Vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway of British extreme metal veterans NAPALM DEATH spoke to Metal Underground about the progress of the recording sessions for the follow-up to the 2015 album "Apex Predator - Easy Meat".
"Most of the music is done," he said (see video below). "I've been working on vocals. I'm more or less halfway through. So there's a bit more to do. But, of course, then we've gotta look at things like artwork and all the various things.
"The thing with NAPALM is after this many albums, it can't just be something you just throw out there," he continued. "Like the artwork, for example, you've gotta use your imagination a little bit and try to express it in different ways.
"The last couple of album sleeves were fucking great, to be honest. I mean, I really liked them a lot. They really expressed what we wanted to say in different ways. So I'd definitely like to do that with the next one.
"To me, [the cover art] has to be confrontational, and it has to be extreme. So it requires a bit of thought. We've been speaking with Frode [Sylthe], the ['Apex Predator - Easy Meat'] artist — he's gonna do the next one. It's a matter of where we go from here, really. Because we've looked at a hundred different things so far to try to get some ideas, and nothing is jumping off the page yet. Something will come in the end."
Greenway also once again addressed the status of NAPALM DEATH guitarist Mitch Harris, who has been taking a leave of absence from the band since late 2014 to focus on his family life.
"It's the same thing, really, as I've been saying for the last couple of years," he said. "Nothing has really changed. Mitch played on the [new] album. Whether Mitch comes back and plays live with the band again, we just don't know. Because the situation now is, because of the catalog of events that happened in his life, he had to sort things out a little bit. So now he's on that path…
"The thing is the door is always open to Mitch," he added. "It's whether he can do it. That's the thing. There's definitely no gulf between Mitch and NAPALM DEATH. He had two family deaths in the space of a month, so it was really traumatic for him. He had a lot of other stuff going on, and it was just a really bad time for him. So he had to get his life sorted out. So we'll see what happens, really. Like I said, he came over and played on the album. I didn't see him while he was here. But Shane [Embury, bass] most of the 10 days [with him] and said he was great."
According to Greenway, guitarist John Cooke, who has been touring with NAPALM DEATH, on and off, for more than four years, "is part of the live band, but he's not a NAPALM DEATH member, per se. He's a live guitarist," Barney said. "Which is not at all in any way to minimize his contribution or to be disrespectful. It's not. It's just that's the situation."
Last summer, NAPALM DEATH supported SLAYER on the second U.S. leg of the latter band's final world tour. The 20-date trek featured additional support from LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX and TESTAMENT.
NAPALM DEATH released a special 2CD, 2LP and digital-download compilation titled "Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs" in March 2018 via Century Media Records. This special collection includes a total of 31 songs with a playing time of over 90 minutes, compiling rarities and exclusive earworms spanning 2004-2016.