Napalm Death from Birmingham, England, are the pioneers of Grindcore, by combining Death Metal and Hardcore Punk elements from 1981 on. While the line-up for most of Napalm’s career was vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera, no one of them played on the recordings of Scum.
Scum was Napalm Death’s debut album, released on Earache Records in 1987 and is a milestone of the genre. While the A side of the record was recorded in August 1986, the B side was recorded in May 1987 in a changed line-up. Only drummer Mick Harris played on both sides of the album.
The cover art was designed by Bill Steer’s Carcass bandmate Jeff Walker and came in varied colors: orange, gold, green, blue, and yellow.
In the centre it depicts corporate CEOs in suits watching the social, economic and physical destruction of humanity and the earth they provoked. They’re standing on masses of skulls and brand logos, like McDonald’s, IBM, Kraft or Roche. In the background we see a dark and decrepit industry skyline. The character in the centre seems to be death himself or some kind of a hellish, devilish creature. Perhaps symbolizing the corporate suits’ alliance with death and misery, with the creature’s wings embracing the suits. As this album obviously addresses the theme of global domination by reckless global corporations, media and governments, it seems to be even more relevant today.