The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Napalm Death
Time Waits For No Slave Toby Cook , February 11th, 2009 08:26

"27 years of Grindcore ultra-violence, 27 years of being one of the hardest working, hardest touring bands on this miserable planet". So proclaims the bumf that accompanies Time Waits For No Slave, the fourteenth studio album from the legendary Napalm Death. It'd be hard to come up with a more apposite summing up of their career to date.

For nearly 30 years Napalm Death have been hammering out obscenely heavy, brutal grindcore by the truck load and its no surprise to find that Time Waits... is no deviation from the thundering convoy. Few bands have managed to stay so angry, so bloodthirsty and belligerent for so long - Slayer of course have managed it, but even the mighty Metallica went briefly mental and released the abysmal St. Anger.

Now before anyone pulls me up on this, yes, it is fair to say that '96's Diatribes and '98's Words From The Exit Wound are hardly 'must have' albums, and The Code Is Red... was rather too polished, but there are no such worries here, so lets move on because put simply, Time Waits For No Salve is awesome.

Right from Barney Greenway's opening guttural roar on 'Strong-arm' you know that you're in for a beautifully uncomfortable ride. Everything that is great about Napalm Death rears its head at some point on this record: Danny Herrera's apocalyptic drum work, Mitch Harris' furious, jarringly overdriven guitars and lest we forget the band's linchpin, Shane Embury, and his granite smashing bass.

Carnage would be an apt way to describe the majority of this LP - 'On The Brink Of Extinction', for example, contains a middle section that washes over you in a tsunami of distorted rage, leaving bloody shards of your skull in its wake, and the slow, bludgeoning opening to 'Life And Limb' proves that there is still nobody who does beat downs quite like Napalm Death do beat downs. Being that this is a review and not a message from the 'I love Napalm Death fan club' I feel compelled to point out that there are moments on Time Waits... that give cause for concern, namely, dare I even say it... singing. At first listen it appears fairly innocuous, but a careful study of 'Fallacy Domination' and I'm telling you, you can hear what sound like vocal harmonies, very, very low down in the mix.

But bollocks to it, it works and things soon get back on track - in fact by the time the classic thrash solo in 'A No-sided Argument' comes around, you'll have forgotten that you cared. Whilst we might wish for it, Napalm Death will never produce another Fear, Emptiness, Despair, or even another Enemy Of The Music Business, but so what. Time Waits For No Slave is pretty much as good as it gets.