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"Time Waits For No Slave" is Napalm Death most radical and experimental album since the much-maligned "Diatribes" era yet it still retains the overall hellish intensity recently revived since their split with Earache Records. Songs like 'Strongarm' and 'Diktat' could level a city if played loudly enough, while 'Fallacy Dominion' and the title track remind us that Napalm isn't afraid to stretch outside the boundaries of the death-grind genre they helped start. Not being easily pigeonholed has always been one of ND's greatest strengths and they play to it impressively here, capitalizing on the good will created from their post-Earache run to engage in all sorts musical trickery: lots of dissonance layered under clean vocals, clean guitar tones and solos, and some odd-time shifts and signatures; it's a laundry-list to scare away the staunchest grind mavens but Napalm Death pulls off the hat-trick of successfully incorporating these elements into their usual harsh framework of blast beats, d-beats, and hardcore breakdowns. These songs, for the most part, crush all.
As mentioned earlier, 'Strongarm' is like a nuclear bomb detonating at the start. 'Downbeat Clique' contains the sickest crossover riff I've ever heard on an ND record. Ditto the breakdowns on 'De-evolution Ad Nauseum,' a song that could easily bring the house down live. 'Work To Rule' opens with a nice, wide-open, ringing guitar tone then lots of harmonic breaks and ill tempo changes. 'Larceny Of The Heart' could easily have appeared on "Diatribes," that is until the sick grind bits kick in. If anything, ND is re-imagining their earlier, experimental era, adding textures without losing the extremity.
If anything is holding this album back from being an all-time ND classic, it is the production. Something that I've suspected for awhile is plainly evident here -- Barney's voice is double-tracked, and this prominent in the mix, it sounds odd. On "Smear Campaign," his voice was more buried and the double-tracking less evident. He also sounds a bit tired, much rougher around the edges and lacking the power he so easily conveyed in his prime. In concert, he seems to do fine so fault seems to be entirely with the production and not the voice itself. Meanwhile, the guitar tone is way more compressed than usual and the drums are set slightly back in the mix. Both of these decisions detract from the overall heaviness of the record. This is the first time since their comeback where I didn't think that the band sounded heavier than they did previously.
Note: some editions come with bonus tracks (either 'Suppressed Hunger', 'Omnipresent Knife In The Back' or 'We Hunt In Packs'), as usual these tracks are worth hunting down, particularly 'We Hunt In Packs,' a song so strong it should have made the main album.
Proof positive that getting older does not necessarily mean slowing down, Napalm Death offers their latest in a string of hi-octane records dating back to the turn of the century's Enemy of the Music Business. While some of these albums like Smear Campaign have been hard hitting and fairy ass kicking, this new album is probably the best I've heard from them since the late 80s/early 90s. It successfully captures their roots, that brutal punk which was partially responsible for launching the grind genre and thus a gazillion other bands. And at the same time, it embraces their death metal transition and a crisp, vibrant studio production.
The idea here is to finish you off as quickly as possible with "Strongarm", an aggressive grinder with mixture of Barney grunts, snarls and brutal gang shouts. If you've lived on, you are met with "Diktat" and its grooving hyper death riffing which explodes into a gorgeous flow of grind and vocal battery. "Work to Rule" shifts harmonic breaks into pummeling blast beats, and then two tempos of great breakdowns. "On the Brink of Extinction" starts with one of the best thrash riffs I've heard all year, and it's one of the best songs here! The title track is complex and well constructed, with some dissonant but melodic riffing amidst the punches and kicks. Okay I'm five tracks into this description and let me just say there are nine more to go, and you will be disappointed with exactly NONE of them.
Time Waits for No Slave is Napalm Death on the top of their game, and I haven't enjoyed one of their records this much since Harmony Corruption, which was quite a different beast at the time. This is not only a pleasant surprise, but the death/grind album to beat in the coming year! Not only a forceful display of energy and experience, but an album of some depth and diversity in the songwriting.
It's quite difficult to believe that this band has been around since 1982. They started as a punk rock band, which then became extreme grindcore and now are currently playing grindcore/death metal. This newer sound fits the band better. They've also gone through several lineup changes since their origin. On this new release, they feature Mark "Barney" Greenway on vocals, Mitch Harris on guitars/vocals, Shane Embury on bass/vocals and Danny Herrera on drums.
The time signatures (tempos) on the music are all over the place. Some tracks start out with a groove style on guitars. Then, there are riffs that are heavily tremolo picked. In addition, a harmonic riff is also exhibited. Also, on some tracks there are a few cliche type of rhythms. However, some guitar riffs are very unique and catchy. There is only one guitar solo on this entire album. They really should've kept it out because Mitch does a better job on rhythm only. He did the writing on the bulk of the compositions. Shane wrote some of songs too though. There are 14 tracks which clocks in at almost 51 minutes in length.
