Wardruna - 31/12/2008

Formed in 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.

 

 

After having 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’.

 

First of 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.

 

Shane:  Early 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?

 

Shane:  We obviously 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.

 

How hard 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 No Slave’?

 

Shane:  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.

 

How much time did you spend on the songs?

 

Shane:  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?

 

Shane:  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 way.

 

What comes first, lyrics or melodies?

 

Shane:  The Music comes first.

 

 

What were 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?

 

Shane:  We wanted 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 changes.

 

What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you?

 

Shane:  I think the songs have to be catchy and memorable, that’s really important.

 

Could you 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?

 

Shane:  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.

 

You will 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?

 

Shane:  We dealt 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?

 

Shane:  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 separately.

 

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?

 

Yes the 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 happen.

 

 

Did you 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?

 

Shane:  We spent 4 weeks in the studio and 2 weeks mixing, we didn’t work different than on previous albums.

 

What do you think are the main differences between your last album ‘Smear Campaign’ and ‘Time Waits For No Slave’?

 

Shane:  Catchier songs perhaps than last time without losing the extremity and I think the production is way better than 'Smear' and very much heavier.

 

Your sound 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?

 

Shane:  Russ has 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.

 

In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?

 

Shane:  All of the album is partly his vision as it is ours.

 

Do you have any favourites on the album?

 

Shane:  “Procrastination”, “Time Waits For No Slave”, “Passive Tense” and “On The Brink Of Extinction”.

 

Have you received any feedback on the album yet?

 

Shane:  The feedback so far has been very positive which is great to hear.

 

 

Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?

 

Shane:  We like to hear good things about our records of course but you obviously have to be mature about criticism.

 

Overall, 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?

 

Shane:  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 songs.

 

How would you sum up the new record to someone that has never listened to the band?

 

Shane:  Neo-Classical Avante garde grind jazz rock fusion.

 

Which song is your favourite one to play live? Which song do you find is the most challenging one to play live?

 

Shane:  We have only played 2 songs live so far so ask me that one in 12 months.

 

Who are your greatest influences - both in terms of composition, as well as your guitar / bass / drum playing?

 

Shane:  Discharge / Repulsion / Rush.

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?

 

Shane:  I always 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.


 

With all 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?

 

Shane:  When someone 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.

 

What were the highlights and low points throughout your career?

 

Shane:  Highpoints…Russia 19991 and south Africa 1993. Recording from ‘Enslavement To Obliteration’.

 

Lowpoints – the death of my friend Jesse Pintado.

 

Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?

 

Shane:  Venom -  Black Metal

 

What is 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 scene?

 

Shane:  I don’t 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.

 

What can we expect from Napalm Death in the near future, any touring plans?

 

Shane:  Lots of 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.

 

Where do 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?

 

Shane:  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.

 

Any last statement?

 

Shane:  Merry X-mas and a Happy new Year to you.
 


 

Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver

 

Albums:

Scum (1987)

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)

Diatribes (1996)

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)

 

Current Members:

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)

 

Former members:

Vocals

Nik Napalm (Nicholas Bullen) - (1981–1986)

Marian Williams - (1984)

Lee Dorrian - (1987–1989)

Phil Vane - (1996–1997)

 

Guitar

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 liver failure)

 

Bass

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)

 

Drums

Rat (Miles Ratledge) - (1981–1985)

Mick Harris - (1985–1991)