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Review of the Album the Code Is Red... Long Live the Code 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.

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An Interesting Observation About the Band Napalm Death

“The Code is Red... Long Live the Code” is the 2005 studio album by veteran British death metal band Napalm Death and since about 1990, the style of this band has pretty much stayed the same. The same harsh vocals, the same thundering grindcore style riffs and we have the UK's version of the band Scalping Screen.


Before we go any further, let me state that this article is not a comparison between Napalm Death and Scalping Screen but this next section is to emphasize one of the observations made about this album.

Also, another common theme between Finland's Scalping Screen and Napalm Death is that these two bands offer short bursts of very heavy death metal with intense, harsh vocals and thunderous drumming. However, if you are not comfortable with the length of the songs and structure, then it is best to stay away from these guys and listen to the more melodic kind of death metal.


The Songs Silence is Deafening & Right You Are Set the Tone Musically

This album opens up with the song called Silence Is Deafening and this song reminds me stylistically of the late 1990s early 2000s style. An example of this would be the song Taste the Poison. Except in this case, this song is not as brutal as that one and it is longer than just less than two minutes. However, the next song called Right You Are is only 56 seconds long and it is a song that basically criticizes people that are considered takers as they have very high standards for things.


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“Diplomatic Immunity” is a song that lyrically refers to the second war on Iraq because there is a line in that song that basically says that the war was based on lies with demand. Politics is a dirty business where the stronger countries always want to prey on the smaller countries to gain access to resources. “Climate Controllers” lyrically is a song about who controls the narrative when it comes to the concept of climate change. Instruments of Persuasion is a song about what happens when a leader of a country makes decisions based on a whim or makes a quick decision based on impulse leading to the deaths of thousands of his own people.

"Sold Short"

"The Great and the Good," "Sold Short," & "All Hail the Grey Dawn"

“The Great and the Good” has a beginning that none of us would have expected. The song begins with narration describing Napalm Death as a band that is both great and good and there is indeed maximum distortion in this song. “Sold Short” is a song that really expresses anger and frustration towards the ideals of those that believe in the rhetoric of the Nazis as Jews are seen as inferior to others. It is better to choose to work towards the goodness of humanity instead of trying to advocate the principles of being superior to others which is something that too many people try to do and that's an attitude that will get a person down into an attitude of hatred and domination. “All Hail the Grey Dawn” is song that tells a very important story. That story is what eventually ends up coming into our life experience. As we commute to our 9 to 5 office jobs, the environment is surrounded by bad air pollution which can be caused by a variety of factors including too much automobile traffic. On the surface, it may seem that when we stare at the TV that there is health, wealth, and optimism. While those factors exist, there is also deprivation, poverty, and disease in many countries in the world.

The One Glaring Weakness About the Band Napalm Death

However, there is one glaring weakness about Napalm Death and that is the lack of guitar solos. Yes, their grindcore style and lyrics are very thought-provoking and they have some memorable riffs but the lack of guitar solos detracts from the music in a sense because there is a lot of repetitive shouting in some of the songs and the structure is similar in many of the albums. At least, the variation that we saw in the song “The Great and the Good” tells us that this band can diversify if they really wanted to.


Pledge Yourself to You Is Another Influential Song

“Pledge Yourself to You” is song that is lyrically about the fact that although family values are emphasized, some people go through the motions of life acting like they are robots. Although procreation is emphasized as well. There are some people that are not capable of being parents. As Mark “Barney” Greenway himself emphasizes, he has also heard the term family values but family values are on the decline in various Western nations such as the United States and sadly, the country has never really recovered from this calamity. I really think that the song is trying to tell us that we should love ourselves for if we cannot do that, how do we expect to attract love in return? Some people are incapable of love because their mind is too clouded by anger and judgment.


"Diplomatic Immunity"

Another Good Album by the Band Napalm Death

Nonetheless, Napalm Death as a band does an admirable job of bringing up these real life issues in their songs and if you can handle the intense growling in the songs, then you will find that these guys are pretty much experts in their genre! How good is the album “The Code is Red... Long Live the Code? It may not be as good as 2002's Order of the leech but still the musical approach is respectable, several songs have valuable messages and this band has not changed their style to conform to musical trends.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian

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