For the overall sound, each instrument/vocals you can hear very clearly. Everything was mixed well. The guitar is thick, the drums blasting, the vocal outputs are mostly hoarse though some are screams and also some very little clean voice. The playing here shows that this band still has talent. They have not slacked off at all. They still know how to create intense/extreme music. Their age haven't gotten in the way of that whatsoever. They're still putting out quality material.
The lyrics feature topics such as political unrest, hate, aggression, and social issues. "Barney" wrote most of the songs. Though Shane wrote a couple and Mitch on one track. The lyrical content is rather interesting. They're not about death, dying, gore or anything else that's mindless. These words are actually intelligent. There is much admiration that I have for the songs. There are no covers on this album at all. All of the tracks are brand new.
In conclusion, "Time Waits For No Slave" is one hell of a solid release. Not every track was entirely innovative though. As I mentioned previously, there were some guitar riffs that were a bit cliche. But overall, Napalm Death composed some new awesome songs. 'Harmony Corruption' remains to be my favorite release of theirs however. If you're into grindcore/death metal, then do yourself a favor and pick this release up!
Long overdue a review in these here parts is Napalm Death's 'difficult' 14th album, "Time Waits For No Slave", another cannon in the arsenal of a truly remarkable and groundbreaking career. Repeating their story is pointless, and anyway, it would take much too long for a review, but do check out Albert Mudrian's "Choosing Death: The Improbable History Of Death Metal And Grindcore" if you come away from this review with an interest in this area of the musical world - it's an excellent and informative read.
Despite being one of the first truly extreme bands I heard when back in 2002 I somehow acquired a promo copy of the-then newly released "Order Of The Leech" LP, Napalm have never piqued my interest. Probably through a combination of a general disinterest in grind (though Napalm have been far more than that since about 1990) and the right moment never having come along, I find myself viewing "Time..." in the same level of interest: having had a few listens I feel I've hit the glass ceiling of appreciation towards this album. With 14 songs in 50 minutes it clearly doesn't conform to grind's one-song-per-minute stereotype but that number of songs does begin to grate after a bit when all are in the mid length category and, with a few exceptions, the tone and sound is similar throughout.
Thankfully it is always obvious whom it is when you hear Napalm blasting out of a stereo - the radioactive guitar sound of Mitch Harris and Barney Greenway's exceptional half-growl/half-bark sitting atop a perfect melting pot of Discharge/GBH inspired crust/punk and extreme metal is only going to mean one thing. Barney's highly thoughtful lyrics concerning politics, capitalism, environmentalism and other topics are always an endearing factor towards Napalm if you ask me (numerous interviews have proven Barney to be a respectable, intelligent man deserving of his opportunity to air personal opinions) and in respect to older records, Barney is more intelligible at times here too. In the musical department, the speed can be described as what would have been 'fast' in the mid-80s; read as blastbeats and speedy crust punk riffs without the overly triggered and unnatural drums that would be the definition of 'fast' today. Highlights include the punkiest of the lot, "Work To Rule", the grindiest of the lot, a Kreator-esque "Feeling Redundant", and opener "Strongarm", whose forthright directness matches the title of the song. However dismissing the eleven other songs would be a fallacy as the consistency throughout is a signifier of a band who have been round the block more than a few times in their career.
At this point in their career, an unimaginable 27 years after the earliest line-up was created Napalm Death are never going to get any bigger or more respected but for a band of such experience their commitment to blasting out with such a real intent is admirable and a lesson to anyone with a passion for an extreme craft. A commendably solid, if unspectacular, release from these legends of the scene.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net.
What we get on “Time Waits for no Slave” is good, old school grind with a we bit of death metal and longer songs. There’s the guitar work that’s focused mainly on power-chords running up and down the neck in a familiar grind pattern which tends to stray every now and then, supported by frenetic drumming and blasting. But wait! Unlike old-school grind, these songs flow rather than starting and stopping with monumental tempo jumps, or have I simply gotten so used to grind that some of the tempo jumping seems normal? Whichever way it is, the tempo always flows just right through some extremely long grind tracks - by grind standards three and four minutes is pretty darn long! They make use of the time for real verses and choruses, something that most bands who start off eschewing that format often go back to.
There’s just a tiny bit of experimentation that lays claim to a couple of songs here and there when the band wander off to an unexpected territory, the most obvious example being the strange singing on the title track, “Time Waits for no Slave”. Though what could be thought of as most bizarre once one puts some thought into it, is how strange Barneys voice is. At first listen, it’s a wonderful grind bark that sounds illegible, yet I find myself making out the words all the time.
