Barney Greenway Doesn’t Classify Napalm Death as a Metal Band
Napalm Death's Barney Greenway was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. With the Resentment Is Always Seismic - A Final Throw of Throes EP out now, the vocalist touched on the two cover songs present on the eight-song release and clarified that these are not simply outtakes from 2020's Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.
With so much of Napalm Death's influence coming from the early hardcore punk scene and their willingness to incorporate other sounds and styles from outside of what many consider to concretely be heavy metal, Greenway was reluctant to call Napalm Death a flat-out metal band.
Greenway also spoke about the EP's title and, in particular what significance the emotion that is resentment entails.
Read the full interview below.
Resentment Is Always Seismic - A Final Throw of Throes is largely a continuation of Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism. What was left unsaid by that last album that maybe made it feel incomplete?
It wasn't outtakes [from the last album]. We think they're of the same quality as the stuff that was on the main album. We just found ourselves with a ton of songs leftover that were just as good as anything else so we did a mini album like we used to do back in the day.
Napalm Death, "Narcissus"
Resentment is a theme that's central to the new mini album. What's especially perilous to you about that particular emotion?
It's quite a psychological kind of analysis because resentment in itself is something that increases. Once it increases the level of associated violence, whether it's mental violence or physical violence, it really builds and it's quite significant.
I guess I was referencing the general trend at the moment, not that it's never been there in the past, but the general trend right now is to really separate people out who you don't like. Very often, that dislike is not on even understood. So, the point is, [the word] "seismic" is the ultimate sort of way I could express it. Resentment really does create damage, so that was the parallel.
There are Slab! and Bad Brains covers on the new mini album. How did those bands and these particular songs coincide with your own musical standpoint?
It could have been any one of the 1,000 bands [that influenced us] because Napalm is very significantly influenced by hardcore punk. That's where Napalm Death comes from, so there's an obvious parallel there and Bad Brains are a really interesting band because they had not only the early strains of hardcore punk, but also the reggae elements which is really interesting.
Slab! are bit more of an unknown band. People that were really down into the industrial scene back in the '80s and '90s, might be familiar with them. They were a U.K. band who were doing some quite catchy kind of dancy stuff in a way, but the actual production and the sounds underneath was still really abrasive and really harsh. So, there's definite sonic parallels with Napalm Death and by covering, it just means we're stretching it.
We were stretching ourselves a lot more and I think one of the things with Napalm Death is to not just stagnate. We're always kind of trying to push things forward, so it's a double-edged thing really with the Slab! cover.
Napalm Death, "Don't Need It" (Bad Brains cover)
For nearly all your adult life, you've been a presence in the metal community with Napalm Death. In what ways has that longevity formulated a statesman perspective within you?
I don't feel that if I'm honest. It's really interesting that you say the metal community, but as we've touched on, Napalm are a lot more than that.
That's part of the reason for the longevity because I don't actually classify us as a metal band. Sure, we have elements of metal, but the overall thrust of Napalm Death is a lot more than that — it's hardcore punk and alternative music and it's a broad spectrum.
It's really nice that people say such nice things about us you know and if we are considered statespeople or whatever, all we do is we just try and push things forward with the band as much as we can try and do the best that we can. That's about it really. Anything else is purely accidental.
Napalm Death are going to be touring the U.S. this year with Arch Enemy and Behemoth. What will be different about your road regimen after contracting COVID on tour here last year?
We're really careful not to take any extra risks now, but that's not always foolproof. You're in packed environments and it's really difficult to avoid people. You always have this ideal kind of strategy of how you're going to do it, but there's so many other places where you could become exposed.
I don't know what the situation is in the U.S. right now, but I would hope that we continue to do what we can do to at least reduce the risk as much as we can. I don't want that again, no way. Not after the end of the last tour — it was miserable and I wouldn't recommend it to anybody [laughs].
Thanks to Barney Greenway for the interview. Get your copy of 'Resentment is Always Seismic - A Final Throw of Throes here and follow Napalm Death on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.