votes

7137
Genres
Metal

Reviews

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Wed Mar 03 2021
3

Brings back vivid memories of when me and my mate Ray went on a trip to Dresden. We met this rotund goth in a bar, head to toe with tattoos and piercings, real filth and after a while took her into the disabled bogs for a spit roast. We were both pumping away in her with Napalm Death on in the background and her wailing "MEIN GOTT" at the top of her lungs. I remember spaffing all over her back just as Siege of Power kicked in. As i shoot over her, she takes Ray's cock out of her gob and says "do you want fries with that?" in a faux American accent. Anyway, we go outside and there's this gammy little geezer in a wheelchair sitting there furious, giving me daggers, because he's had to wait so long, so I lean into him and I go "I hope you have as much fun in there as we just did you little cunt".

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Wed Dec 08 2021
1

The only enjoyment I got from this was reading the review about the brothers in Dresden and their lovely and talented tattooed friend.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

The sound of a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs, in a good way.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
4

At the time of writing this, Scum by Napalm Death is the lowest-rated album on this website. Which makes sense, in a way, because Grindcore is inherently inaccessible. The genre goes out of it's way to be heavier, faster, and more brutal than hardcore punk in every way, and Napalm Death is the exemplification of this. Yet, the production is so purposeful in what I hear. Riffs are distinguishable and blast beats keep time while the singer roars lyrics of anger and nihilism. It sounds heavy and loud without being messy. Maybe a little messy for stylistic purposes, but overall it's actually pretty good! Even fans of power metal should have a good grasp of this album. Songs are a lot shorter here so nothing overstays its welcome. You get some heavy riffage, maybe a verse-chorus, and then you're on to the next song. It plays pretty well. I'll discuss the weaker aspects of the album now. One of the downsides of the shorter songs is that they tend to come and go with little lasting power. You'd be hard pressed to match a song to a riff that you remember, so repeat listens are kind of needed for full absorption. Vocal also lose a little impact as their mostly unintelligible. They contribute more to vibes than anything. This album also features the renowned "shortest song on record" with "You Suffer" clocking in at 4 seconds. It's pretty good; blink and you'll miss it! It's worth noting that After "You Suffer", you get to side b of the album which actually has a differwent lineup. With the except of drummer Mick Harris, you get a whole new band on the back half. With this comes a whole new sound, leaning into a more guttural tone than the edgy tone of the first half. Either way you cut it, you need to be a certain kind of person to like Napalm Death, and I liked em! I'm going to point to the metalheads and ask those who didn't like it to try again. I think it's worthy of a spot of the list! God bless.

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

Brutal as fuck, and bold as hell. Brings to mind the sound effect for a car engine of a PS2 racing game revving mixed with a barking street dog. In a good way.

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Mon Nov 29 2021
1

There is nothing positive I can say about this. It's terrible. Is there anyone on this earth that says to themselves "Boy I'm gonna put on some Napalm Death and get some shit done. Caught in a dream is my jam!" These dudes grew up without a mom. Man thank goodness for the expletive tag. I mean you can't hear shit anyway

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Wed Mar 03 2021
2

What a bunch of cowardly pussies these lads are. Trying to act all tough, but we know you just crave your mother's loving teet.

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Sun Jan 17 2021
1

I’m a metal head and this is one of the worst things I’ve ever listened to.

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Sun Dec 26 2021
5

I saw napalm death live once at a festival and pissed myself laughing the whole time. They even heckled bands playing on the other stages haha. Scum might be noisy shit but Christ it's preferable to yet another Beatles/beach boys/the who album. Just a shame the dickhead compiling this list chose their worst album instead of one of their sweet early 90s death metal ones. Come to think of it, there's no death metal on this list at all really. 5/5 because fuck the system or something.

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Sun Jun 20 2021
2

Pretty damn fun to listen to, but probably never again for me. I do really enjoy hearing these "proto-" and influential records of genres I'm unfamiliar that this list is littered with. This is one of the main reasons I'm here. Even if I'm giving it a lower rating, I'm still glad I heard this than yet another standard sounding 60's pop album this list is chock full of.