Now “Time Waits for no Slave” would be a damn great album if it weren’t for a couple of factors. With the number of tracks going up to fourteen, and the general nature of the songs being pretty quick, they do tend to blur a little by the time you get to the end. The other matter? “Time Waits for no Slave” does sound pretty similar to significant portion of other Napalm Death albums, most notably the two before this one, “Smear Campaign” and “The Code is red… Long Live the Code”.
All being said, “Time Waits for no Slave” is still a fine way for young gun to become familiar with good ol’ grind, and can easily hold those old-timers over looking to rekindle or romances with and old flame, metaphorically speaking.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com
It goes without saying that Napalm Death are one of the most influential bands in metal (and punk) history. I mean, these guys were already underground legends by the time they released “Scum” and when they released the colossal “Smear Campaign” they had become untouchable.
Their latest album is comparable to their 2006 effort in the sense that it is fast and aggressive in the vein of their first two albums, but with a modern metal production and more mature songwriting. Hell, the first four songs here could have easily been on “Smear Campaign” without any trouble. If someone enjoyed the aforementioned album, he could easily enjoy these songs as well. But after “On the brink of extinction” the album takes a U-turn in terms of the feeling of the songs, and goes into darker territory. The atmosphere in the songs after comes in through the added effects on the vocals and the odd riffs most of the time, but to be honest I can't really place my finger on it. Atmosphere can't really be described in words, but the title track (and the song after that) is a perfect example of this. The dark feeling is a firm nod to “Harmony Corruption” but other than that, the rest of the songs aren't much different. The song structures are very free flowing and spontaneous, but at the same time they feel strong and focused too. The first two songs, Diktat and Strongarm display the album's mature yet chaotic songs in the best way.
The individual performances on this album are top notch, which has been mentioned by the other reviewers also. Every member of the band is in top form, and this is the main reason why the album feels so tight. The legendary Barney Greenway also delivers one of his best vocal performances, the best since “Harmony Corruption” in my opinion. His growls sound mechanical at times but not forced at all and he just oozes charisma. His high pitched screams have the power to make the songs become 10% better for a short period of time. The riffs here are brilliant, more catchy than in “Smear Campaign” and also show good variety, from the thrashy riffs in “Passive Tense” and “On the brink of extinction” to the odd riffs in “Life and Limb” and “Work to Rule.”
Overall, I think this is a great album. Napalm Death have finally managed to strike a balance between the aggressiveness of their grindcore days with the focus of “Harmony Corruption.” 2009 has only just begun but I feel that this might as well be the albums of the year.
It would be lying to claim that any other band is as influential to grindcore, or extreme music in the UK, as Napalm Death. Unfortunately it would also be lying to claim that throughout their near-30 year career, they have consistently managed to make albums that provide more than a quick break from the religious spinning of ‘Scum’ and ‘From Enslavement To Obliteration’. Sure, they were still good but there was always something a little off about their death metal output. Now, ladies and gents, for the moment of truth; the choice between two cliché reviewing terms: ‘Until now’ or ‘This is no exception.’ Neither are particularly favourable in my books, but I think on this occasion a bit of dramatic tension is needed. There was always something a little off about Napalm Death’s death metal output...
Until now. It should be fairly clear from the first, oh, four seconds of opener ‘Strong-Arm’ that this clicks. Maybe not surprising considering that four seconds is all the time you even get for some Napalm songs to click, but I’ll be damned if ‘Time Waits For No Slave’ doesn’t start as it means to go on. There is a fine balance here; the attack switches from mid-tempo death to a grindier velocity often enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, yet everything is wrapped up in one very aggressive sonic package, courtesy of Mr. Shane Embury. It’s amazing how much one instrument can do for a sound; guitarist Mitch Harris doesn’t even have to be following a riff for the paired bass and guitar to sound like an entire house of bricks flying through your window. Then again these guys always did know how to write a riff, and it shows on this record time and again.
Barney Greenway is a loveable character; his no-nonsense live performances are the stuff of legend. However, as soon as he lets rip on ‘Time Waits For No Slave’, he commands your attention simply through his own ability. Despite arguably being a little on the layer-heavy side at times, the range and power in his voice is stronger than it has been for a long time. Lyrically expectations are met in typical Napalm style, lots of nice vocabulary which masks the politics as much as it enhances it at times. Perhaps his days as young radical are behind him, but Barney’s still entitled to postpone the armchair, instead choosing to wax lyrical about stuff that pisses him off.
