Absolute Brilliance - Shane Embury Goes Back to the Source

Absolute Power's self-titled debut celebrates everything that's great about early eighties heavy metal. MaF caught up with bass player Shane Embury to find out more.

It’s criminal, but there’s a fair chance you may have missed Absolute Power’s self-titled debut when it came out in May, such has been the torrent of quality metal making its way in the world in 2011. We here at MaF HQ didn’t miss it of course – our baleful eye is always on the lookout for top notch heavy metal to bring to your attention, whilst our bony fingers rest forever on metal’s ever burgeoning pulse, and we knew that you’d want to hear more about what amounts to some kind of metallic supergroup, such is the stellar makeup of it’s membership.

For a start here’s Simon Efemey on vocals, a man not normally renowned for vocal elasticity but very much revered for his production work – you may know him from such work as Paradise Lost’s epochal Icon and Draconian Times elpees. Efemey is joined by producer of choice for many of today’s young thrusters Russ Russell (MaF faves Evile being one of his stable of producees) on one guitar, the other being provided by Napalm Death’s Mitch Harris; the Napalm Death connection continues via the gift of Absolute Power’s bassist, Shane Embury, one of extreme music’s most venerated of wielders of the four string motherfucker, and the man to whom a large slab of the credit for Absolute Power must be accorded. One of metal’s truest and most dedicated proselytizers, Emburey was happ]y to answer MaF’s call and fill you in on a few of the project’s finer details in a process we in the industry call ‘chewing the fat’.

My opening gambit is based around the conception as you being an artist who dwells very much on the fringes of extreme music in terms of mainstream accessibility -  what prompted this foray into more ‘normal’ waters?

“I grew up on heavy metal, long before thrash or grindcore was around, so when I met like minded people like Simon Efemey and Russ Russell years ago... the seed formed. It seemed a natural thing to do for us and also to have some fun with no particular agenda. We would get together to record parts of our album and hang out and laugh- that's a cool way to create music,”

So were more people not surprised to find you involved in a project like this?

“Like I said before, I grew up on this stuff and it’s very close to my heart. Yes it might not be as extreme as what I am known for but there is a lot of honesty in classic heavy metal -and spirit- and that's what we were trying to convey. This is as much for ourselves as for anyone else really!”

He’s right of course. And the spirit of ‘old’ heavy metal is something that shines through on Absolute Power. The album reminds me of the first Tokyo Blade record in its sound (although with better vocals!). That album came out in 1983. Once you’d made the decision to create a ‘trad metal’ album, were you looking at the early eighties as your starting point sonically, or were you going further back?

“Tokyo Blade would be a fair comparison really and early Tygers of Pan Tang, with elements of Dio, Priest and Accept and tiny bits of Riot here and there. We love our heavy metal so much so that there is a huge memory bank of references which we drew from, again making this record for ourselves initially. It was a task putting the whole thing together but very much worth it for us, we did kind of stick in the early eighties for our inspiration. There are a couple of covers we did also-  Black Sabbath’s Hole in the Sky which appeared on a Metal Hammer CD,  and also a cover of Y&T’s Hurricane; we don't really know what we will do with that one yet…”

He’s reeled off a list there of bands that kind of pre-empts my next question, but I’m a rigid enough inquisitor to ask it anyway... who were the bands from this field of music that inspired you as a junior headbanger?

Saxon, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Raven, Angel Witch, Tygers Of Pan tang, Savage, Grim Reaper, Accept, Oz - so many bands really”

Okay. Enough with the past. Are you pleased with the reaction to AP, a couple of months after its release?

“It’s nice to finally get the record out after all the years of hard work, as it has been a labour of love for us to be truthful. Most of the reviews I have seen have been positive and the journalists understand where it comes from with the whole concept and the fact that we are not trying to change the world! And the lyrics are tongue in cheek, so I think generally people get it- which makes us happy of course!”

Will there be any touring for this album? Or is it too difficult to synchronise everyone’s schedules?

“We have been offered a couple of cool slots next year which we really hope we can do but as ever it’s down to schedules; but we are going to try as hard as we can to play some shows as it will be a hell of a lot of fun, Tongue firmly in check and hand on guitar etc, etc,!!”

All that being the case, are there plans for a follow up?

“It took a long time to get this one done but the blueprints have been laid down now so we have a few ideas for the next one which will not take as long so I guess the answer would be yes !”

That is quite literally the best news I’ve had all day. Anything else you think the MaF Legions need to know about this most heroic of projects?

“Check out the album, it’s from the heart with no bullshit. Thanks for the support and taking the time to read this interview- cheers!”