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Fri Apr 08 2022
1

It takes an enormous amount of work, dedication, talent and drive to sound this utterly awful. I know it's meant to be a big loud noise, and people pour over the quality of certain guitar riffs/drumming pacing/bass scales, but I just don't care about any of it, because it's painful to listen to. Pretentious shit.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
1

It's cool, you know, if you like music bereft of melodies. I'm tempted to give them a 2nd star for keeping most of the songs under 2 mins. They're tight, no doubt about that. But, tight, does not music make. Every single vocal note is the exact same (regardless of key) and that gets straight up fucking monotonous. My guess is, if you asked them every song would be in the key of \"drop D\", but I'm not listening to it again just to figure that out. I wonder if putting the lyrics in the sleeve was ironic or not. Two chimps arguing over a baby and a cat would have an equally well thought out melody. The lyrics could quite possibly be the most poetic thing I've ever heard, but I'll never know cause you can't understand word one. Hilariously, they list backing vocals for this! In fact they list two for backing vocals! Does that mean there there are hidden three part harmonies? I think the best part of this band is that they are so bad that there are no original members. Not even the band members can stand to listen to it for long. This was just hard to listen to, but I did it. Felt like what I imagine a napalm death feels like. I'm sure that was the point. Not to create music, but to bludgeon the senses. I'd've much rather just listened to the music and throw the singer out with the bathwater.

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Mon May 31 2021
2

Any band that opens an album with a song called Multinational Corporations can't be all bad. Unfortunately, the entirety of the song is just a squall of admittedly fun noise. The next few songs let us know what we're in for. Napalm Death is all about Black Sabbath inspired metal riffing blanketed in distortion accompanied by unintelligible growling, often played weally weally fwast. Now, some of the riffing is actually pretty cool, but I would enjoy it a lot more if I understood the lyrics. As it is, the vocals are nothing more than pure aggression and rage, and I don't find that very interesting. The songs are very short, which is a good thing for this sort of speed metal. It's kind of a shame. There's unrealized potential here. If the songs were just a little bit better, with less incoherent thrashing, and the vocals were a little more like Husker Du (screaming, but intelligible), Napalm Death would be a blast. As it is, I can't recommend this.

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Wed Sep 01 2021
1

scum, /skəm/, noun. a layer of dirt or froth on the surface of a liquid. This album would more appropriately be included in a book of “1,001 Albums You Should Die Before You Listen To”. Why listen to heavy metal or hardcore punk when you can listen to grindcore, which combines the worst excesses of both genres? Guttural, Cookie Monster vocals? Check. Musicians that sound like they barely know how to play their instruments? Check. Jackhammer like drumming? Check. This is like if the Minutemen couldn’t play their instruments and grew up on Motörhead and Venom instead of CCR, Steely Dan and Van Halen. It’s barely over half an hour long but it feels double or triple that length because just about every song follows the same pattern: start out promisingly before devolving into the aforementioned jackhammer like drumming and Cookie Monster vocals. If this does anything effectively, it’s sound exactly like it’s album title would lead you to believe!

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

Its early grindcore! I think its pretty alright 4 songs in. I wouldn't want to be at the show, but the album is a great showcase of the emergence of grindcore. I think a lot of people bitch and moan about how you cant hear what they are saying on most of the album but no one talks about how it makes them feel. Thats grindcore, an explosion of rage. Seige Of Power is a great track. Huge sonic difference A side and B side. A side is like a mad max car, B side is a lawnmower covered in underwater chainsaws. Dragnet is a good closer.

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Sun Oct 17 2021
4

Mental and a hell of a lot of fun. I laughed at the vocals while wanting to punch people in the throat. Absolutely class.

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Sun Oct 03 2021
3

Ok, so grindcore. Either you hate it, or you're at least a little damaged yourself. But there's a lot to appreciate here. I hate the vocals of this style, but otherwise it's clearly so influential. Musicians very skilled and precise. Anyway, glad I listened but I will not return to anything longer than the track "You Suffer."

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Sun Feb 14 2021
1

Erm... Worst album so far by a fair few acres 1*

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Wed Jun 02 2021
1

Ever wanted to know what a metal band would sound like if fronted by an angry dog that knows a little English? This is it. But it's not as cute as it sounds. Very raw album. Not for me.

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Wed May 19 2021
1

Hard nope. Could not finish this listen. Call it bad mastering, call it lack of melody, call it what you will. It’s all cymbals and drum noise covering up someone wailing on a guitar and screaming. This is not music. It’s noise.

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Sun Aug 22 2021
1

Decent enough guitar work ruined by someone who fundamentally doesn't understand what drums are and the guttural screams of someone with bad heartburn over top of it.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
1

Absolute garbage. -10 stars.

