Great Metal Albums of 1987: Napalm Death- Scum

When listening to the debut album, “Scum,” from British metal band, Napalm Death, the first question which arises is: Is Napalm Death the British version of the Stormtroopers of Death? Like the S.0.D., whose album “Speak English or Die” had twenty-one tracks in under thirty minutes, “Scum” has twenty-eight tracks in little over thirty-five minutes. Also like their American predecessor, the album is full of ear-bashing short, sharp, in your face tracks. Many of the tracks on “Scum” are under one minute in length but when you listen to them, the interesting thing is that it feels like a full three minute song crammed into that little amount of time.

What is just as interesting is that the band had a complete lineup change while making the album. The first half of the album has a different singer, guitar and bass than the second half with drummer Mick Harris being the only permanent fixture. However, I don’t hear any real change when I listen to the album. It’s still an all speed ahead assault on your eardrums. Some will even raise the criticism that you can’t understand the lyrics being sung but guess what? I don’t really care. This is just a great album to thrash out and create lots of mayhem to. My only regret resulting from listening to the album is that I have never seen them live. I think that would be an experience.

One challenge I had when listening to “Scum” was identifying stand out tracks. It is a challenge when songs are over just as you are getting into them. Although, there are tracks like “Born On Your Knees” which has a cool intro as well an instrumental portion to mosh along to. Another song which I think stands out is “Polluted Minds.” While only a minute long, it packs a very powerful punch. “Prison Without Walls” is another memorable one, not that any of these songs aren’t. However, what you do get here is twenty-eight tracks to have a great mosh to.

Tracks Listing:

  1. Multinational Corporations
  2. Instinct for Survival
  3. The Kill
  4. Scum
  5. Caught…in a Dream
  6. Polluted Minds
  7. Sacrificed
  8. Siege of Power
  9. Control
  10. Born On Your Knees
  11. Human Garbage
  12. You Suffer
  13. Life?
  14. Prison Without Walls
  15. Point of No Return
  16. Negative Approach
  17. Success
  18. Deceiver
  19. C.S.
  20. Parasites
  21. Pseudo Youth
  22. Devine Death
  23. As the Machine Rolls On
  24. Common Enemy
  25. Moral Crusade
  26. Stigmatized
  27. M.A.D.
  28. Dragnet
Napalm Death

Tracks 1-12

Nik Napalm- vocals, bass

Justin Broaderick- guitar, vocals

Mick Harris- drums

Tracks 13-28

Lee Dorrian- vocals

Jim Whitely- bass

Bill Steer- guitar

Mick Harris- drums, vocals

History has determined that “Scum” marked the official initiation of the sub-genre now known as grindcore and Napalm Death have been attributed as its pioneers. I won’t debate that fact but all I know is that I have come to love having my ears cleaned out by the album.

Next post: Testament- Live at Eindhoven

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11 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Napalm Death- Scum”

  1. I saw the band in Toronto in 2016. Melvins and Melt Banana opened. All 3 bands slayed, and they all signed my stuff after the show.
    They are actually touring your country right now (including tonight I believe). Well worth seeing still.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the album. The story of the lineup changes through the record is pretty crazy, plus the list is a who’s who of metal luminaries. It’s funny to hear Lee Dorrian on this compared to his work with Cathedral. This certainly was a pioneering album.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The lineup changes are pretty crazy. A whole band doesn’t normally change in the middle of recording an album. Yes, thinking back to that time, I can see how this was a pioneering album.


  3. An awesome and pioneering band. In the late 80s in Birmingham our band shared a rehearsal studio with ND for a month, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to turn up after them to a somewhat demolished room: empty beer cans everywhere, overflowing ashtrays, a blown bass cab, dismantled drums. We didn’t care – it was like a badge of honour to be somehow associated with them. I got to meet drummer Mick Harris, who was even more excellent when he later formed the metal electronic project ‘Scorn’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is an amazing experience! Thank you so much for sharing it. It’s obvious that Napalm Death lived a true rock and roll style and I’m going to have to explore Scorn.


  4. Man, that lineup change fact is crazy – I never knew.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m going to see them soon n Chester. I have no idea what to expect.

    Liked by 2 people

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