Order Of The Leech (2002)

Order Of The Leech (2002)

Order of the Leech was Napalm Death’s second and final release for Spitfire. It’s a stronger album than its predecessor, 2000’s Enemy Of The Music Business, not because the songs are any more angry or speed-crazed (how could they be?), but because the riffs are just a little bit better — catchier at times, surprisingly twisty at other times. Interestingly, although guitarist Jesse Pintado wouldn’t officially leave the band until 2004, he doesn’t play on this record — all the guitars are by Mitch Harris.

There’s plenty of head-down grind to tracks like “The Icing On The Hate,” “Forced To Fear,” and the rest of Order; drummer Danny Herrera drives the music relentlessly, rarely shifting down out of, like, 17th gear. Every once in a while, though, he does get to stretch out a little, like on the disc-opening “Continuing War On Stupidity.” Its title marks it as a band manifesto of sorts, so you’d expect them to keep things 100% serious, especially since it’s kicking off the album and all. But in the middle of all the roaring and machine-gun drumming, the band suddenly launches a crawling, doom-thrash riff, over which Barney Greenway barks “Procreation of the wicked” in a tribute to arty Swiss thrashers Celtic Frost. It’s the kind of thing you could see a band doing live, but not in the studio, and certainly not on the released take of a song — but it proves that as justifiably pissed off as Napalm Death are about the world, they never lose their sense of humor, or their love of metal.

Because it was released on a label that really didn’t know what to do with the band, Order Of The Leech (like Enemy Of The Music Business before it) kind of falls through the cracks of the Napalm Death discography. But it’s worth seeking out.

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