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Fri Dec 10 2021
1

Quite possibly the longest 33 minutes of my life. The only way I could get through this was to try to read the lyrics along with the incomprehensible grunts and howls of their vocalist, an exercise that had me in tears of laughter.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
1

Never judge a book by its cover unless that book is titled Scum by Napalm Death. Fuck.

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Fri May 06 2022
1

Atrocious. That this is considered a classic of any kind blows my mind. Angry, venomous messy noise.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

This is the first band's album and the first grindcore album at all. It was released in 1987 by Earache Records. According to the Guinness World Records, their song "You Suffer" is the shortest song ever recorded, at only 1.316 seconds long. The band espouse anarchism, humanism, socialism and animal rights.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
1

This album is a reason why metal gets a bad reputation. I say this as someone who likes metal.

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Wed May 12 2021
1

Wondering when I’d get this. Lives up to its worst rating. Holy bad.

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Wed Dec 08 2021
1

It's easy to see how this gets the lowest listener rating on 1001. It's hard to imagine anything worse.

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Sun Jul 03 2022
1

One can hardly call this music

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Wed Apr 06 2022
5

Nicht Napalms bestes Album eigentlich aber halt wohl der Klassiker ich gebe aber für den Algorithmus trotzdem ne 5 HA

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Wed Apr 06 2022
5

alle menschen müssten mehr grind hören die welt wäre ein besserer ort

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Thu May 27 2021
4

Absolute assault on the senses. Solid Stuff.

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Fri Feb 04 2022
4

Since I know that this album is the "worst" on the list according to the users, I was expecting something really bad, but I didn't find it. It's a strange experience? Sure, but it's not bad, it's just different. I'll give it 4 stars not because I really liked it (it's too much for my taste), but I believe that discovering this kind of thing, even when I don't like it, is one of my main objectives using this site (Electronic music does not count :-P). To list Beatles and Beach Boys again, I really don't need to use any site.

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Sun Jan 17 2021
3

Gritty thrashy death metal. A fun listen. I didn’t understand a single lyric.

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Wed Apr 28 2021
3

Really enjoyed this, though clearly it won't be to everyone's taste. Brutal, powerful, and its legacy and influence are completely understandable. Not something I'm likely to make an effort to listen to often, but happy to have it on in the background.

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Sun Apr 04 2021
3

Repetitive to say, but I can respect what this is about and how well that's done here, but it's not for me. I couldn't tell the supposedly very different tow sides apart. Tremendous cover art, and I do hate multinational corporations.

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Wed Feb 10 2021
3

A tough one to listen to while cooking dinner with the fam, so had a late night earphone session, kinda enjoyed the music at times... mostly the A side stuff with the earlier band lineup, the singer is clearly after adamant help from the Cookie Monster. A brave genre to introduce to the world in the 80s. How am I going to sleep after this?

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Sun Jul 25 2021
3

I do really like more recent albums of this genre. This is a very early prototype of it, so its a bit rough around the edges and doesn't benefit from modern production techniques. However I appreciate the influence of it

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Fri Sep 03 2021
3

Grindcore has always interested me more as a concept than as practiced. It's easy to get to innoculate oneself with noisy music such that the harshness is manageable (at least the harshness that gets recorded), but even after I reached that point I felt that the songs I heard were lacking. They still seem that way, but my mind has been changed about projects in this style. It's still not a song-oriented experience, but becomes something like free jazz in reverse: There are drumming similarities but the tendency is longness not shortness. One huge speed bump for the form is the need for context - lyrical, political, historical - to make it interesting enough to sit through. But Scum has some obvious musical aspects which improve it. Tunes poke their heads through the grime. The second half doubles down on the lack of recording quality but powers through it to the end. I think I'd prefer this on vinyl, all things considered, and in that it's similar to a slab of noise I have opposite Lingua Ignota songs. Listening to that whole record helps me think of noise as music, and I extend that thinking to this record.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
3

Love the driving & energetic guitar and drums. Not really a fan of the grunting vocals. Can definitely see this inspiring metal musicians everywhere. Not a bad album but probably not an album I'll listen to again.

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Fri Jan 07 2022
3

Zoinks! Well, this one certainly has a lot of energy. I'm not always tuned into when an artist is taking the piss out of something or going for something else, but it mostly doesn't matter. All that matters is one's own experience with the art. The playing is super-tight, and it surprisingly drew me in at times. There are elements of heavy metal I've heard, thrashy driving punk, and they have their own sort of screaming shrieking hyper-speed style. Even though it's stressful to listen to, and a lot of the songs sound pretty much identical to my untrained ear, I liked this more than I thought I would. Bully for this project for opening me up to such an incredible variety of music!

