1982, NAPALM DEATH are the legitimate forefathers of grindcore
and had already achieved a legendary status during their early days with
their debut album “Scum” (1987), which started a truly violent
revolution within the world of extreme music. Since then, their name is
inevitably connected with raving high-speed, and although no member of
the original line-up plays in the band these days they haven't cut down
on their ferocity. The lot from Birmingham, England, still delivers a
furious mix formed out of highly aggressive (extreme-) metal and savage
hardcore/punk fitted with social criticism. Their ceaseless worldwide
touring helped them gain technical perfection and thus the ability to
refine their sound. The early to mid nineties saw NAPALM DEATH
implement more death metal elements (just listen to 1990’s “Harmony
Corruption”), groove and even melodies in their songs, e.g. to be heard
on the blistering albums “Fear, Emptiness, Despair” (1994) and
“Diatribes” (1996). But, to avoid any misconceptions, our beloved
grinders never alienated their fans with drastic musical changes. Their
songs continued to be inalterable monuments of fury and especially
“Enemy Of The Music Business” (2001), “Order Of The Leech” (2002) as
well as 2005’s “The Code Is Red…Long Live The Code” demonstrated Napalm
Death's dedication to sheer brutality and blasting noisy sonic eruptions.
27 years of
grindcore ultra-violence, 27 years of being one of the hardest working,
hardest touring bands on this miserable planet, NAPALM DEATH’s
conviction, energy and belief in spontaneous, outspoken yet extreme
music is far from being watered down. “Time Waits For No Slave”, the
band’s 13th studio album (excluding the cover album “Leaders Not
Followers Pt.2”) marks no exception – as long as this is a world gone
wrong, NAPALM DEATH will be utilizing their artistic arsenal to
attack those in charge, no matter if their fanaticism stems from a
political, religious or simply greedy motivation.
Once again, NAPALM DEATH’s concerns are realised through intense,
devastatingly brutal songs that venture into groovier, neckbreaking
mid-tempo passages to allow the listener to take a breath before vicious
blast beats pummel you out of existence. "Time Waits For No Slave" will
be released via Century Media Records on January 23.
had a chat during NAPALM DEATH’s tour through Europe last year in
Tilburg, we tracked down Shane Embury to ask him all about
NAPALM DEATH’s latest release, here you can read what he had to say
about ‘Time Waits For No Slave’.
all, how are you? And congratulations on your new album ‘Time Waits For
No Slave’ which will be released next month, of course we’d like to ask
you a couple of questions about it.
morning here in a very cold UK but doing ok.
It’s been about 3 years since ‘Smear Campaign’
came out, so can you give us a quick update on Napalm Death?
toured a lot all over, 3 US tours and many European festivals. We
visited China for the first time and went back to Australia for the
first time since 1996. We also did a huge tour of Latin America so a
great experience all in all.
was it to come up with a follow-up for the well received ‘Smear Campaign’
album and how did you launch into writing material for ‘Time Waits For
I had a
couple of ideas ready pretty much just after we had recorded Smear so
that’s always a starting point for me. Strangely enough I had had some
songs for a few years as well which I reworked and that became the main
focal point for my contribution to the album. Once we had decided to
commit to the studio time Mitch feverishly put his songs together and we
practised our ideas for only about 6 weeks. We tend to work very quickly
and in our own way.
time did you spend on the songs?
We had our
songs in demo format for a time so rehearsals were 6-8 weeks. It’s the
way we have always worked, our songs take a life of their own from
practise to studio.
Did ideas come easily so that you just had to
write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
As I said
ideas are around us all the time and we make note of them and store them
away for our eventual next release. Barney pretty much works the same
first, lyrics or melodies?
the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Time Waits For No
Slave’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?
the production to be heavier and better than the last album, also the
songs to be varied through the record. Mitch really concentrated on the
chuggier songs where I wanted to make frantic songs and have more time
the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you?
I think the
songs have to be catchy and memorable, that’s really important.
please describe the implications of the title ‘Time Waits For No Slave’,
what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?
I guess we
are asking the question to ourselves as much as anyone else "Do we take
the time to enjoy our life in its most simple form?" Technology moves so
fast and intense that we are losing sight of ourselves as human beings
and we are not taking the time to enjoy what’s around us.
probably get this one a lot, but there seems to be a political or
religious tone to a few of the songs on the record, including the title
song “Downbeat Clique” and “Procrastination On The Empty Vessel”. Is
there a particular message you wanted to deliver through the lyrical
content of these songs?
with religion a lot on the last album and in some forms on this one. I
have never been religious.
You have a
pretty outspoken opinion about society, which is often voiced in your
lyrics. How important is it to you that people pay attention to the
lyrics apart from listening to the music?
For me it's
not a problem if you just want to concentrate on the music and not the
lyrics, They obviously come as a package but they can be appreciated
One of the
most typical things on ‘Time Waits For No Slave’ are the longer numbers,
some of them are above 4 minutes (and this is something I really like).
