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Review: National Napalm Syndicate - The New Hell
National Napalm Syndicate
The New Hell

Label: Iron Shield Records
Year released: 2022
Duration: 52:04
Tracks: 13
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: July 5, 2022
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (3 Votes)

National Napalm Syndicate are among the oldest of the old Thrash bands of Finland, cranking out their debut right before the bottom fell out for the style when the Finnish Death Metal scene started to form. They’ve been back since 2002, releasing interesting, but uneven slices of Thrash that were always looking to do something a little different from the norm since then. The New Hell is their fourth full-length since their revival, here sporting a new vocalist in Vesa Mänty, and while the music is everything the band has been doing for years, it’s easily their best attempt at it so far.

If you’ve heard anything else from their revival period (which may as well just be seen as the band’s real start, since it has gone on far longer than their initial run at this point), then you already have a good idea of what you’re getting. National Napalm Syndicate have always taken the basic blueprint of Thrash and mixed it with Hardcore and Speed Metal with the occasional keyboard bit thrown in for mood, such as on the track "Monster," creating a sound that on paper should be basic, but in practice is actually fairly distinct from many bands in the scene today. They give a fair mix of uglier, more aggressive numbers like "Poison Crown" (yes, it’s a Slayer reference) and a re-recording of an old demo song called "Werewolf" and moodier, more melodic songs like "Supercharged" and "Venomous Encounters," the latter of which sounds more than a little like Sentenced did on Amok. Sadly, the band still has the bad habit of overstuffing their albums, as 13 tracks at a little over 52 minutes is a bit much for this kind of thing, if not quite as excessive as previous efforts. The only real difference between this and other albums from the band is the fact that this is their tightest and most coherent release to date, and the addition of Vesa, whose delivery is harsher than Ikka’s and really adds to the energy in a way he never did (not that he was bad, of course).

On the one hand, the band isn’t doing anything new by their own standards, but on the other, they are doing it better than ever and still sound very distinct despite how traditional their influences are. Fans of the band can get this sight unseen, and those who haven’t given their ears to one of Finland’s unsung Thrash pioneers have as good an excuse as any now to finally join up with the National Napalm Syndicate as they rain fire and torment upon those who defy them.

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