Napalm Death flexi spotlight + Shane Embury interviewed

It’s no secret Decibel and Napalm Death aren’t just Facebook friends but bestest pals. We’re the beat to their blast, so to speak. Decibel editor-in-chief Albert Mudrian’s favorite band is, well, Napalm Death. The Brummies (that’d be folk from Birmingham, England) were well chronicled in Mudrian’s Choosing Death book, were cover stars for dB #53, and now have the first new (it won’t be the last, however) tune for our ever-cool Flexi Series in the form of “Legacy Was Yesterday”, which debuted over at MetalSucks last Thursday, courtesy of us, of course.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, we’re offering, for a limited time, dB #79 (click here to order) with Flexi at our store. Why? Because we feel “Legacy Was Yesterday” rules and we’re equal opportunity extremely extreme metallers. Oh, and the issue — J. Bennett’s Pentagram cover story is beyond good — is our first black and white (silver, too) cover. So, it’s a bit of a novelty on all fronts.

Also, we’ve lined up some sweet candids from the recording session of “Legacy Was Yesterday”. Have look while you read the latest from Napalm Death’s legendary bass legend Shane Embury.

What’s “Legacy Was Yesterday” about? I guess the line ‘Be True to yourself and forge ahead’ says everything.
Shane Embury: It’s a mixture of subjects, really. I guess I have good friends who I have known for a long time who are talented beyond a doubt but get bogged down with a lack of confidence or things that have happened to them over the years and as much as I love them as friends, I see them living in constant repetition and not making the most out of what they have and the potential I see in them and it frustrates me as I care about them. The thing being is that we all get a kick in the balls from time to time — some more than others and also who am I to point the finger? But hopefully we can pick ourselves up and push forward and find strength in ourselves as individuals and when life seems tough remember that there is always someone somewhere far worse off. On a basic note, it’s being able to have the time to embrace the basic things around you — when I get down I am lucky enough to find positive ideas and emotions from music that I listen to or create or the friends I have close to me or my wife who supports me and those inspirations push me forward and pick me up off the ground again — somehow I have got this far by being just who I am and not who they said I should be. Nostalgia is great, but we have to move on!

You wrote and recorded “Legacy Was Yesterday” exclusively for the Decibel flexi. How did it all go down? Albert saying ‘pretty pretty please’?
Shane Embury: Well, Albert to us is like an extended pert of the Napalm family, so when he put the idea forward we jumped at the chance, as I love doing splits and old-school things like this and I had some ideas me and Danny had been working on loosely so we thought let’s go for it. It was a great way to break the weird routine of playing lots and lots of shows and then getting into a new album and then repeating the whole process again. We have been discussing plans now to do more splits with some of our favorite bands out there as well, so doing this exclusive track has rekindled a passion for us to do other things which is killer.

What do you think of the flexi concept in 2011?
Shane Embury: It’s a great idea. I am a collector so it’s cool from that point of view, but it’s something different. I grew up with flexis, especially some of the rare Japanese hardcore flexis we all used to trade around the world so it makes sense to me.

You dedicated the “Legacy Was Yesterday” flexi to the late Phil Vane. What did Vane and Extreme Noise Terror mean to Napalm Death?
Shane Embury: ENT’s split with Chaos UK is one of the most awesome records you will ever hear and I first saw them in Birmingham down the road from where I live now and I will never forget it. Amazing gig, which words could never explain. I was fortunate to be Phil’s friend for many years and he was just an amazing fellow and totally dedicated to the scene, but never one of those shit talkers like some others who just never had a good word to say about bands around at that time. Phil was always supportive. He joined Napalm briefly in 1997 and the time we spent together was great — we talked about many things and like my other Napalm members you felt like you were totally on the same wave length. We all Love ENT. It was part of our upbringing and just a special band we used to love to play shows with. Great times. I will miss him!

You’re writing a new full-length. Is “Legacy Was Yesterday” a preview of what’s to come?
Shane Embury: Yes and no, perhaps. Maybe… There is a heavy noise element present on the new songs we are coming up with for the new record — fucked up chords here and there but some heavy crunch riffs as always. We are all on overdrive with ideas in how we want the record to sound, as the last one was heavy as hell, we are thinking more ambient sounds in terms of some of the songs’ production. So each song has an individual mix perhaps. Not totally different but nuances here and there, I guess. But if you love Napalm you won’t be disappointed is all I can say. Get prepared!

After all these years, you still manage to come up with ripping tunes. What’s the secret?
What can I say? It’s part of our life. When I walk around in the city on the outside I look like whatever but inside I am mentally running a riff around in my head. Napalm takes up a good percentage of our lives. It means a lot to us. We love to hear new sounds and bands that are innovating. For me personally I still find the blastbeat one of the most amazing beats in the world. Sorry, if at 43 if that offends some people. I just can’t seem to shake it nor would I want to. You hear great new bands all the time who are doing things differently and it’s inspiring. Maybe we just still love what we do and we feel like we still have good ideas. Who knows? But I love being in Napalm Death.

** Here’s the link to dB #79 again. In case you don’t want to scroll up. Happens to the best of us.