Is this an influence you wish to develop more in the future or can we
expect something really different?
longer songs are Mitch’s. I think there will be a mixture of song
lengths in the future as always…we can never predict what's going to
guys spend a fair amount of time working on the record before heading
over to record the album? How much time did you spend in the studio?
We spent 4
weeks in the studio and 2 weeks mixing, we didn’t work different than on
you think are the main differences between your last album ‘Smear
Campaign’ and ‘Time Waits For No Slave’?
songs perhaps than last time without losing the extremity and I think
the production is way better than 'Smear' and very much heavier.
on ‘Time Waits For No Slave’ is excellent, the album was produced by
Russ Russell, what made him the perfect man for Napalm Death and can you
tell me something about him?
worked with us for 10 years now, he was our live sound engineer for some
time and then he went on to work with us on our last 5 studio albums. He
is like a 5th member and knows exactly what we require and
thinks the same about our music as we do.
things/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?
All of the
album is partly his vision as it is ours.
have any favourites on the album?
“Time Waits For No Slave”, “Passive Tense” and “On The Brink Of
received any feedback on the album yet?
so far has been very positive which is great to hear.
party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or
are your music and band the only things that matter?
We like to
hear good things about our records of course but you obviously have to
be mature about criticism.
are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to
have changed anything in retrospective? Which element on the CD are you
most proud of?
I am very
happy with the album, it's turned out better than I could have imagined,
I am most proud of the production I think and the variation of the
you sum up the new record to someone that has never listened to the
Avante garde grind jazz rock fusion.
is your favourite one to play live? Which song do you find is the most
challenging one to play live?
We have only
played 2 songs live so far so ask me that one in 12 months.
your greatest influences - both in terms of composition, as well as your
guitar / bass / drum playing?
Repulsion / Rush.
tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate
you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?
wanted to be involved in music from an early age. I don’t write that
many lyrics for Napalm Death anymore and when I do they are usually
based on a personal experience. It's very hard to say what makes me
motivated, I guess I have always wanted to be different and music gives
me that outlet.
the touring and over thirteen albums and many singles and EP’s under
your belt, how far has Napalm Death surpassed your original dreams and
what would you say is the most rewarding part of being in the band?
tells you that you or the band have made an impact on their life then
that’s rewarding. To see the name of your band on a kid's school book
knowing that it’s the same school you went to as a kid and you wrote
your favourite band on your school book, those things make you smile.
the highlights and low points throughout your career?
19991 and south Africa 1993. Recording from ‘Enslavement To Obliteration’.
the death of my friend Jesse Pintado.
album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think
“this is what I want to do!”?
your opinion on the metal scene these days? What do you think about the
overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the
really think about it too much, there are some great young bands coming
through in the grind scene and music in general and as long as that
keeps happening things are ok.
we expect from Napalm Death in the near future, any touring plans?
touring, we head to Istanbul in turkey on January the 10th
and the Czech republic and then in April we have a 6 week us tour and a
lot of festivals over the summer…a lot is planned this year.
you see the band going within the next 5 years, and where do you see the
band’s musical direction going for the next album?
I have ideas
for the next album but we have 2 years of touring planned and we will
see what happens after that, that’s the best I can do.
and a Happy new Year to you.
From Enslavement to Obliteration (1988)
The Peel Sessions (1989)
Suffer The Children (1989)
Harmony Corruption (1990)
Death By Manipulation (1992)
Utopia Banished (1992)
Fear, Emptiness, Despair (1994)
Inside the Torn Apart (1997)
Words from the Exit Wound (1998)
The Complete Radio One Sessions (2000)
Enemy of the Music Business (2000)
Order of the Leech (2002)
Noise For Music's Sake (2003)
Leaders Not Followers: Part 2 (2004)
The Code Is Red...Long Live the Code (2005)
Smear Campaign (2006)
Time Waits For No Slave (2009)
Mark "Barney" Greenway - Vocals (1989–1996, 1997–present)
Shane Embury - Bass (1987–present)
Mitch Harris - Guitar / Additional Vocals (1990–present)
Danny Herrera - Drums (1991–present)
Nik Napalm (Nicholas Bullen) - (1981–1986)
Marian Williams - (1984)
Lee Dorrian - (1987–1989)
Phil Vane - (1996–1997)
Si O (Simon Oppenheimer) - (1981-1982)
Daz F (Daryl 'Sid' Fideski) - (1982)
Grayhard (Graham "Robbo" Robertson) - (1983–1985)
Damien Errington - (1985)
Justin Broadrick - (1985–1986)
Frank Healy - (1987)
Bill Steer - (1987–1989)
Jesse Pintado - (1989–2004) (Died August 27, 2006 due to
Grayhard (Graham "Robbo" Robertson) - (1982)
Fin (Finbar Quinn) - (1983–1984)
P-Nut (Peter Shaw) - (1985)
Nik Napalm (Nicholas Bullen) - (1981, 1985–1986)
James (Jim) Whiteley - (1986–1987)
Rat (Miles Ratledge) - (1981–1985)
Mick Harris - (1985–1991)