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Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway Discusses Anti-Fascist Lyrics on New Album


Napalm Death frontman Barney Greenway joined us on this week’s episode of The MetalSucks Podcast to discuss the band’s first new album in five years, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism, and a host of other topics. As usual, Greenway didn’t shy away from social and political issues, and spoke at length about how what’s going on in the world currently inspired his lyrics on the record.

When asked how changes in the state of the world since the band’s last release affected lyrics on the new album, he had a whole lot to say, explaining:

“My thing really, specifically with this album, was we have a certain atmosphere within the world right now. We’ve gone very much towards populism, protectionism, nationalism. And I find that really disquieting, to put it mildly.

With those things that I mentioned, the offshoot of that is there is a separation of peoples, there is a discrimination and dehumanization of certain peoples that’s just accentuated because of that populist, nationalist, protectionist sentiment.

There are two examples I’m going to use, which I use for every interview, cause I think they’re good examples. The [first] one is migrants. Migrating peoples or refugees, who are quite frankly, very much dehumanized. They are considered to be lesser beings just because they’re trying to escape from really shitty situations to which if we were in their shoes, we would do exactly the same thing. And to shut these people out behind walls, to deny them the basic fundamentals of dignity, of survival. I think it’s just inhumane. That’s for one point. 

“The second example I’m going to use is LGBTQ+ people. There’s a particularly ludicrous thing that’s used against them where the biology, the makeup of someone that is LGBTQ+, because of their whole sexual makeup, their biology is kind of different, and they sort of consider their gender differently. So there’s a suggestion that that difference in biology is somehow a threat to the biology of the rest of the population. You can hear this, even governments are using this kind of language right now, even governments are putting policies in place. There are a couple in Europe right now. Poland, for example, has so called “gay-free zones” actually established within the country as legitimate government policy. I mean, this is fucking insane. 

“This is the tactics of — I’m very careful about using this word because I think it can be overused sometimes where it doesn’t recognize the real high-end proponents of it — but it is fascist ideology. The whole idea of scapegoating peoples based upon whatever’s going on in their life, and they might be escaping tyranny, or their sexuality, their biological makeup, its fucking insane to think that this stuff is being propagated even by governments.

“And you should be very fucking disquieted at the very least because if we remind ourself, this is the likes of Franco, Hitler, Mussolini, this is how they started, dehumanizing smaller groups of people and then building up to the big prize which is of course when murder and mass murder started to happen.

“So I thought it was very important to focus on this stuff [on the album] and of course, the antithesis from the angle of Napalm Death is to just simply stand up and say ‘no, this is not acceptable.’ This is our fellow human beings you’re talking about. After all this time of being on this earth and all the lessons we’re supposed to have learned, it’s come to this fucking point again. Are you fucking serious? You know, it’s really that in a sort of convoluted nutshell.” [Laughs]

You can listen to the full chat below or right here.

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