Few bands command the same level of respect and adoration as Napalm Death. Grindcore pioneers and working-class heroes, their status as elder statesmen of extreme music affords the band extensive opportunities to spread their message of economic equality and social justice the world over.
While the band are no strangers to British pop culture, one of their most unusual dalliances with the mainstream public came early in their career, when Napalm Death appeared on the BBC’s educational music show for kids titled What’s That Noise?
The performance occurred on October 10th, 1989, a year after the release of Napalm Death’s classic From Enslavement to Obliteration album. Featuring the legendary lineup of vocalist Lee Dorian, guitarist Bill Steer, drummer Mick Harris and bassist Shane Embury, the band leveled an unsuspecting public with uncompromising grindcore and altered the lives of impressionable young children throughout the United Kingdom.
Hosted by Craig Charles, the cult sci-fi star of Red Dwarf, it wasn’t uncommon for What’s That Noise? to give a platform to types of music outside of the realm of Top-40 hits. Even so, the fact that a band like Napalm Death appeared on television in the middle of the afternoon right after the cartoon Heathcliff with Cats and Co. absolutely pushed the envelope of conventional acceptability.
“Is that it!?”, exclaimed Charles after the band played their one-second classic, “You Suffer.” He then went on to pull out the lyric sheet of From Enslavement to Obliteration and read aloud some lyrics from the song Evolved As One: “Your pride, why should your pride be so restricted? Restricted to a mere fraction of this earth. This earth from which we have all evolved.” Charles went on to call the song, “poetry.”
From that point, Charles again turns the stage over to the band, saying: “This is music for young lovers, step aside Kylie Minogue! Turn up the TV, plug in your pacemaker, don’t get out of breath. Ladies and gentlemen, Napalm Death!”
Check out the jaw-dropping performance below