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Volbeat Wrote ‘Evelyn’ With Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway in Mind

Bernd Mueller, Redferns

In 2010, bands can work with any guest star they want, thanks to the wonders of technology, uploading, emailing tracks and Pro Tools software. You don’t even need to be in the same room with the collaborator in question to craft a great song. The human element may be removed, but that hasn’t stopped the hits from flowing via this method.

But for Volbeat‘s new album ‘Beyond Hell/Above Heaven,’ they did things the old-fashioned way when they invited Napalm Death growler Barney Greenway to sing on the record. They wrote the song ‘Evelyn’ with Greenway in mind — he wasn’t a last-minute addition. “When you decide or get the idea to have someone like him on the song, it takes the songwriting in a different direction,” guitarist Thomas Bredahl told Noisecreep.

It might seem like a strange bedfellows situation, but the creative process challenged Volbeat infinitely, and they aren’t stressed about confounding listeners because of it. “People who are into our radio singles have never heard of Napalm Death or that genre,” Bredahl acknowledged. “It might burn down their speakers. Some may like it and some might hate it, but at least we know we took it to the limit and more.”

Bredahl said the collaboration came about when they went to a Napalm Death show and were consumed by the band’s battering ram energy. “We met up with Barney afterward, and he is the nicest guy on earth and he is smart as well,” Bredahl said. Turns out, Greenway’s girlfriend was a fan of Volbeat and things all fell into place. “The song was written with him in mind, with us writing so that he would sing it. That’s what made it so challenging. It was not, ‘Oh, it’d be cool to have Barney on this song.’ It was, ‘Let’s write a song that Barney would sing and that fits Barney.’”

Greenway made a bit of an arduous trek to the studio to track his parts. He was on tour, took the day off, flew into a small airport and took a connecting flight, as Volbeat were sequestered in the Danish countryside when recording. “It was cool to hang out instead of emailing parts back and forth,” Bredahl said. “We were hanging out all day. [Vocalist] Michael [Poulsen] had his dog in the studio and the dog was sleeping through the recording, and when Barney did a low growl voice or high-pitched scream, the dog started howling like a wolf that was scared!”

Surprisingly, Greenway isn’t the sole super metal guest appearance on the record; members of Mercyful Fate and Kreator also drop by.

‘Beyond Hell/Above Heaven’ is due out Dec. 14, and Bredahl promised the band will tour the States as extensively as possible in 2011. “The focus is how much can we tour the States this year and it will be way more than before, but nothing is concrete yet,” Bredahl said. “But we are going to drop by two or three times and do heavy touring.”

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