UK-based psych-doom fourpiece Tronos have been riding high since the release of their debut album Celestial Mechanics through Century Media Records in April (stream/order your own copy here). Tronos may be a new band, but the members are a who’s who of the heavy metal scene. The group includes Shane Embury (Napalm Death, Brujeria) on guitar/vocals, producer Russ Russell (At The Gates, Dimmu Borgir, Napalm Death) on guitar, synths, and vocals, and rounding out the lineup is renowned drummer Dirk Verbeuren.
Aside from the heavy metal artillery that the band features, Celestial Mechanics also includes a bunch of illustrious guests, including Denis “Snake” Belanger (Voivod), Erica Nockalls (The Wonder Stuff) as well as no fewer than three legendary bass players, Billy Gould (Faith No More), Troy Sanders and Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault, S.O.D.). To discuss the new record Celestial Mechanics, in addition to some questions about some of his awesome tattoos, we spoke with vocalist Shane Embury to get some more information on both topics!
Sir, thanks for your time. Let’s start with the Napalm Death tattoo on your arm. How, when and where did that come about?
Shane Embury: Hi there, that is the artwork from the Napalm Death album Utopia Banished, one of the only album covers that turned out exactly the way I envisioned it. The artist is a guy called Robert Midleton from the band Deviated Instinct and he has a very unique style I think. The tattoo was done by Steve Hartnoll of Tattooz in Sparkhill, UK around ten to twelve years ago. I can’t quite remember.
With your new band, Tronos, having released its debut on April 12th, were there any plans to get inked to mark the occasion or your new musical endeavour? (If not, what if we pay for it?)
Embury: Possibly! A lot of the artwork was created by Russ Russell, who himself has been tattooing on and off lately. But yes, it’s entirely possible.
“Judas Cradle” is the first official music video released from Celestial Mechanics:
Speaking of your debut, it’s titled Celestial Mechanics. What are celestial mechanics and the underlying theme or topics touched upon throughout the recording?
Embury: I came across the title in a movie and I mentioned it to Russ who liked it too. We were going to call the album something else, which we will keep for the next album, but I feel as though this album took a long time and as much as it is about making different styles of music collide, it’s also about Russ and myself and the numerous conversations we have had over the many years of working together. It’s about life, death, the onwards journey beyond any of our understanding, the experience of becoming older and how it’s all linked to us having the friendship we have and in turn knowing the people we do.
Of all the band’s member (Russ Russell, Dirk Verbeuren, and yourself) whose face would you most likely get a tattoo of and why?
Embury: Probably Russ as he has a face I feel I knew and recognized long before I met him.
When, where and what was your first tattoo?
Embury: As above in sparkhill, it’s the octagonal shape from Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales.
What was the single most fun and/or surprising thing that happened during the writing/recording of Celestial Mechanics?
Embury: Hmm, god knows the fact that a lot of the riffs were written and created under copious amounts of alcohol of which I don’t drink now. Perhaps that’s part of its charm, riffs and their unorthodox tunings and progressions.
Have any tattoos that were painful? Like made you cry, see white light, and regret being born?
Embury: Not really. I had the inside of my arm done with a pentagram and in the process of getting it done I put some cream on shortly after. That stung a lot. Never again. I always wait a day now.
What about past ink that you now hate or are regretful about getting?
Embury: There are none I regret.
Tell us about the creation of Tronos. Was it something spontaneous and done over a few pints, or something more planned and in the works for months?
Embury: We were talking about Tronos for many years and even when we first recorded riffs it was always growing. Nothing was set in stone we wanted to avoid certain convention. Being signed to a label that’s slightly worrying to me but this is just the beginning of where I hope Tronos will go.
We know you have one… tell us about that stoned/drunken joke-tattoo you once got…
Embury: No. Never did!
Celestial Mechanics is loaded with guest appearances. How did the majority of these come about (organically, direct requests, etc.) and where any performed with the band real-time, or where they “emailed” in?
Embury: The power of technology helped with guest appearances but these are people I have had the honour of knowing for a long time and they kindly agreed to take part which was amazing really. I can’t thank them enough, they are all such great people.
“Birth Womb” is a gigantic track off of Tronos’ debut record:
What made you pick “Johnny Blade“ as the Black Sabbath to cover?
Embury: I tend to like songs that are maybe not talked about that much and this was one of those songs I felt could be done differently in many ways. It turned out almost as I envisioned it. It’s got a lot of fond memories for me from growing up.
What is the single most meaningful tattoo you have and what does it mean to you?
Embury: Probably the Zombiefied guy from the Utopia Banished album cover playing with the doll. The whole cover came out the way I imagined it and that symbolizes manipulation of many different forms. We are all puppets whether we believe we are in charge of our life or not. It’s all bullshit. You get one life to define who you are, so do it regardless of what people say.
Celestial Mechanics Tracklisting:
01. Walk Among The Dead Things
02. Judas Cradle
03. The Ancient Deceit
04. The Past Will Wither And Die
05. A Treaty With Reality
06. Voyeurs Of Nature’s Tragedies
07. Birth Womb
09. Beyond The Stream Of Consciousness
10. Johnny Blade (Black Sabbath Cover)
Tronos’ debut album Celestial Mechanics was released on April 12th via Century Media Records: