Review: “Succumb To Madness” by Napalm Ted

Caught in a violent storm between the realms of Death Metal, Grindcore, D-Beat and Hardcore Punk, the music of Napalm Ted knows no borders or boundaries as it emanates from the morbid wastelands of North Finland. A growing concern since 2015, the trio comprise Jani “Han Ted” Kuorikoski (Depth Beyond One’s, Godlesson, Haapoja) on drums, vocals and electronics, Jyrki “Gravy Ted” Hiltunen (Blåådpalt, ex-Clock Paradox, ex-Impish) on guitars and vocals and  Timo “Ted Nugget” Tyynismaa (Komi Bell, ex-Clock Paradox, ex-El Borgia) on bass. In their 9 years together they have been nothing short of prolific, amassing an arsenal of cuts to reduce venues to rubble with 6 EPs, 3 albums, a split and a compilation to their names all wrapped in themes of Human behaviour, Natural occurrences and Horror.

Unlike their last EP “Pestilential Pursuit” which was mastered by Dan Swanö (Necrophobic, Millencolin, Deserted Fear) the bands third full length album was recorded, mixed and mastered in house by Jyrki “Gravy Ted” Hiltunen at Ted’s Dungeon. What’s impressive is that despite that DIY or DIE approach the record isn’t as rough around the edges as you might think. The drum sound is clean and crisp, the bass prominent in the mix and the guitars slice through the ear canal like a hot knife through butter. A picked guitar pattern accompanied by an ethereal swirling gives the opening cut an eerie almost Black Metal introduction before the chaotic energy of “Succumb into Madness” takes hold. A vicious little ditty that narrowly escapes bedlam, it’s the soundtrack to the men in white coats putting you in a straight jacked and leading you to the asylum for your actions. If you remember Amen, then there is the same fast an lose quality to this, an unpredictability that keeps you on the edge of your seat as much as the unhinged vocals. “Spawn of Flesh” then introduces an almost Mathcore inspired riff and bass pattern with more technical playing, the death growled vocals adding a spice that’s nice as the band attack the cranium of the listener from an entirely different angle. Tuomas Laurila of Blåådpalt adds lead guitars to the sub sixty second rampage that is “Cemetery Waters“, a knuckle duster to the face for fans of heavy music with short attention spans. It’s so good, you want to play it back 3-4 times to take it all in.

The first of two cuts to feature death growls from Tuomas Alatalo of Haapoja  fame is “Dead Hours“, the longest of the tracks at three minutes and forty nine seconds. A harrowing, twisted tale of a descent into mental sickness, it punches hard in the chorus while playing with tempo shifts to give it that sonic sense of turbulence. There are moments that sound like A Life Once Lost at the height of their game but the devil is in the detail and there are so many nuances that with each listen something else rears its ugly head from the mix. Blasting their way out “The Meal” finds Kuorikoski and Hiltunen going toe to toe vocally, exchanging savage shrill moments like gun slingers taking pot shots at each other in the Wild West. Urgent, direct and raw this one gets the alcohol pumping through the blood faster than most but the madness is far from over. Next up Antti “Teddy Bear” Karhu of Post Pulse joins the party for “Limbless” and if you weren’t already in love with the constant changes of direction on this record then you will be by the end of one. It’s like “Calculating Infinity” era The Dillinger Escape Plan playing Slayer covers on acid while screaming “hold on to your hats boys” and going hell for leather. You feel like the train might derail at any point but its so fearfully addictive that you can’t look away even for a second. The bands live performance energy has been captured like lightening in a bottle and it genuinely feels like these cuts could have been recorded live from the floor even if they haven’t been.

Continuing the perpetual forward motion at breakneck speed “Start of Me, End of You” has riffs flying in all directions as both vocalists trade verses and put death growls against shriller tones once more. The contrast is tasteful, the pulverising rhythmic gymnastics of the track as impressive as the venomous vocals on this lethal dose of Finnish hatred. A fierce and furious affair “Corpse Tower” then surfaces like a beast from the black depths, the horror themes of the lyrical narrative barely having time to permeate the brain’s soft tissue with the energetic sonic abrasions that surround it. Blackened Hardcore Punk in a Death Metal container, this one feels like the kind of thing Mayhem could do if Napalm Ted hadn’t beaten them to the punch. The second cut with death growls from Tuomas Alatalo of Haapoja Liquid Brown” takes an interesting turn lyrically, delving into the World sinking into the abyss with collapsing economies and religious hatred as humanity drowns in… you’ve guessed it. Thought provoking as well as being Napalm Ted at their most destructive finest, it has a killer chorus that will crack a smile on the face of even the hardest of Metal Heads [8.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Succumb into Madness
2. Spawn of Flesh
3. Cemetery Waters (ft. Tuomas Laurila of Blåådpalt)
4. Dead Hours (ft. Tuomas Alatalo of Haapoja, Revulsion and Vedet)
5. The Meal
6. Limbless (ft. Antti “Teddy Bear” Karhu of Post Pulse)
7. Start of Me, End of You
8. Corpse Tower
9. Liquid Brown (ft. Tuomas Alatalo of Haapoja, Revulsion and Vedet)

Succumb To Madness” by Napalm Ted is out 10th May 2024 and is available over at bandcamp.


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