“I was just trying to play distorted bass – everything had to be on 11!” Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury on writing riffs and fighting nazis

Napalm Death's Shane Embury
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon/Future)

Napalm Death, first a punk-inspired grindcore band and later a more fully-evolved death metal outfit, pioneered a particularly British form of extreme music in the Eighties. Initially dismissed as something of a novelty thanks to songs such as the one-second You Suffer, as well as their bestial vocals and relentless blastbeats, Napalm have become revered for their strong political views and perseverance in the face of all the odds.

Bassist Shane Embury is one of the best-known musicians in extreme metal, having joined Napalm in 1987, six years after they formed: he’s now their longest-serving member. He’s also played in bands such as Lock-Up, Venomous Concept and Brujeria over the years, building a reputation for huge, often distorted bass parts that give the riffs a fearsome bottom end. 

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Joel McIver

Joel McIver was the Editor of Bass Player magazine from 2018 to 2022, having spent six years before that editing Bass Guitar magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV.