Napalm Death are without questions – LEGENDS!
Album after album they have demanded the attention of every person that has encountered their sonic carnage: whether they wanted to be pummeled or not. Be it through the captivating blast beats or hypnotic beats of Danny Herrera; that sonic low end, tsunami invoking bass of Shane Embury; the razor wire fret shredding of Mitch Harris or the earth crumbling, spine shattering, brain-melting, barking aggression of one Barney Greenway there is not – nor will there ever be – any chance to ignore the impact that Napalm Death has had, is still having, and will always have on the world of extreme music.
Vocalist and all-round calm, articulate and sheer gentleman, Greenway took some time out of his morning to chat to HEAVY.
The first question posed was regarding each Napalm album release having an average turnaround of about two years.
Between their last, and almost most revered, Apex Predator (2015) to their latest release, the punishing 2020 masterpiece Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism, five long years passed without new material.
Why such a long gap between albums then?
“Actually in real terms, it’s a lot less than that because we never started the process until (Shane and Danny) went into Russ’ studio and noodled around in the recording studio,” Greenway defended. “Shane already had a lot of the music written, about 95%, and they just kind of refined it and just got going so it’s less than three years from when the album came out. Around that Napalm being so active and we were doing a lot of touring so that’s what kept us from really seriously getting to grips before that.”
With the recent ship sinking off the coast of Japan due to wild weather, the continual tragic and unnecessary deaths of people attempting to flee the carnage of their existence by spending their life savings and clamouring into un-seaworthy pieces of wood in search of a better life only to become victims of not only greed but early, untimely and unnecessary deaths, Greenway elaborates on Napalm’s latest clip from Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism, “A Belly Full Of Salt And Spleen” and how it was intentionally released only a few short days ago.
“The thrust of the album is to expose this age-old fear of fear of ‘the other’, he explained. “So (the other) tend to marginalise people. In some ways, they’ve become dehumanised by the way certain parts of the population and parts of the world look upon them and I think it’s important to redress that balance to simply say ‘these are fellow human beings that you’re talking about!’ ‘A Belly Full Of Salt And Spleen’ specifically is aimed at the refugee situation. I’m not gonna call it a crisis because it’s not a crisis. It’s about people moving from one place to another when they’re trying to escape violence and trying to re-establish a bit of dignity in their lives…but I think that what people fail to understand is that without migration across continents the world as we know it, the benefits that the world has enjoyed that have become so unequal wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for migration. That was the original formation of the world. Here’s the myth, that borders (were put up to) protect a domestic population. No. They were never formed to do that. They were formed to protect the power and interest of those that held all the power and interests. The domestic population would be manipulated depending on what those people were thinking at any particular time. This whole thing about small island mentality, when I say that I would apply that worldwide, is just this thing (ideology) that people have been conditioned to think down the years and it’s very self-destructive and it’s very destructive toward the long term sustainability of the human race.”
Throughout the interview, Metal V and Greenway discuss many topics not only relative to Napalm Death’s existence but also their importance within the world of heavy metal.
“With the thrust of Napalm’s music, it sounds like unrelenting anger,” he smiled, “but we’ve gotta be careful not to get stuck in one corner. Anger is a very useful thing and a very natural thing but you can display perspective in lots of different ways – you can use all kinds of different emotions to make a very powerful creative point.
In the full audio interview Greenway discusses and articulates the dichotomy of the rampaging malevolent figure we see him as on stage as opposed to the gentle philosophical giant he is off it – but always ensuring he talks the talk and walks the walk. He discusses living a pure minimalist life and doing his best to try and not clog up the earth with crap by just being a simple man that does the right thing, and on top of all that how he challenges the term of considering his role as frontman for Napalm a career. Never wanting to be a professional musician but simply just wanting to be in Napalm Death!
Finishing off the discussion Greenway delves deeply into the visual impact Napalm Death intended with the confronting cover art for Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism.
Napalm Death’s near-perfect Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism is out via Century Media on September 18.