Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Napalm Party

Locals, we meet again on the radar train. Can you believe we are in September already? Summer flew by and left me with many fond memories of outdoor shows, band barbeques, studio sessions, tours and tons of new music. I am hoping the fall has even more to offer, and at the rate we are going so far, I am confident many of my old local favorites and undiscovered artists will pull through. Now, my goal, as always, is to hopefully give your ears something new to listen to. I am fully aware that some people are not fans of every genre, which is fine. But if I can solely try to open your eyes and ears, and maybe step outside the box a little on your musical tastes, well then my job feels fulfilled. I may be somewhat straight-laced in the real world, however, when it comes to music, I will try everything once and sometimes go back for seconds. I was asked not too long ago if there are any bands I don’t like. Of course there are, hundreds of them, but why would I waste my time and energy writing about it? Come on people, let’s keep it positive! Now, on that note, it’s time to put a band in the spotlight where they belong.

This week, I want to talk about a group that has been on my radar for a few months now that will really get everyone buzzing. I first saw them over at The Break Contest for Skate & Surf, which seemed like so many moons ago. They were one of the many bands I discovered throughout the process, for there was a ton of fresh young talent just dying to be heard. Then, to convince me more, I found out that they call their fans their “Army,” which really had me intrigued. So let me tell you a little bit more about Napalm Party, who hail from Carteret, NJ. Do I know where the name comes from? No, I haven’t the slightest idea at all. Describing their style as a sound of “swag metal,” the band consists of Michael S., TJ, Brandon, Mike and Evan. I found out about this act live first, before I heard their recordings, which in my opinion, is always the way to go. I know if a group blows me away live, that whether or not I think their recordings are solid, I am still a fan. Some bands just don’t have the high budget for that flawless studio sound, so I like to base my opinion on genuine performance talent.

I have seen their sound progress in the past few months, and rumor has it they are working on a new record. I personally hope I am high on the waiting list for this one. Upon first seeing them, many thoughts ran through my head. First, let’s start off with Michael’s voice. It’s loud—very loud—in the best way possible. His tone is not recommended for someone looking for that something in the “easy-listening” catalogue. He has solid stage presence for a frontman and keeps fans intrigued throughout the whole set.

Now, the band itself as a whole derives many influences that I can pick up, with everything from heavy metal to even a little thrash. The guitars are almost brick wall heavy, with many shining moments. The lyrical content of their songs ranges widely, which I find very attractive. There is a variety of aggression, hatred and loss, and it even sometimes goes as far as encouraging and inspiring; it all depends how you interpret it. I like to listen to their music because I find that I can relate to the lyrics, and the music, surprisingly enough, sometimes puts me at ease. Recommended tracks include “2 Faced” and “Final March,” which can be found on their social media pages. These tracks carry the sound of revenge, which can be applied to many personal situations. “Deadlights” is also a solid choice for an introduction for any of you who have not experienced this band.

Another thing about Napalm Party that also impresses me a lot is that they define my theory on heavier music. If there is one thing that I always look for in a heavier band, it’s the role of musicianship in the genre. Heavy can be defined as so many things with many different sounds. I am no expert here on which group fits in what genre, as many things can be found in that crossover space. You may listen and say this isn’t even what many hard rock or even metal fans would call “heavy.” It’s dark and moody yet catchy and immensely enjoyable, and that, my friends, hits me heavy. I find that an important element of this style is through its messages, the conviction of the band and their integrity as a whole. The meaning and delivery of the tracks is just as important as the talent of the musicians in the group. These five guys hit every peg on the scale. Their music actually could mean something to a lot of people.

You can experience their live set and everything I am ranting and raving about at The Blue Room in Secaucus on Sept. 7. I am so excited to see what their new album, music video and shows have to offer. Confidence has me thinking that everything they lay down on their tracks will be filled with imaginations and creative for all to enjoy, fans old or new. They’ve had a strong two years as a band and hopefully will continue to strengthen not only their sound and style, but also their bond. They are extremely committed to their craft and deserve the attention of your ears. I will be back next week with another group and/or artist that really has me jamming these days. Get off your butts and get to some shows! Who knows, maybe you could recommend a band for me to boast about. Rock and roll!