Skip to main content

Review of the Album "Utopia Banished" By British Death Metal Band Napalm Death

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Songs List for the Album "Utopia Banished" Including the Six Bonus Tracks

Note: the bonus tracks for this album are listed in italics.

1. Discordance

2. I Abstain

3. Dementia Access

4. Christening of the Blind

5. The World Keeps Turning

6. Idiosyncratic

7. Aryanisms

8. Cause and Effect (part 2)

9. Judicial Slime

10. Distorting the Medium

11. Got Time to Kill

12. Upward and Uninterested

13. Exile

14. Awake (to a life of misery)

Scroll to Continue

15. Contemptuous

16. One and the Same

17. Sick and Tired

18. Malignant Trait

19. Killing With Kindness

20. A Means to an End

21. Insanity Excursion

A Brief Introduction to the Album Utopia Banished and Who Plays on it

Utopia Banished is the very good 4th album by British death metal band Napalm Death. This is the first album that I heard from these guys and I really have enjoyed it to this day even as we are in 2020. By this point, the band had an international feel to it. Danny Herrera, the person playing the drums on this album is of Mexican descent. Guitarist Mitch Harris is an American and Jesse Pintado (1969-2006) was a Mexican born guitarist. He would later die in The Netherlands due to liver failure. Therefore, only vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway and Shane Embury (bass) are the only British members playing on the album. There is an edition containing six bonus tracks which is the one that I have.

Napalm Death plays a style of metal known as grindcore

Napalm Death is considered by many people to be the founders of a genre of metal known as grindcore. This type of death metal has songs that are very short. Usually, the songs are not more than a few minutes long. You’ll be lucky if you see a song by this band that is over four minutes long. The music also has vocals that are so extreme that they sound like a loud dog that is barking. The guitar playing is distorted and very fast. The drumming in this genre is known by the term of blast beats. And of course, there are really no guitar solos. Those of you that can’t wait and sit through a long metal album will enjoy this one because it will be over fast. Utopia Banished was produced by Colin Richardson, the same person that produced the awesome album Heartwork by the band Carcass. Lyrically, the band tends to focus on themes having to do with politics and social issues. This is especially evident in this album.

"Judicial Slime"

Utopia Banished a More Extended Review as of 2022

After the short and noisy track called "Discordance," the song "I Abstain" goes into a very fast and angry kind of song. The message is that we should come out and protest against the very few in society that prosper at our expense. I guess the band must have known that the gap between the rich and poor would eventually increase in Western nations especially the UK and US. Imperialism is also rampant in this day and age as countries are invaded, occupied and in some cases conquered. The band brings up the subject for thought. We must be the ones in our society that campaign for lasting change. After all, democracy is a system of government where the people have a voice so that they can speak out against injustices. The song "I Abstain" is also trying to spread the message that leading a mundane existence with apathy is not a way to grow.

More great songs follow including Dementia Access, Christening of the Blind, and The World Keeps Turning. That song was featured on the popular program Headbanger’s Boll back in the early 1990’s. The band would make a music video for that song. Lyrically, the song is quite complex, trying to bring across the point that humans often times stagnate. We overload our minds and bodies as some of us do much harm to ourselves. The middle drumming section is one of the best in death metal history.

The official music video for the song "The World Keeps Turning"

Final Thoughts About the Album Utopia Banished

Stylistically, Utopia Banished shows us the musical approach that has defined Napalm Death since this time. There is a terrific lead guitar part in the middle of the song I Abstain which only adds to the brilliance of the song. The song is also trying to tell us to not be a slave to the system in certain countries that attempts to brainwash its people. “Christening of the Blind” is a really heavy song with a very important message in it. That message is that we must take steps to reduce the narrow minded nature of people to create what is being termed as a new paradise. Utopia Banished is one of those albums with decent exotic riffs for this kind of grindcore style. Examples of this are songs such as “Aryanisms” and “Judicial Slime.” Judicial Slime is one of those songs that begins with a catchy mid-tempo heavy riff before Mark Greenway’s growl starts this one. The song also has some pretty cool drumming in it as well. The song is basically about a person that knows he is in court being judged but he also knows that he has more power than people can imagine.Utopia Banished represents perhaps the highest moment in the career of Napalm Death until perhaps Enemy of the Music Business in 2000. Utopia Banished is definitely the one album from these British guys to check out if you are just getting into this style of death metal.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

Related Articles