1997 was a year similar to the present, relativley high unemployment, mass disillusionment with mainstream politics, a constant looming terrorist threat to name a few. However it was not all doom and gloom, for starters an amazing album was released called Damage 381 by Extreme Noise Terror.
For those of you who are not really familiar with ENT, they are basically one of the Founding Fathers of Grindcore and Crust-Grind, and a inspiration to a countless number of bands, both in the Punk and in the Grindcore genres. These old timers are veterans of the genre and have always maintained a high quality number of releases.
All the tracks are the finest death metal, disregard whatever perceptions you have about early death metal, this band don't fit the general mold of death metal that existed at the time, they tear up their own brand of death metal that is invigorating and full of energy. The drumming is always top knotch, and plays the slower and fast pieces with a perfect precision, and occasionally releasing a furious bellow of heavy beats, that really immerses you into the tracks. The guitarist or plural I can't tell, also ranges from standard riffs, solos and more complex rhythmic pieces, and pulls it off with a high level of professionalism, and refrains from doing what many technical death metal bands do and show off their musical talent at the cost of creating a good well grounded song. Barney's vocals shine through in this, very similar to what he uses in Napalm Death, but at times with that more coarse edge. When I say coarse edge it is that more fitting with the music and again adds another layer to the already smashing release.
Damage 381 is UK death metal at it's finest, Extreme Noise Terror seem to be unhindered by their roots in Punk or early Grindcore, and have shaped a fine death metal album. The only element that is borrowed from Punk and Grind is the high level of Politisation and the poetic of sorts lyrics and song titles.I would hope given the political parallels with the situation in today and the 90's that this could be a catalyst for similar releases by other bands., but perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part. Get this release pronto, you are neglecting one of the greatest release from our small Island.