In a new interview, Napalm Death frontman Barney Greenway has confirmed that the band plans to release a new album in 2019. The bands’ last full-length album of originals was Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media). You can hear the interview below. The band toured extensively in 2018, including opening for leg two of Slayer’s farewell tour. Continue reading
For the uninitiated, Volbeat is not just an international success, but a very big deal in their home country of Denmark. Perhaps not yet as ubiquitous as more favorite sons Lars Ulrich (more about him later) and King Diamond, but pretty big. Volbeat has cool albums, but the live experience is what seals the deal (see what I did there?). The band is simply incredible live, playing up to the fans, entertaining every second and making a giant crowd of nearly 50,000 feel intimate. All while the band just jams their hits and deep cuts alike on Let’s Boogie! Live From Telia Parken (Republic). It’s a testament to why they are one of the best rock and heavy metal bands in the world right now. Continue reading
Danish heavy rock band Volbeat have announced a new live album and concert film, set for release this December 14th via Universal Music Group. The film features guest appearances by Lars Ulrich, Mille Petrozza, Barney Greenway, Danko Jones and more. Let’s Boogie! Live From Telia Parken was filmed at a sold-out show in their hometown venue, Denmark’s Telia Parken, setting the record for the biggest show by a domestic artist in Denmark ever with over 48,250 people in attendance. The album and concert film will be available in the following configurations: Blu-ray/2CD, DVD/2CD, 2CD, 3LP vinyl, and digitally through all major DSPs and features one brand new song, ‘The Everlasting’! The concert album has 26 tracks and many guest appearances from the performance. Pre-orders are live at the link below. Continue reading
Sick Of It All wrapped up their headlining tour of Japan last night in Tokyo, and had a special surprise in store for the sold out audience at ACB Club. Continue reading
British politician, Ed Miliband, recently invited Napalm Death front man Barney Greenway to his show on BBC Radio 2. During their conversation, Barney explained the merits and sub genres of metal to Ed, which led to the politician to ask for extreme metal vocal lessons. Continue reading
Given that our current Republican presidential candidate regularly spews out racist bullshit about Mexico and the Alt-Right is a thing, I guess we were really due for a new Brujeria album. And on Pocho Aztlan (Nuclear Blast Entertainment), metal’s favorite Satanic drug lords are, for the most part, back to playing it fast and filthy. Continue reading
It might be ten years since Sweden’s Gadget vomited their brilliant last album The Funeral March (Relapse) all over our collective faces, but it’s safe to say that time has most definitely not mellowed them. Charging at you with all the subtlety of a lobotomised orangutan swinging a lead pipe, their third full length release The Great Destroyer (Relapse) lives entirely up to its name.
Not so much carefully combining elements of Hardcore, Grindcore, and Death Metal as mashing them together by stamping on them repeatedly until a fetid brown liquid begins oozing out from underneath, Gadget’s only intention is to get in, get out, and leave you feeling like you’ve gone twelve rounds with a runaway steamroller.
But it’s not just unrelenting speed they hit you with. Oh no, there are other types of lovely auditory pulverization to endure here as blastbeats and frantic, slashing riffs turn into mid-paced grooves and thundering breakdowns at the drop of a hat. And just when you think you’re getting a reprieve, in comes another whirlwind of attitude, led from the front by vocalist Emil Englund, his singing style a cross between a walrus having its throat ripped out and an exasperated geography teacher venting his rage at a class of disinterested teenagers. And if that isn’t enough for you, Napalm Death‘s Barney Greenway stops by to punch you in the face with a guest appearance on the thirty eight second ‘Violent Hours (For A Veiled Awakening)‘.
If you enjoy music which leaves you with a sore head, ringing ears, a big grin, and a string of drool hanging from the corner of your mouth, then The Great Destroyer is the album for you. Got Attention Deficit Disorder? No problem. The lengthiest track on here is the five and a half minute closer ‘I Don’t Need You – Dead and Gone’, while the others rattle in around the sixty second mark.
