Review Summary: Napalm Death presents: Grindcore 101.
Extreme metal owes a lot to Napalm Death
; after all, they pretty much invented grindcore. Taking influences from death metal, hardcore punk, post-hardcore and industrial, the band managed to create the most extreme of extreme genres, and for the last 22 years they have continued to release album after album with no signs of slowing down at all. And in many ways Time Waits For No Slave
is simply the latest typical grindcore album in a line of typical grindcore albums released by the band. Aggressive riffs, pummelling drums, and over-the-top guttural vocals are in abundance throughout, and while this may sound like a grind-whore’s wet dream, there are definitely pros AND
cons to this tried-and-tested formula.
As mentioned, the instrumentation contains your standard grindcore fare; thrashing guitars, high-speed drumming, mostly inaudible bass and undecipherable guttural noises. From opener Strong-Arm
to closer De-Evolution ad Nauseum
, the band rarely lets-up their musical assault. Although this does present some problems: despite the high level of musicianship displayed, the album just becomes downright repetitive. Even after multiple listens I found it hard to distinguish between individual songs as they seemed to blend into one another due to their similar riffs and structure. Work to Rule
, Life and Limb
, and A No-Sided Argument
for example could easily have been dropped and they wouldn’t have been missed at all; in fact the album probably would’ve benefited had a few filler tracks been left out.
That’s not to say that the whole album is pointless filler; there are a few stand-out songs. The title track features an eerie clean vocal passage and a catchy main riff, whereas Passive Tense
and Feeling Redundant
are both groove-driven songs with heavy chugging riffs to which you can’t help but headbang. Larceny of the Heart
is also a stand-out track with a sense of melody that shines when compared to the typical grindcore fare that clutters up the album. Another strong area of Time Waits…
are the usual socio-political lyrics, complete with an ever-present extensive vocabulary, with such lines as “castigate or deprecate
”, “indeterminate – your achievements are just egocentric figments
”, and “will we awake from this negligent narcosis"
” being capable of tongue-twisting even the most experienced linguists.
Despite all this, however, Time Waits for No Slave
fails to be anything more than just another typical grindcore album full of typical grindcore songs. Napalm Death
have ticked all the boxes but forgot to inject any originality and variation into the mix, resulting in samey riffs and song structuring which ultimately makes the album repetitive and tend to drag towards the end. Still, Time Waits…
is decent enough to hold the attention of any fan of the genre, but whether they’re left wanting more at the end is another story.