Bassist Shane Embury of British grindcore pioneers NAPALM DEATH spoke to Decibel magazineabout the status of the recording sessions for the band’s next album, tentatively due before the end of the year. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Decibel: How much of the record is done?
Shane Embury: It’s pretty much done — it’s mastered. Barney‘s [Greenway, vocals] returned today; he was on holiday in Japan. We got to the situation where we’d recorded 19 songs and thought, “Right, this is enough now,” and basically, we’re just trying to work out the track listing.
Decibel: It’s been quite a long time since you put out “Time Waits For No Slave”; has there been much change in the band as people/musicians since then?
Shane Embury: I think we’ve always wanted to do that; personally, you have your ups and downs through the years as people, but in a vision sort of way we are all on the same page. Occasionally, we might listen to the odd riff and think, “That’s a little bit strange,” but it always tends to work out; when you’re all looking in the same direction you’re not afraid to try things. I think we know each other so well, in our musical backgrounds as well, it’s not a surprise if Mitch [Harris, guitar] comes up with something and I don’t really question it because I’ve known him so long as a person. He’s been my friend for like 22 years or something; he’s not going to throw a real mad curveball at me. It’s more a question of “Let’s try it.” It always works out. Even if I think it’s a bit strange, it will work because, collectively, we’ll start practicing, just the two, three of us, and when it all comes together with Barney‘s voice on top it just becomes NAPALM DEATH.
Decibel: 19 songs is a lot to take in.
Shane Embury: I think the main release will have 15 or 16. We’ll probably put a different track on the vinyl, maybe an exclusive download track, and we have that thing where we license the album to Japan and we’ll probably give them a couple of tracks for the imports. We’ve actually got a few more songs that we didn’t finish that we’re gonna use for splits, because I’ve been trying to work on a split with the MELVINS for a while. That’s in the pipeline at some point.
Decibel: Do you have a name for the record yet?
Shane Embury: I’ve been told by the powers that be that I’ve got to keep it under wraps for the time being. I think Barney wants to keep it quiet — songtitles, though, we have songs like “Quarantine”, “The Wolf I Feed”, “Collision Course”, “Analysis Paralysis”, “Leper Colony”: those are some of the songtitles we have at the moment. It will be interesting to hear what people think. I think it’s a good continuation from the last record. One of the songs, “Fall on Their Swords”, the first couple of riffs on that I wrote 20 years ago and I’ve finally finished it. It’s kind of a strange track, it starts of sort of in the vein of “Utopia Banished”, with a really atmospheric SWANS, doomy black metal bit in the middle — not black metal, but that sort of weird chord. Strangely enough, the first two riffs on that, I have been playing about with for years. For me it’s a good step on from the last record. I’ve played them back-to-back and, I dunno, it’s just evolved in its own course. In the time between albums you are always conscious about making another album and not wanting to repeat yourself. And you’re always scared that you might.
Decibel: When will it be out?
Shane Embury: I’m hoping it will be out before the end of this year, but I don’t know if it will. We were talking about November-ish, but I don’t know, it’s a bit of a weird time. That’s when I imagine it’s going to come out, but it might even be held on ’til next year. Hopefully, though, it will be October/November. I originally wanted to do 14 or 15 songs and we ended up doing 19 and I thought, “Fuck, what do we do?” And Mitch had a lot of stuff and we were coming up with stuff — we could have probably have done a double album, but that would have been crazy. No, it’s encouraging that we’re confident that we’re doing this record and we’ve already got ideas for another album. That’s obviously encouraging because, obviously, we’ve been about for a number of years and ideas still seem to be flowing. It’s positive.
Read the entire interview from Decibel magazine.