Something a little puzzling about ‘Time Waits For No Slave’ is how, despite being very solid, it becomes very tempting at times to listen to the really outstanding tracks and leave the rest unloved. The first six tracks kick enough ass for the entire album, but it’s a 14-track, 50 minute piece of work and despite the best efforts of ‘Procrastination On The Empty Vessel’ and ‘A No-Sided Argument’, it can be a struggle to let the thing play through without having to listen to ‘Diktat’ another three times. Still, it’s no time to complain when Napalm Death have finally released an album this good again, and boy is it. Let’s just hope they can keep it up.
So here we have the 14th full length offering by Napalm Death. The first thing to know about this album is that in interviews Shane Embury stated that they wanted this album to be a more experimental album than their more recent work (The Code is Red, Smear Campaign), which when I first read that, was somewhat worried. The last time Napalm Death was experimental was the mid 90s, which, though the 4 albums they released in that era were decent, it was nothing compared to what they were capable of. That means that they sacrificed their trademark brutality and speed for a more laid back and semi-fierce sound. Skip forward to late November 2008, I find a download of the album on the internet. Turns out the word experimental has either been redefined, or was code for "we are going to add some technical influences". For my review I'm going to disect the instruments/vocals.
Let's start with vocals. Barney is one of the lucky few whose vocals only become more powerful as time passes (with the possible exception of Harmony Corruption). Barney shows on this album that age doesn't do shit to hinder him. The best example of his vocal prowess can be found on track 3, Work To Rule. Here the first we hear of Barney is what can only be described as the bark of the hounds of hell as they are unleashed upon the world, not only does he give his most brutal performance yet, at the "bark" I alluded to previously he also shows off his fastest deliverance yet, which might tie into the aforementioned brutal depending on your opinion. Another shining example of vocal genious can be found at about the halfway mark of the same song, either the band use some major distortion or Barney is capable of vocals so haunting and brutal, Satan would shit himself. Besides that it's what you would generally expect out of Barney, pissed off as fuck vocals. Another thing to mention is the dragged out and creepy/cringe-worthy vocals he does in the bands slower doom-ish songs (Smear Campaign title track), they are still present on this album, but are balanced out at a 95-5 ratio with the rest of the vocals (95 being traditional Barney), with the only song being entirely composed of these, the bonus track Omnipresent Knife in Your Back, so unless you get limited edition no need to worry. Lastly in vocals I have to acknowledge Mitch and his insane high pitched screams, same as all other instances, but with each progressing album they are used more and more, and this is no exception.
Next we have the drums. Danny Herrera is a very talented drummer no doubt. Overall his drumming at any given moment on the album doesn't stand out more than other instances on the album because he does the same for every song, transition with speed of song, play fast as fuck, slow it down, repeat. Though something about him that may be interesting is that he has maintained that with Napalm Death he does his blast beats with one hand only, the reason that this is impressive is because, on past albums that is obvious because the drums have a "one-sided" feel to them (they sound slightly flat and distanced), but on this album that sound is gone, and he plays faster than he ever has before, so either he decided to go two handed, or he is getting even more talented than before.
Guitar up. Mitch Harris has been a driving force in Napalm Death for the majority of it's existence. Here on TWFNS he is no different. He is where most of the experimentation comes in, as I said before, experimental in this case means, some technical influences. He keeps for the majority of all songs the traditional Napalm Death song structure, but in some moments he throws in some classic Cryptopsy like technical riffing, which adds to the overall atmosophere of this album which comes together as Napalm Death's most impressive effort yet. Harris' most stand out moment on this album is the fairly rare grind solo. By fairly rare grind solo I mean that in modern grind, few if any bands do solos, and the ones that do sound like shit in a blender. But what we have here is the originators of grind (Repulsion, Carcass, and Terrorizer didn't create it, they evolved it) and they are not bound by modern grind protocol. The solo is towards the 3/4 mark on track 13 A No-Sided Argument, this solo is nothing that will stick with you for the rest of your life, but is slightly impressive. Normally this would take away from the score, but as solos aren't a staple in grind it only gives extra credit.
The bass is last. Bass is something one doesn't expect to see much of in modern death or grind, and yet here we have Shane Embury playing his soul out. Usually I wouldn't notice the bass in a song unless it is so obvious a deaf person could tell you it was there. But it seems there is an exception to every rule. What is impressive here is that Shane demands your attention and respect, and if you ignore the bass will kick your ass. Now another exemplary moment of skill shown by Shane I discovered by drinking 2 and 1/2 liters of Mountain Dew and eating a gelato, this wired me to the extreme and gave me superhuman senses of smell and hearing, the smelling was inconvenient, but the hearing part made it possible to hear and make out every single note of the bass, and I saw just how intricate the bass was and how it was integral to the song.
Thats it for my review and here is the synopsis:
Standouts: All, especially tracks 3 and 13.
Lastly, even if you are not a fan of grind, give this album a chance.