Friday, February 27, 2009

G&P review: Napalm Death

Napalm Death
Time Waits for No Slave
Century Media
Napalm Death seem intent on proving they have nothing left to prove to grind a quarter century after the band essentially invented (or at least labeled and popularized) grindcore.
Free of the pressure to be the most extreme extremity that ever extremed, Napalm Death give reign to some of the other influences that have haunted the peripheries of their songwriting on 13th studio effort Time Waits for No Slave. And this time out the Voivod and Amebix DNA comes to the fore. On the whole Napalm mix up the tempos more this outing, comfortably cruising at crust punk speeds and using the blast beats more as accent points.
Barney reliably remains the most dominant frontman in metal and the band is hitting with a machine-like efficiency as they carve their way through 50 minutes of new material, further streamlining and refining the sound they’ve chased on their two prior Century albums.
“On the Brink of Extinction” brims with thrash triplets and “Life and Limb” could have stepped out of time capsule from Fear, Emptiness, Despair, clutching from punk chug to its blasterpiece theater close. The titular song brings back the Gregorian chanting vocals that laced Smear Campaign’s “Freedom is the Wage of Sin,” mixing up the layered, clean voices with an industrial refrain. “A No-Sided Argument” even sees Mitch Harris whip out a guitar solo that alone is worth the price of admission.
While the cameos that cluttered up the previous two albums have been left on the cutting room floor (“This album contains no cameos, thank you very fucking much,” according to the liner notes), Napalm Death don’t seem to be content to merely rehash their salad days, so if you’re waiting for FETO or Utopia Banished 2.0 this album isn’t for you. If, instead, you’re willing to take the journey with a band that’s unshackled by the need to please, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.
However, in one sign the old dogs learned a few new tricks, the band did finally manage to release a post-Earache album completely devoid of cliché song titles. That’s worth giving it a listen right there.

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