30 Years Ago: NAPALM DEATH release Mentally Murdered

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30 Years Ago: NAPALM DEATH release Mentally Murdered

We didn't say, "Let's make it more death metal,"; we were just incorporating different styles while doing it just happened. It happened more on "Mentally Murdered", really; it's where it all started.

Mitch Harris / Napalm Death interview, Metal Hanger 18, 2011

NAPALM DEATH released the Mentally Murdered mini-album on this day in 1989.

Recorded that May, Mentally Murdered was the first time Earache worked with engineer Colin Richardson at Slaughterhouse, the beginning of a long and successful partnership.

In the late 80's I booked Napalm Death into this unknown (for metal) studio in Driffield, a small town in East Yorkshire, UK - based on Mick Harris rating the clear cut sound / seperation on a recent album by The Sundays, a successful UK indie pop act of the time.

The Sundays - Can't Be Sure (1989)

A few other notable Northern Indie rock acts had used it too - Sisters Of Mercy etc. It was called Slaughterhouse Studios - built on the site of an old abbattoir - and it even offered bands the use of a house down the road where they could stay during the recording, it was the fist time Earache could afford any band such luxury.

...the only studios Napalm Death had been in before were pretty dismissive or downright hostile to the noise the band were making. Colin was different - he clicked with me when he casually mentioned he had engineered a record by a UK punk band some years previously while at another studio - Discharge's WHY? EP. Blimey! This fact alone made him a God to me and I knew I had the man for the job of creating Earache's brand of extreme metal, as the early Discharge sounds were and still are the earthshattering blueprints for extreme music, and Colin was instrumental in creating that sound.
Colin proved to be on the top of his game, and his expertise literally changed the labels fortunes as i booked a procession of bands up to Driffield - they would walk in average bands, taking the first toddler steps in their careers, and within weeks would emerge with World-Class productions to their name - he produced a good percentage of the first 50 or so mosh number albums, including Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Massacre, Fudge Tunnel, Brutal Truth, Hellbastard, Lawnmower Deth even (with fellow Slaughterhouse co-engineer Stephen Harris - who a decade later mixed U2's hit singles!), and I made damn sure Colin was properly credited as Producer on those early albums even tho, with typical modesty, he didnt ask for such a credit.

Digby Pearson, Ask Earache, 2006

"Mentally Murdered", the song, was also released as a 7" single in 1989 b/w "Cause and Effect". The single used the same cover artwork printed black and white.

After Jeff and after Mark - the hunt was on for a new Napalm Death artist. The band needed a suitable artist who could draw in that now trademark Napalm style, originated by Jeff (who in turn took it from G Vaucher of Crass)-namely, political b/w dotty / illustration style. Skinny was the artist for the Mentally Murdered EP - I think he was a contact of Mick's, I think from Birmingham area, the actual original art for Mentally Murdered is in full colour for the 12inch and CD but was released on 7inch in black n white. We never used him again as Napalm eventually settled on Mid from Deviated instinct for art on later releases.

Digby Pearson, Ask Earache, 2006
Napalm Death - Mentally Murdered (Live 1990)