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Fri Feb 25 2022
3

Enjoyed this more than I expected. And evoked nights of waiting for the grindcore racket to stop on John Peel's show when he played this stuff. Thankfully the tracks were and are mercifully short. Not a genre I normally choose to listen to, but do love a bit of early Sabbath, and this was punchy and focused enough to work in the same way. Although the vocal style isn’t really doing it for me. However, I didn’t really notice that it was two different bands. Without much that I noticed in the way of dynamics (it seems to be start - make a noise - stop throughout) my attention had drifted by that point. So much so I got a few tracks into the random Spotify suggestions after the album before I realised it had ended. Interesting, and one I MIGHT revisit. Or not.

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Thu Jul 29 2021
2

It is some kind of evil algorithm that would give me Napalm Death immediately after giving me Curtis Mayfield. Okay, hey! I was fully expecting to hate it, but it's fine. Having been 16 when this album came out, it was probably pretty mind blowing at the time. I would not have been into it, but I would have respected it. Scum really doesn't deserve the title of worst reviewed album on this site, not by a long shot. But I can see how this album, this whole genre really, is going to be polarizing. Musically the album is pretty solid. Rhythm section is fierce, guitars are blistering. It's not for everyone, really it's not for most people. I don't love the guttural vocals, but I would say I prefer Nik Napalm's voice to Lee Dorrian's. The lyrics are pretty standard punk-thrash-metal lyrics. You know, power, fascism, conformity, corporate corruption, bleakness, etc. The things a certain type of disaffected young people have been moshing to for decades. The second half (the B-side) really accelerates and amps up from what you hear on the A-side. It's a little harder to listen to, if that's possible. This is very intense music that is hard on the ears. I'm giving it 2 stars, but really it's closer to a 3. One star deducted for the fact that now I have an earache. Fave songs: Siege of Power, Control, Born on Your Knees

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Sun Oct 17 2021
2

2 for effort and the sheer number of songs, none of which i can say i am taken by

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Wed Dec 08 2021
2

The beauty of 1,001 is that it exposes you to artists that you probably would never listen to in your lifetime. Good or bad, its always educational. The other day it was Frank Sinatra, today its Napalm Death. I have to give these guys credit for their commitment to the craft. They've certainly carved out a unique niche for themselves with grindcore. This was an absolute and brutal assault on the senses but that's their point innit? I'd love to meet someone who listens to this for recreational purposes though, just to understand what's going through their head.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
2

I know little about grindcore. I'd never listen to this voluntarily out of prejudice. But then I still play Crass records. I was quite intrigued by the two sides, two bands approach. Spotify messed this up slightly. Are there actually any coherent lyrics? A get up and go morning album. Not one for lovers late at night. Can't but help think there might be some melodies trying to break through.

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Thu Mar 16 2023
2

A little grindcore goes a long way. I admire the drumming.

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Thu Jun 15 2023
2

There are three complete songs on this album and 25 that are a riff with some growling. The three are actually really good. It's just too bad they forgot to finish making it. Do you think they play the 26 second songs at their concerts? Best track: Siege of Power

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Wed Sep 23 2020
1

I tend to associate the more extreme forms of metal with a vocalist shrieking and making guttural noises while a guitarist and drummer produce a wall of atonal noise, like if Merzbow used acoustic instruments. For the first three minutes or so of this album, these guys proved me wrong, but for the rest of it they mostly proved me right. Best song: Instinct of Survival, because it had an actual melody and came before I tuned everything out.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
1

Hardcore metal, grindcore, uden melodi, voldsomt

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Mon Mar 22 2021
1

Not my type of music at all. Can normally find something within it I like, but not in this case.

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Sun Feb 07 2021
1

Je ne vois pas le but de cette album. Musique difficille a digerer meme si j’aime le metal. Ca se rapproche de rien vraiment que j’aime. J’imagine qu’il faut l’avoir ecouter dans sa vie pour voir ce qu’est ce style... 1*

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Wed Apr 28 2021
1

Dios mío cómo te podía gustar el grindcore...

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Fri Mar 05 2021
1

Ostres, a mi el grindcore m'atabala. No l'he pogut escoltar sencer. No és lo meu...

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Wed Mar 03 2021
1

Not nearly as good as I expected. Which was bad.

