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03. Work To Rule
04. On The Brink Of Extinction
05. Time Waits For No Slave
06. Life And Limb
07. Downbeat Clique
08. Fallacy Dominion
09. Passive Tense
10. Larceny Of The Heart
11. Procrastination On The Empty Vessel
12. Feeling Redundant
13. A No-Sided Argument
14. De-Evolution Ad Nauseum
It defies all music business logic that Napalm Death still exists and continues to create vicious and challenging music. That this band persevered across nearly three decades is a feat so few bands of any genre achieve. There's a reason they lasted while so many fell by the grind/death metal wayside: they knew how to evolve. From the incipient ugly speed-of-light blasts of 1987's Scum to the intricate metal mash-up of 2006's Smear Campaign, Napalm Death helped invent and continue to perfect extreme metal. Granted, they experienced a few missteps (much of their 90s output); yet those never permanently derailed their progress.
Time Waits For No Slave maintains the course set on the band's previous three releases (many hailing 2000's Enemy of the Music Business as their comeback). The songs are mostly three to four minute epics of churning metal, galloping grind, D-beat onslaughts and 80s thrash. It isn't so different from anything off the last few records, yet the band sounds tighter, more focused and somehow angrier. Though this punk-metal-grind hybrid has become au courant, Napalm Death still produce something so much fiercer and sinister than the younger bands.
While some bemoan the band's decision to not replace deceased second guitarist Jesse Pintado, Mitch Harris provides enough licks to cover the lack of another guitar. His riffs in "Diktat" and "Time Waits For No Slave" are timeless metal magic, up there with anything Trey Azagoth, Erik Rutan or Chuck Schuldiner ever delivered to wax. He may evade the limelight afforded his peers given his reluctance to spew out traditional solos; yet his understated performances speak for themselves.
Metal often overlooks the rhythm section, and this is a shame since it is as crucial as the guitars and vocals. Long-running bassist Shane Embury wrote much of the music, while drummer Danny Herrera continues to impress with his accomplished and tasteful performances. His diverse and carefully nuanced playing gives the songs additional depth. He can blast as fast as any kid behind the kit donning a Siege T-shirt and groove like a jazz drummer. The seamless transitions between the early Anthrax rhythms and slow chugging sections of "On the Brink of Extinction" and other songs offer ample examples of Herrera's immense talent.
Some of the songs include a concession for melody, mostly in a more subdued shouting in the "chorus." Guitars also ease up on the harsh riffing for melodious passages, as in "Life and Limb," "Passive Tense" and the title track. This gives the material room to breathe. It also lends additional impact to the faster and heavier sections.
After 20 years of shredding his larynx, Mark "Barney" Greenway still sounds as commanding and formidable as he did on 1990's Harmony Corruption. As usual, his lyrics are as rabid as his band's music. He castigates the powers that be for corrupting society and the planet. There are fingers pointed at the everyday man for his complaisance and compliance with the oppressive powers, the "honored cattle-class turning fattened heads" and the "domesticated drone." Amidst the standard vituperations, there's a critique of hapless radicalism, the "radical actor" with his "radical slip into social structure" and "threatening alliance with the norm." He sums up the problem: "We don't believe much in ourselves."
Yet through thick and thin, Napalm Death believed in itself. They invented grind and reinvented it throughout their career. Time Waits For No Slave is as essential a record as any in the band's vast repertoire.
Bottom Line: You know what you're getting into with Napalm Death: exceptionally executed grind/death metal. Time Waits For No Slave demonstrates a band at the height of its powers. Typical metal record review nomenclature like "brutal" and "punishing" don't do this record justice.
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