THIS MONTH IN METAL No. 15: Napalm Death’s “Harmony Corruption”

The Legacy

These album anniversaries just seem to line right up with the state of the world, and if it’s Napam Death we’re talking about, things could definitely be looking better.  The godfathers of grindcore released their third full-length disaster, Harmony Corruption, 30 years ago today.  Napalm Death is one of those bands that continues to exist as an ever-evolving entity, morphing their sound from place to place while still remaining just as harsh on the ears.  Harmony Corruption marks a tipping point in Napalm Death’s career in which the death metal influence seeps in, and although it’s got no half-second-long songs, it compromises nothing.  Sometimes there doesn’t need to be mystery, and being pissed is enough.

“Harmony Corruption” cover by David Windmill // Photo: Genius

Napalm Death is definitely one of the most politically-focused metal bands.  Some may be a little put off by it, and I get that, but there’s got to be some balance between fantasy and reality in all forms of art.  Like a lot of artists and, at that rate, consumers I’ll admit I usually prefer allegorical commentary, but sometimes you just have to be straightforward to provide that balance.  Harmony Corruption is exactly what it says it is.  All rights have been wronged to a point of no return, and we’re faced with an overwhelming sense of doom.  This record washes over like showering nails accompanying the immediate panic of blunt realization.  Every social construct has become a cage too small to hold everyone’s sense of being, yet bodies keep being thrust in until it’s a steady flow of human stew leaking out all sides.  Sometimes we’re so used to all the injustice and social decay that we just adopt and perpetuate it.

“Suffer the Children” single cover // Photo: DTS Metal

Harmony Corruption provides a window from the outside in to remind us that all the bad shit we feel like we have to accept isn’t acceptable.  The structure we once looked to for order has become an echo chamber of political, religious and moral hypocrisy.  Metal is typically a place of relief and sanctuary, but sometimes we need a slap in the face just as much.  Blunt in both sound and lyrical themes, Harmony Corruption is that nice hard smack that reminds us of our traitorous inhabitance.


30th anniversary tribute artwork

Napalm Death – “Harmony Corruption” 30th anniversary

Construct, much like Harmony Corruption, represents its title exactly.  Social constructs are developed in some effort to understand what we cannot.  They provide “structure” and “identities” that only exist in reflections.  We gaze into the mirage of what has come before us to gain some comprehension of purpose and duty.  In all strides to do so, however, we too often face away from our only true obligation: the coexistence of being.  Order is important, don’t get me wrong, but we can’t just abandon our core collective spirit.  Humans wrap themselves up in the invisible structure of constructs to the point where it replaces their biological framework.  Now obsessed with what we think comes before our harmony of existence and oneness is inevitably destructive.  The flesh tears apart in hopeless efforts to imitate our agendas.  When the construct is fully crystallized, the flesh will no longer be needed, as the spirit will have already died.  The spirit is then replaced with an array of images to choose from, symbols to mimic which provide some comfort of salvation (or at least the outward appearance).  We’ll wear costumes and point guns at those who don’t.  We’ll pretend ourselves to death.

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Let’s hope July won’t be worse than June!