Napalm Death - Leaders Not Followers: Part Two (Cover Artwork)

Napalm Death

Leaders Not Followers: Part Two (2004)

Century Media

Albums by established groups chock full of cover songs are a dime a dozen, and there are a billion bands intent on foisting their favorite artists on you. From Metallica, to Eric Clapton, to Dwight Yoakam, Richie Stevens, and Cat Power, artists have strip-mined their record collections, and though the occasional intention is to explain where they've derived their influences, the term "stop-gap" usually comes to mind instead. It's as though some will do almost anything to remain in the public consciousness, weighing their own work against performers no nearer to stardom through this association (see Metallica).

So when Napalm Death brought out their first edition of Leaders Not Followers in 2000, it would have been to be suspicious of their motivation. The aim, however, was to be educational, not to revel in monetary exploitation/grave robbing. Napalm's collective knowledge of these groups, some of whom are quite obscure, helped shed light on their careers. This even, in one case, propagated the release of an entire disc worth of demo tracks from Michigan's Repultion, featured on their first installment. The roots of that six song release have blossomed into Part Two, which, at nineteen tracks finishes the argument that their vortex of dissonance had to originate somewhere. And while many will claim them for the "metal" camp, the Crasstifarian mood of their early years is felt when they tackle the songs of Discharge and Anti Cimex. They move on through numbers by Agnostic Front, Siege, Die Kruezen, and Attitude Adjustment, as well as a few more metal/speedcore hits by Cryptic Slaughter, Master and Sepultura, but the idea is to show how each group helped forge Napalm Death's sound and attitude.

And Napalm borrow from all of them, but they have advanced too, obviously. They have added their own signature quirks, while inventing an entirely new genre from piles of nearly-forgotten demos, rehearsal tapes, and albums that never saw proper release. Fast forward to now and Napalm Death's songwriting has moved beyond extremes heretofore unforeseen anywhere in guitar-based music. Leaders Not Followers Two is a fresh start, a turning of the page, for a band who, two decades in, still have more to add.