Mitch Harris/Napalm Death Mystery Solved

  • Axl Rosenberg

There’s been some confusion amongst fans as to the state of Mitch Harris’ involvement with Napalm Death. The guitarist, who has been a member of the band for more than thirty years, took an “indefinite hiatus” from the group in 2014, citing an illness in his family as the cause. At the time, a statement from the band assured fans “that this is not a permanent arrangement,” but Harris remained absent from any subsequent Napalm Death tours…

…and then, when the band announced their new album Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism, Harris was absent from promo photos, and there was no mention of him in any press releases. In fact, there was no mention of any guitarist in press releases, making the issue of who did or did not play on Throes.

The obvious way to figure out who or what contributed guitars to the record would be to look a the liner notes… assuming you purchased a physical copy of the album. Which at least some of us didn’t.

Thankfully, Harris has now presented the answer to this mystery in a new interview with Rock Titan.

The short version: Harris did record guitars for Throes, but did not write any of it, instead conserving his material Brave the Cold, his new project with Megadeth drummer Dirk Verbeuren. It also sounds as though he won’t be touring with Napalm Death again.

The long version:

“I flew over [to England] and [recorded] guitars [for Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism]. I was there for a week. Shane [Embury, Napalm bassist] had so much material. I saved my [original] material for Brave the Cold in the end. Long story short, I wanted to help my bros. I wanted to see my friends and family. And [producer] Russ Russell — he’s one of my closest people. And I can’t see a Napalm record without him. I mean, I miss working with him as well.

“It was two years ago or more [that I laid down my tracks], actually — just after my mom died. [Before she passed away,] she [was], like, ‘I want you to do the Napalm album and Brave the Cold and do your own thing. Do it. Follow your music and just make it happen.’ Soon after, I got back to work. Me and Dirk started jamming, and then they sent me over to England to do [the Napalm album].

Presumably, if/when touring becomes a thing again, Napalm Death will continue to employ John Cooke (Venomous Concept, Corrupt Moral Altar) as their live guitarist.

Regardless of these unusual circumstances, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism, which is out now on Century Media, is an excellent addition to Napalm Death’s oeuvre, a record that is as relevant as any other metal album in 2020. And Brave the Cold’s debut, Scarcity, which was just released this past Friday, is also rad. So it’s almost like we got two Napalm Death albums this year. Almost.


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