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

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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, http://www.jaxxroxx.com). Doors open at 4:30 p.m.


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