After cancelling his already rescheduled 2021 UK and European tour due to the spread of coronavirus, Cave described this period as an “opportunity to take stock” and “time to make a new record”.
He then confirmed that he and Bad Seeds bandmate and longterm collaborator Ellis had been back in the studio to work on a new album called ‘Carnage’ and described the record as “a brutal but very beautiful record embedded in a communal catastrophe”.
Now, the duo have surprise released the album digitally and on streaming before a physical CD and vinyl release follows on May 28. Listen to the album below, and check out NME’s five-star review here.
Cave said that his inspiration came from “reading, compulsively writing and just sitting on my balcony thinking about things”. With no initial intention of making an album, he said “the record just fell out of the sky. It was a gift.”
While not a full Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds record, the album is the latest from nearly 25 years of collaboration between the pair. Ellis has been a Bad Seeds member since 1997, and has been Cave’s songwriting partner for many years – including work as side-project Grinderman and many film, TV and theatre scores and soundtracks.
Ellis described the recording process on ‘Carnage’ as simply “two people sitting in a room taking risks and letting whatever happens, happen”.
“Making ‘Carnage’ was an accelerated process of intense creativity,” he said. “The eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days and then it was, ‘let’s just make a record!’ There was nothing too premeditated about it.”
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. Credit: Joel Ryan
The tracklist for ‘Carnage’ is:
1. ‘Hand of God’
2. ‘Old Time’
4. ‘White Elephant’
6. ‘Lavender Fields’
7. ‘Shattered Ground’
8. ‘Balcony Man’
The artwork for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘Carnage’
Reviewing ‘CARNAGE’, NME concluded: “‘Carnage’ is arguably Cave and Ellis’ best record since The Bad Seeds’ latter day reinvention on 2013’s ‘Push The Sky Away’, or maybe even ‘Abattoir Blues’. It’s certainly two master craftsmen at the peak of their melodramatic powers.
“Cave told fans via The Red Hand Files that these songs were born from missing the sensation of “the complete surrender to the moment” that comes from being on stage. They’ve certainly captured that abandon, along with all the heightened rushes of panic and mania that come with lockdown and recent world events, and those merciful moments of peace, serenity and hope for what’s to come. Cave and Ellis have taken a bold leap into the COVID era’s dark night of the soul, and found a truth that we all share.”