The production is dense and claustrophobic, but also clear enough to hear the individual skill from each musician. Guitarist Rikard Olsson may sound like his arm is about to come off at the shoulder and hit someone in the face but there’s control and definition amongst the blur of speed, and rhythm section William Blackmon (Drums) and Fredrik Nygren (Bass) make playing this fast seem almost effortless.
Listening to ‘The Great Destroyer’ is like having the Drill Instructor from Full Metal Jacket spitting abuse into your face for half an hour. It’s like having to watch a repeated loop of that part in American History X where Edward Norton tells that kid to bite the kerb and stamps on his head. It’s like trying to catch a cement mixer between your teeth, and it’s like watching an enraged gorilla hurl itself against the safety glass after beating its keeper to death with the bones of its former keeper.
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In Caitlin Smith’s interview series with Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway, on of the themes was change and renewal while sticking fiercely to the ideals that have always marked the band. Of the may shifts for the veteran grindcore act on their new album Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media), another big change for the band was the artwork. Replacing the collages and the cut-outs, their usual punk style is replaced with a stark, powerful image of pre-packaged crushed brains.
“It was just purely because we’d done the collage and cut out thing a few times and we just wanted a change. That’s not to say we wont go back and revisit that style and develop it a little further. I mentioned the band Swans, their artwork as well as their music has a real characteristic to it. There were 2 colours to it surrounding a main image usually and it was really powerful stuff. We really wanted to try and replicate that for ourselves. The “Easy Meat” we’re talking about on the album is the people in the world that manufacture the goods that we take for granted. They have a lot of negative connotations surrounding them in terms of the production side of things and so they are the easy meat, so you’ve got the meat there in the container. One of the things the album is about is easily disposable things and I think, what is more disposable than those cheap and nasty plastic packages you find in the supermarket. To me that’s one of the icons of disposable consumerism. I wanted to combine the two things and I think it worked really well.”
Social issues have always been at the heart of the bands lyrics and at the core of their message, but they are not a politically motivated act. At the heart, Napalm Death is still centered round very human issues.
“I understand why people make that general point, but I think that Napalm is a humanitarian band, in the sense that our main objective is to recognise humanity and to try and promote humanity. I think humanity is really lacking in a lot of areas of the world amongst human beings. The things that, in my opinion, dehumanise people like religion, acquisition of extreme wealth, we wouldn’t do things to human beings that they do. That’s my main point. So, even though I’m the kind of person that comes from a left wing perspective, I also recognise that really what it’s about is taking the politics out. Politics as well can be a great dehumaniser; it can make people do things that they wouldn’t usually do in the pursuit of power.”
“Don’t get me wrong, what we talk about could definitely be linked into politics. I think that my thing is that, lets be honest, when you even say the word politics in a lot of conversations it instantly gets people on the back foot, its such a divisive thing. A lot of politics, don’t forget, can be just about tokenism. If the objective is to have a better world for people and more egalitarian way of life then sometimes the tokenism of politics can be completely useless to that aim.”
Nothing has changed for ‘Apex Predator’. Spurred on by a tragedy in Bangledesh, the band get right back to the heart of the issue, tackling consumer culture and our desire for cheap, disposable goods.
