Napalm Death: Diatribes (1996)

Napalm Death’s sixth studio album, “Diatribes,” released in 1996, marked a departure from their earlier grindcore sound. The album incorporates elements of groove metal and industrial music, showcasing a more experimental approach. Thematically, “Diatribes” addresses social and political issues with aggressive lyrics and vocals. The album’s musical style and lyrical content divided fans and critics upon release.

Track Listing

  1. Greed Killing
  2. Glimpse into Genocide
  3. Ripe for the Breaking
  4. Cursed to Crawl
  5. Cold Forgiveness
  6. My Own Worst Enemy
  7. Just Rewards
  8. Dogma
  9. Take the Strain
  10. Diatribes
  11. Placate, Sedate, Eradicate
  12. Corrosive Elements

Length: 43:55


Death metal, groove metal

Release Date

January 22nd, 1996

Record Label

Earache Records

The Lineup for the Album

  • Mark “Barney” Greenway – vocals
  • Jesse Pintado – guitars
  • Mitch Harris – guitars, backing vocals
  • Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals
  • Danny Herrera – drums

Recording Date

September, 1995

Recording Studio

Framework Studios (Birmingham, England)

Produced by

Colin Richardson

Album Themes/Concept

Social critique: The album rails against societal ills like corporate greed (“Greed Killing”), political manipulation (“Placate, Sedate, Eradicate”), and the dehumanization of individuals (“Cursed to Crawl”).

Personal struggles: Songs like “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Cold Forgiveness” delve into inner turmoil, self-doubt,and the difficulty of maintaining relationships in a hostile world.

Violence and conflict: The album doesn’t shy away from addressing the harsh realities of violence, both on a personal level (“Just Rewards”) and a global scale (“Glimpse Into Genocide”).

Organized religion: Songs like “Dogma” question the blind faith and hypocrisy often associated with organized religion.

Album Mood

Anger: The album’s dominant emotion is anger. It’s a raw, unfiltered rage directed at social injustice, political corruption,and the darker aspects of human nature. The lyrics and music are both aggressive and confrontational, with heavy riffs,pounding drums, and Barney Greenway’s signature guttural vocals that express this anger with full force.

Frustration: Underlying the anger is a deep sense of frustration. The lyrics often express a feeling of helplessness in the face of overwhelming societal problems, a frustration with the slow pace of change, and the seeming inability of individuals to make a real difference.

Disillusionment: “Diatribes” is also an album of disillusionment. It reflects a loss of faith in institutions, governments,and even humanity itself. The lyrics express a sense of betrayal and disappointment with the world, and a realization that things may not be as good as we would like them to be.

Catharsis: Despite the heavy emotions, “Diatribes” also offers a sense of catharsis. The raw intensity of the music and lyrics can be a powerful outlet for listeners’ own anger and frustration. The album allows you to channel those negative emotions into something productive, to feel heard and understood, and to find solidarity in shared experiences.

Empowerment: While the album’s overall mood is dark and heavy, there’s also an undercurrent of empowerment. By confronting difficult truths and expressing anger and frustration, “Diatribes” encourages listeners to take action, to fight for change, and to refuse to be silenced or complacent. It’s a reminder that even in the face of overwhelming challenges,our voices matter and we have the power to make a difference.

Album Trivia

A Bold Departure in Sound: Released on January 30, 1996, “Diatribes” marks the sixth studio album by English grindcore band Napalm Death, noted for its experimental shift towards a more groove-oriented and mid-paced sound compared to their previous work. This album includes a distinctive mix of death metal and grindcore, with an interesting foray into slower, more experimental tracks that feature ambient and dirge-like elements.

Distinctive Tracks: The album opener, “Greed Killing,” is often cited as one of the standout tracks of Napalm Death’s career during this period. Its bright, melodic riffing and catchy nature made it exceptionally distinctive compared to other tracks by the band.

Mixed Reception with Lasting Impact: While “Diatribes” received mixed reviews for its deviation from traditional grindcore towards a more groove-laden sound, it played a significant role in attracting listeners who were on the fringes of the extreme metal scene. This approach helped the album act as a gateway for new fans exploring heavier music genres.

Listen or Pass

This album might be for you if you…

  • Groove Metal: “Diatribes” showcases a heavy groove metal sound with aggressive riffs and intense drumming.
  • Social Commentary: The lyrics delve into political and social issues, providing thought-provoking commentary.
  • Musical Experimentation: The album incorporates industrial elements, demonstrating the band’s willingness to explore different sounds.
  • Aggressive Vocals: Barney Greenway’s signature guttural vocals are a hallmark of the album’s intense style.
  • Cathartic Listening: The raw energy and emotional intensity provide a cathartic release for listeners.
  • Napalm Death’s Evolution: Fans of the band’s earlier work can appreciate their continued evolution and experimentation.
  • Similar Bands: If you enjoy Pantera, Machine Head, Sepultura, or Lamb of God, you’ll likely find “Diatribes” appealing.

You might want to pass this one if you…

  • Melodic Vocals: The album features exclusively harsh and aggressive vocals, with no clean singing.
  • Mellow Music: If you’re seeking calm or relaxing music, “Diatribes” is not the right choice.
  • Lighthearted Themes: The lyrics focus on dark and serious topics, avoiding any lightheartedness.
  • Traditional Metal: While rooted in metal, “Diatribes” incorporates diverse influences, which might not appeal to purists.
  • Uplifting Music: The album’s overall tone is dark and aggressive, lacking any uplifting elements.
  • Consistent Sound: If you prefer bands with a consistent sound, Napalm Death’s experimentation might not resonate with you.
  • Different Musical Styles: If you dislike Napalm Death’s overall style and message, this album is unlikely to change your mind.

Release Date

January 22, 1996