During the pandemic, Nick Cave has not only tried to keep us sane and hopeful with gorgeous releases like Idiot Prayer, his live solo album recorded at an empty Alexander Palace, but also via his online fan interface the Red Hand Files.
In December of 2020, he took to the forum to comment on the Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds tour cancellation, offering despairing fans a morsel of hope by adding, “Time to make a record.”
Later on, in January, Cave confirmed that he had been in the studio working on new material, announcing: “I did go into the studio — with Warren — to make a record. It’s called Carnage.”
It was hard to tell exactly what sort of record to expect from a title like that, just as it has been throughout the duration of The Bad Seeds. The band has constantly evolved over the course of a career that began in 1984 with From Her To Eternity following the break-up of The Birthday Party and have thereafter been difficult to pin down to a particular style.
Now, just a few days ago in the latest edition of The Red Hand Files, Cave responded to a question regarding the new material by stating, “Carnage is a brutal but very beautiful record embedded in a communal catastrophe.”
There is an argument that every Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds record has toed the line between brutality and beauty so there remains a swathe of ambiguity regarding the announcement. Whether it is the sort of ‘brutal’ that was captured on the hauntingly stark and emotionally gut-punching 2019 release Ghosteen or the ‘brutal’ rock tones of 2008’s Dig, Lazarus Dig!!! remains to be seen. The one thing that is for certain is that the record will certainly encapsulate the ‘communal catastrophe’ and lift us from it, at least temporarily.
As of yet, there are no further release details and it remains unclear what stage Ellis and Cave are at with the project and whether they will be joined on the record by any fellow Bad Seeds members of new and old. Fortunately for fans, as we await further news, we get to bask in the glory of live performances released from the empty Alexander Palace show last year, like the one below.