CD Review - Napalm Death 'Time Waits for No Slave'

Friday, April 10, 2009

NAPALM DEATH "Time Waits for No Slave" Century Media

FUSING METAL, industrial and hardcore punk, Napalm Death became the first grindcore band, and its name gives a good sense of the punishment its music can inflict on the unprepared. Thirteen albums and 22 years into the group's career (their debut was 1987's seminal "Scum"), it hasn't lost a step. It hasn't mellowed with age, either.

With generally unintelligible death vocals and similar sped-up tempos, the songs on Napalm Death's latest album, "Time Waits for No Slave," tend to blend into one another. With a hardcore pace and a classic rock runtime (50 minutes, with 14 tracks), the songs allow the band to pile a lot of different riffs, tempos and bridges into the structure of a four-minute rock song. But although there's variety within the songs, there isn't much between them: screaming, blaring distorted guitars, machine-gun-like drums, with barely a moment's pause from verse to chorus or from one song to the next.

The band finally permits a sung chorus on the title track, a stunning three-minute mini-suite of speed metal. Another highlight, "Life and Limb," follows, bringing to mind modern heavy metal band Mastodon's heavily distorted complexity.

Unlike AC/DC, Napalm Death probably won't receive many mainstream plaudits for a comeback record, and that's fine. They're not for everyone. But few do it better.

-- Alexander F. Remington

Appearing Sunday with Kataklysm, Toxic Holocaust, F.U.A., Coliseum, Trap Them and Shill for the Man at Jaxx (703-569-5940, Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company