Napalm Death – The Code Is Red… Long Live The Code (2005)

To me, mid-to-late 2000s Napalm Death releases seem to follow a certain pattern. Each of the records share a similar cover art style, perpetuated by a specific colourising which is different on each record. Order Of The Leech was yellow, this record was red, and Smear Campaign was blue. Leaders Not Followers 2 and Time Waits For No Slave also shared similar artwork to the three mentioned above and even had similar traits in production. Out of them all though, The Code Is Red… has to be my favourite.

After obsessing over Scum, FETO and the other early, genre-defying classics that Napalm Death released, I found it a bit difficult to stomach the slower, more groove-orientated stuff of the 90s. With the records listed above, Napalm Death fell into their own unique pattern of mixing blasting grindcore with groove, and vicious death metal. Opening track “Silence Is Deafening” was a single for the band, and even features a really heavy breakdown part at the end, but after that, a whole bunch of blasting grindcore follows, with the right amount of punch and speed.

There’s a couple of oddball moments to the regular formula in here to keep it interesting though; “The Great And The Good” features guest vocals from Jello Biafra, and the penultimate track, “Morale”, has a much more different, slow and crushing, early-Swans vibe which you don’t see very often from a band as fast as Napalm Death.

All in all, The Code Is Red… is a very focused record but also varied enough to remain interesting.