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Wed Apr 21 2021
1

I'm not listening to this trash. I tried, for a minute or two, but I haven't done anything wrong to deserve such punishment. This album was released around the time I was getting into harder music, exploring metal and hard rock. It made me question everything, maybe I should just stick to the crap pop stuff. I'm sure it's only on this list as a reminder that other music can be really good.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
1

Couldn’t finish it. I’m not a fan at all of this type of heavy music.

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Thu Apr 29 2021
1

*sigh* I mean, there are some parts of the 🎵 music 🎵 that are good. Some. But I just can't on the vocals. I already hate growling style but this is just too much. I knew what I was getting into and yet still... That's two albums in two weeks that have really tried the commitment I made to actually listen to these all the way through.

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Thu Apr 29 2021
1

The profound and thought-provoking artistry of songs like "The Kill" and especially "You Suffer" left me physically yearning for more. My only regret is that I can never go back and experience it again for the first time. But alas we cannot be melancholy that it has passed, only thankful that we were able to be blessed with this masterpiece at all. The rabid Chihuahua on "success?" Was a nice surprise though!

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Wed Jul 07 2021
1

Couldn't get through it, not sure how people do it

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Fri Sep 10 2021
1

First and last time I'm ever going to listen to grindcore. The music is... alright, but the vocals... oh boy. If I wanted to listen to growling I'd just sit in my lounge room listening to my dog growl at everything he sees outside the window. It's unfortunate that I have to actually rate it out of 5 stars because i wouldn't give it one if I could.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
1

This is tricky, because I have huge respect for any band that can cram 28 tracks into 33 minutes. I'm also convinced that Napalm Death have absolutely nailed whatever the hell it was they were trying to achieve here. Plus, I had a smile on my face throughout most of it, *particularly* enjoying You Suffer. Would probably be a great live experience, until my eardrums exploded. But then again, there aren't really even any decent riffs. Ultimately, it's a 1.5, or '1' for short. If not now, when...?!

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Sun Oct 17 2021
1

Noise for the sake of noise, lacks intelligence and every track sounds identical lacking any ideas. This genre can be challenging but this album is unlistenable and offers no reward

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Fri Nov 12 2021
1

For reference: if I dropped silverware into my garbage disposal at the same time my dog started barking, I would give that 5 stars compared with these jokers. But on the bright side...they didn't have to actually write lyrics, and props to the vocalist for not bursting out laughing at the absurdity of it all.

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Mon Feb 28 2022
1

I wreszcie doczekalem sie Scuma, wiec chyba najnizej ocenianego albumu generatora wedlug rankingu popularnosci, tym razem zgodze sie z opinia wiekszosci, ze jest to material z gatunku tych gdzie posluchac mozna ironicznie, ale jesli rozwazasz kontemplacje na trzezwo, to cos jest z toba nie tak, plyta jest debiutanckim krazkiem bandy napalm death pochodzacej z wyspiarskich west midlandsow, az jestem ciekaw co pan ukladacz listy odnotowal w ksiazce na temat tego albumu, bo czegos tak niszowego jeszcze nie grali, a przeciez juz przewijal sie junkyard z australii, ale przynajmniej czlowiek poznal nowy gatunek, mianowicie grindcore, bedacy fuzja ciezkiego metalu z hardkorowym punkiem, birac z obu najbardziej hardkorowe elementy i tworzy z nich radio friendly piosenki dla calej rodziny, na tym 33 minutowym albumie upchnieto 28 trakow, wiec srednia dlugosc utworow to okolo minuty, ale przy takim charataniu gitarowo drumowym przyprawionym calkowicie niezrozumialymi wokalami growlowanymi sprawia wrazenie metnej calosci, ktora moglaby byc nagrana za jednym razem, wiec nie mam pojecia o czym traktuje lirycznie, co posmialem z growlowania w stylu kaczora donalda to moje, ale drugi raz bym chyba sie nie zmusil do przesluchania tej plyty, podobno pierwsza i druga strone graja dwa rozne sklady muzykow, jedynie drumy sa stale, ale jakos tego nie slychac, bo poza momentami jak tytulowy scum czy siege of power muzykowanie zamiena sie w zwykla napierdalanke, jak w speed metalu, tylko zamiast precyzji i wymyslnych kompozycji jest chaos, ktory moglby byc motywem swietnym przewodnim nagrania

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Sun Apr 03 2022
1

I tried to listen but could only take a few songs.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
1

I’m just not interested in metal

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Wed Jun 15 2022
1

I'm pretty sure that i would have coped not listening to this before i die....

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