“I know it was mentioned in the pre-release stuff quite heavily but just to say it again. The Rana Plaza event, the sweatshop in Bangladesh collapsed with all those people in it. I find coming up with an album title and a starting point can be tricky for me sometimes, I take several days to mull it over and then I throw it round with the other band members but this time when that event happened I just knew. I said ‘I’ve got to write about this’. The most powerful thing for me was to make an expose of not only that particular event, but the whole process of production, consumption and disposal. The big thing is cheap goods, especially in rich western countries in which the UK is one. This insistence on cheap goods, cheap clothes, cheap food, cheap gadgets, but with that cheapness somebody always pays somewhere down the line. Maybe not us monetarily but someone always pays in far more severe ways and in many respects they pay with their lives. Manufacturing standards in a lot of countries are pretty lamentable so I really wanted to bring that out and make an expose on that triple stage culture: production, consumption, and disposal. People in some parts of the world make the goods and once were done with them, they go back so not only have they suffered possibly through the manufacturing but they’ve also suffered because they’re taking the detritus and the crap, the stuff that goes into landfill and really toxifies the earth or being burnt in great piles of rubbish. China and Southeast Asia is a great dumping ground for that kind of stuff. They’re suffering at all stages and I wanted to bring that out, the way that still now in this day and age there is such a big imbalance between those that manufacture and those that consume. There really is a massive gap in the wealth and also the power.”
Despite their size, there are still places in the world that Napalm has yet to venture. With such divisive ideas however, it’s a little unsurprising that they don’t always have the best international relations.
“I think that on the touring side of things that it would be nice to reach more places in the world. I think it’s worth mentioning we can’t play some places in the Middle East because we are a pro secular band with a very atheistic outlook. We are hypercritical of religion and in my opinion it’s absolutely right for us to do that. Unfortunately that doesn’t always go down well in some parts of the world. Because of what we say and our refusal to dilute those things then we are told we wont be allowed to play so that’s the way it is. I’m not going to change the thrust of what the band says because that would be, first of all, be selling ourselves down the river but also diminishing the very things were trying to present to people so I’m not going to do that for anybody. Those aside there are many places we still want to play. The Indian subcontinent, some places in Africa that we didn’t get to play so hopefully we will get there in the end. Apparently Napalm is one of the most requested bands in some countries round the world so it would be nice if we could spread our wings even more. I’m not naive I know that Napalm is not going to get the world spinning on its axis, but we put our ideas on the table and from an entertainment point of view we certainly try our best with our music to make a certain change to things and we could through our ideas affect change as many other bands have done and continue to do, it would be nice if our music could affect change in that way. We live in hope I suppose.”
Remember the first time you heard From Enslavement to Obliteration (Earache), the ground-breaking second album from UK grind pioneers Napalm Death? I certainly do. It was 1988, I’m there trying to grasp on to my love of loud music…and I fucking hated it. I found it laughable, and it sent me away from Metal’s harder edges for a long time. How can you identify with a five-second song, for Christ’s sake? Up to this moment, I’d never listened to another Napalm Death album.
A staggering 27 years later fifteenth album Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media) hits my inbox and boy, I feel different. The angry yet tribal rhythm of the shamanic title track gives way to the pounding machine-gun rattle of ‘Smash A Single Digit’, while the powerful skewing punk of ‘Metaphorically Screw You’ ploughs an irresistible furrow. There’s display of a flexibility in pace with the initially slower ‘Dear Slum Landlord’ retaining a hefty boot with a full production and eventually exploding with euphoric ferocity. The band’s trademark veering grind is still in evidence in the speed and violent switches of ‘Cesspits’ and ‘Bloodless Coup’; while the exercise in raw bloody velocity that is ‘Stunt Your Growth’, complete with mid-point of brutal groove and a barked Barney Greenway delivery, will rip up some serious pits live.
That the band still emits a burning intensity, railing against injustice and The Establishment, is reassuring and adds the crucial element of gravity to what is, in essence, a joyous and energising sound. The beefy punk of ‘Hierarchies’ possesses choruses of near harmonised, reflective vocals and a lightning lead break to highlight the versatility. Thankfully this is followed by the frenetic bludgeon of blastbeats and the savage roars of the penultimate ‘One Eyed’, reverting back to the coruscating norm with a wonderful closing bounce that is the album’s highlight.
Me, the Napophobe? I bloody love the nose-breaking, careering chaos of it all, which would appal an old, lost friend and make a few more chuckle. I’m ashamed I’ve missed out on so much but thank God for mid-life crises, eh?….