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Articles : “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism” – Barney Greenway feature (Napalm Death)

By on September 25, 2020

Napalm Death is back with a ferocious collection of cuts via the imaginatively titled album, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism. Vocalist Barney Greenway is in his eighth week of press obligations. In an interview conducted over the de rigueur technological application for our lockdown afflicted society, he looked a picture of good health over Zoom.

Greenway is responsible for the album title and said he thought long and hard for a name that fit the narrative across the album’s 12 cuts. He elaborated that he felt many band’s use run-of-the-mill album and song names, and through his enthusiasm for grammatical praxis he endeavoured to name the album with something both unique and memorable.

Established fans will be pleased with the continuation of the songcraft from the critically praised previous album, Apex Predator – Easy Meat, and Greenway spoke enthusiastically of the positive reception from journalists and fans. But Napalm Death has never been a run of the mill grindcore outfit despite their ferocious reputation, and they have a few surprises in store on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

“Amoral” brings to mind old school Killing Joke and “A Bellyful of Salt and Spleen” is every bit the Michael Gira special. It’s too late to suggest the lads extend an invitation to the Swans main man for the studio edition, but let’s hope post-COVID that particular meeting of the minds happens for a live rendition.

Sixteen albums into an extraordinary career, Greenway bristles politely at the mention of the word. He said Napalm Death achieved longevity as they avoided approaching the band as a vehicle for a ‘career’, and don’t mention the music industry either. Greenway said they’re still around because they were never an ‘industry’ band.

Whatever it might be that Greenway calls the cycle of album releases and tours that have occupied Napalm Death’s time for the past 33 years, by not giving a rats arse about what is happening in the music business they have succeeded when most have failed.

The band has long carved an identity as champions of the underground. Australia is a strong territory along with South and Central America. Greenway said the decision to tour Australia in the 90s could be the reason for the sizable fanbase. He pondered if Australian audiences could still be rewarding them for travelling in the 90s when extreme metal acts based in the United States and European baulked at the long flight. Greenway’s ex-girlfriend is from Perth, so he’s familiar with the west coast, and he said he still finds the country fascinating despite.

With global anticipation for a COVID recovery in 2021, Australian fans could be rewarded for the loyalty again with the band keen to showcase the exceptional Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism. Long live the band from England’s West Midlands that started before the term ‘extreme metal’ or ‘grindcore’ described their granite-hard crust-punk.

On the strength of Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism, Napalm Death could be around for another 33 years. Just don’t accuse them of forging a superb career!


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith