Napalm Death - _Time Waits for No Slave_
(Century Media, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (
If ever there were a band that fit the bill as an extreme metal institution, few could hold a candle to Napalm Death. Not only do they have the tenure, but absolutely none of their peers could legitimately argue the fact that they weren't influenced, at least in part, by the Birmingham bruisers. Yet to deem them as such is to practically do them a disservice. While others of a similar stature appear content to release workaday albums, the sole purpose being to keep them on the road and to add a few bucks to the coffers in T-shirt sales, Napalm's quest for aural perfection remains relentless. Even when they were pluming the inventive troughs of 1996's _Diatribes_, they were still classier than most. That record just wasn't up to their usual standards. And since the release of _Enemy of the Music Business_ eight years ago, they've been on an upward trajectory that amazingly shows no sign of sloping.To that end, it may be a bold statement to claim that _Time Waits for No Slave_ is their strongest album to date, but just in case you don't believe me, try out the opening assault of "Strong Arm" and "Diktat" for size. Here the beloved Napalm grind is given an adrenaline shot for good measure (just in case you thought age was going to slow them down) and delivered with the sort of unhinged aggression that could easily have you forget the band's pacifistic leftist political leanings. More pointedly, Barney Greenway is fast approaching the age where, under different circumstances, he'd have fathered at least a few rugrats by now. Without exception his vocal performance on his band's fourteenth full-length makes much of his earlier work sound positively timid.If anything was going to betray Napalm's two-and-a-half decade existence, it would be the return of their much maligned experimental flair, which is well accounted for on tracks like "On the Brink of Extinction" and "Fallacy Dominion". This time round however, they're employed with the sort of confident pugnacity that makes each track sound even more brutal. In fact, the more I think about it, the less there is to criticise about this record, which leaves only one conundrum in that it is highly unlikely that extreme music is going to bear witness to a better album in 2009 -- and we're just a month into the new year.
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