Napalm Death’s discharge of grindcore at Festival Rock al Parque

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Esteban Harris

Once again the band that first set foot in this country 19 years ago once again performs a shocking and blasting show as pioneers of grindcore should do. That is right; Napalm Death crushed skulls and made the Parque Simón Bolivar main scenario tremor with their presentation closing the second day of Festival Rock al Parque.

The last time the band came to Colombia was in 2014 as a part of their South American Tour alongside Hatebreed. The tour went on to a different direction after Hatebreed vocalist had to back out of the tour, Napalm Death continued the round. At that time they were promoting their ‘Utilitariam’ and played several songs from ‘The Wolf I Feed’, ‘Everyday Pox’, among others which included two live premieres songs from the album ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’. These new two songs left the audience with high expectations, even surpassing ‘Utilirariam’. Said expectations were well founded as ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’ was the best-sold album and with which made a tour with Carcass and Voivod.

Now, it is time to get back to what happened in Napalm Death’s latest South American tour, where they visited five countries starting in Brazil and finishing their odyssey in front of thousands of people at Rock Al Parque. This eighties band started their show with the intro of ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’ while the audience was over excited just with the mere presence of the quartet. Later, ’Silence Is Deafening’ and scenario Plaza was enthusiastic with all the power these Englishmen could bring, and slowly on, people that were not familiar with the band started to realise how huge these guys are on a live performance.

After this discharge of energy, along came ‘When all Is Said And Done’, a classic from the previous decade; and soon after ‘Smash a Little Digit’, the song that has been premiered during this tour where Mark tells us about how bad syndicates can get, as it is shown in the animated video where we can see the rawness, and it defines very well the band in two minutes.

Napalm Death kept on going with more songs from their latest album ‘Timeless Flogging’ to then took us back to their 2002 album with ‘Continuing War On Stupid’. Between the songs Mark did his best to speak in Spanish with one aim, to give the audience his point of views and thoughts. Also, as the show progressed it was evident that John Cooke was doing excellent work in replacing both vocals and guitar as Mitch Harris who could not come with the band. His presence was remarkable during the show.

The show kept us coming back and forth with Napalm Death’s discography as they played ‘Dear Slum Landlord’ and ‘Scum’. For me, this song is the symbol of underground music, and it gave a total turn to it in 1987 with one word and true anthem for those familiar with the band. The blasting show kept going with ‘Social Sterility’ from ‘From Enslavement to ‘Oblitariation’ and ‘Deceiver’ from ‘Harmony Corruption’. Another classic came along with ‘Suffer The Children’ were Mark said how mixing certain things like religion and fantasy with reality because they generated a complete disaster.

Finally, one of my favourite songs came from a relatively good era for Napalm Death, because in 1997 they performed for the first time in Colombia and no many international bands played here back in the day, ‘Breed to Breath’. This song has one of the most violent videos where Jesse Pintado (1969-2006) appeared and where death metal influence was strong in the band.

After this song, a song from their second album was played, ‘Mentaly Murdered’ together with ‘Hierachies’, which oddly was the only song that has just one guitar, which is unusual in Napalm Death, but in this song, it works perfectly. Following up this, a song from 1992 with one of the best album covers of Napalm Death, ‘The World Keeps Turning’. This album helped to make the band well known and reminded us an October 23rd in 1997 when they played for the first time in Colombia as young and ruthless metallers, and a time where Colombia rockers were amazed at what they heard the first couple Napalm Death albums with short, but beefy songs. Those songs came with political, religious and everything that is wrong in the world. Of course, that also came in this Rock Al Parque, where time has passed through their flesh but not in the message the band transmits since the message remains fresh for younger generations with Colombia being in peace conversations.

As the show kept on going with a voracious and vigorous ‘Conform’ cover from Siege, a band that is mainly thrashcore despite their hardcore origins. With this song, Napalm Death showed how much Siege influenced them as they talked about the band’s starting days, which lead directly to ‘Lucid Fairytale’. After this, ‘How the Years Condemn’ was played, where those that know Napalm Death’s musical career assured that the song coincides with the group’s energy and taste for the new songs, since most of the song were from ‘Ape Predator – Easy Meat’. As a matter of fact, because of the accumulation of energy, the band suddenly played ‘You Suffer’ which took by surprise many of the audiences, to which Mark had a mischievous laugh and reminded us to be the focus of the show.

The next song was a salute to their punk influence, Dead Kennedys, with the cover ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’. There was room for one last song to end Napalm Death’s performance at Rock al Parque, which was a merge between ‘Adversarial’ and Copulating Snakes’. With these songs, Napalm Death closed successfully the second day of Rock Al Parque, with thousands of people thanking them for the amazing show and the deepness of their music, as well as thanking them for being the first underground band to come and give an aggressive and violent show back in 1997 where metal in Colombia was not as strong as it is today. In those days, the show was for two thousand people, but for Rock al Parque this year that amount was multiplied considerably. The pioneers of Grindcore devastated Bogotá once again.

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