Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave
Century Media
14 songs (50:13)
Release year: 2009
Napalm Death, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

There’s not much you can say about Napalm Death that hasn’t already been said. Here we are, in 2009, and the Gods of Grind are still going stronger than ever, album number fourteen seeing the band continuing down the path to Olympus still full of rage and killer riffs, still the coolest thing in the whole of the Grind genre, still one of the best bands ever to come from England. Time Waits For No Slave, dealing with the topic of servitude, is a damn good listen, full of everything that’s made Napalm Death such a force to reckon with in the post-millenial years. The sharp-edged riffs, the complex blasts, Barney’s rabid barks and growls and the almost Avant-Garde musical structures all add up to form another take on the formula that’s driven the band since their reinvigoration, but where 2005’s The Code Is Red... seemed focused on the guest vocalists and catchiness, and 2006’s Smear Campaign had an epic brutality that’s impossible to surpass, Time Waits For No Slave seems content to ‘merely’ perform the band’s usual job of creating some awesome Grindcore. Of course, there is plenty of epic brutality here, but rather than the concept-album feel of Smear Campaign, this is more a collection of songs.

There are no guest vocalists here whatsoever, but after a few listens you should agree with me that they’re unnecessary with a frontman as good as Barney. From his usual blind-with-rage growls to some oddly Killing Joke-esque clean vocals (the title track is a good example) the man’s on fire, relentlessly riding the wave of the music as it crashes around your ears. Of course, guitarist Mitch Harris provides his usual manic screams, and they seem more frequent here than ever before – which is a good, no, an excellent thing, being a great foil to Barney’s deeper vocals. Moments like the deranged howl at the end of Strongarm raise the hair on your neck with intensity alone. As for Mitch’s playing, well, he’s still amongst the most underrated out there, as capable of wave upon wave of awesome riffs as providing a sort of neo-Industrial backing, as well as the odd solo (A No-Sided Argument is just... wow). It’s especially impressive when you consider that he’s Napalm Death’s only guitarist, Jesse Pintado having departed all the way back in 2004. The music hasn’t suffered since they became a single-guitarist band; it’s become even heavier if anything, focusing the assault on your senses and allowing Shane Embury’s excellent basswork to shine through.

What always strikes me about Napalm Death albums is the sheer quality of the songwriting. The band are never content merely to write Grindcore songs (admittedly something pretty easy to do) but they add subtle experimental parts, such as the off-kilter drum patterns in Procrastination Of The Empty Vessel, which gives the whole song a dangerous, almost Jazzy feel – Danny Herrera is another criminally underrated musician (according to an interview with Barney he plays his blastbeats with just one foot pedal!) whose diverse playing enhances the album no end. It’s also noteworthy how damn catchy the songs here can be, from the infectious riffs to the grunt-along choruses (too many examples to mention, but Life And Limb is a personal favourite). There’s not a weak song present, and whilst at first some may seem a little less brilliant than others, all open up even more on repeated listens.

As ever, comparing one Napalm Death album to another is fraught with danger, but I think I’m justified in saying that whilst Time Waits For No Slave is a damn good album, it falls just short of the standard set by its predecessor, the awesome Smear Campaign. That it comes close is a fine compliment, and if you’ve followed the band this far then you’ll love it. Newcomers may be better advised to listen to Smear Campaign or even The Code Is Red… first, but they’ll have no complaints about this, all fifty-wonderful-odd minutes of it. Hopefully Napalm Death will still be going strong in another twenty years – with a completely new line-up if need be, after all, none of the present members were there from the start – still the last word in staying true to values and Grind ethics, and still producing the best example of the genre. The original, as ever, is always the best.

Killing Songs :
Strongarm, On The Brink Of Extinction, Time Waits For No Slave, Life And Limb, Fallacy Dominion, Passive Tense, Feeling Redundant, De-evolution Ad Nauseum
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Napalm Death that we have reviewed:
Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Napalm Death - Utilitarian reviewed by Charles and quoted 95 / 100
Napalm Death - Inside the Torn Apart reviewed by Adam and quoted 71 / 100
Napalm Death - Diatribes reviewed by Goat and quoted 58 / 100
Napalm Death - Words from the Exit Wound reviewed by Adam and quoted 74 / 100
To see all 17 reviews click here
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