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Sacrifice

After seventeen years of absence, Canadian thrashers Sacrifice reported on the metal front with 'The Ones I Condemn' and proved that time and change does not necessarily have to go hand in hand. Namely, the album is a logical follow-up of the band's earlier works and it seems as time has stood still since 1993! In honour of the band's return, we decided to have a chat with singer/guitarist Rob Urbinati about the past, present and the future!

By: Nima | Archive under speed / thrash metal

First of all: I think a mighty congratulation is at its place! Of course for the new album 'The Ones I Condemn', your 25th anniversary and of course the return to the metal front. So, how does it feel to be back on track completely? I mean, the band made its return in 2007 if I'm correct, but now the whole 'reunion' is completed with a new album…
Actually, our reanimation was in 2006, when we played our reunion show in Toronto, but it feels great to be a band again. The best part for us I think is that we really feel like Sacrifice have created our best album so many years later, and as a band we feel in our prime. More confident than ever.

Let's go back a little bit in time; 1984 to be exact, when Sacrifice started to roam! How do you look back at the band's eighties years and the rawness of the band in the 'Torment In Fire' and Forward To Termination' days?
Those years are some of my best memories of the band. We were very young, still in high school when we were writing 'Torment In Fire', which at the time was our first demo, 'The Exorcism'. This style of music was so new, so raw and uncompromising…it was an exciting time to be in a metal band, but also just to be a fan. By the time we started writing 'Forward To Termination', we took the lessons we learned from our first album, and were much better on our instruments. We had a better direction and came up with a great album.

As I also mentioned in my review, the nineties albums 'Soldiers Of Misfortune' and 'Apocalypse Inside' both showed a more mature and professional side of Sacrifice! However I 'miss' the rawness and youthful enthusiasm of the first records on those? What can you tell us about the more technical path you chose at that time?
I think Sacrifice was about progressing as a band, always expanding, and trying to write the most technical thrash we could. Sometimes it is better not to over think songs though and let them progress naturally. I love our last two albums, but there is something about our first two that I hold closer to my heart. At this point in 2010, I think we are more about regressing.

What happened with the band after 'Apocalypse Inside'? I mean, you guys were becoming a high value for the underground thrash and technical death metal at time!
Thrash was wounded and dying. Very few wanted to see or hear a thrash band in 1993. Even though we are maybe on the more extreme end of thrash, death metal had taken over because so many thrash bands had watered their sound down, and even Sacrifice were maybe guilty of this.

What had the Sacrifice members been up to in the years of absence?
I fronted a band called Interzone for a few years, Joe Rico played in a few bands like Walls Of Jericho, Trust Denied, Gus Pynn played in a punk band called the 3tards, and Scott Watts was playing a more classic rock style.

Fifteen years (if I'm correct) after 'Apocalypse Inside' Sacrifice was reborn and you started playing shows again! When did it start to 'itch' to breathe new life into Sacrifice?
The day after we broke up in 1993. We all needed a break though, I don't think any one of us thought that in 2006, we would reunite and record a new album! I think in 2004 or 2005, we decided that if we don't play one last show we will hate ourselves for not doing it.

Of course it is obvious that real thrash has been making a comeback during the last couple of years, so some people might call your return as 'convenient' and a good way to make some money or something! Your opinion please…
That is hilarious. If you saw how much time I spent writing, how much time we spent rehearsing and recording, trust me, it is not even remotely close to being worth it. We are not touring, and in 2010, you sure don't make any money from CD sales. Maybe if there was some money in it we would tour. Our motivation for doing this is purely because we are having fun with it. I think it is pretty obvious our hearts were into doing this album for the right reasons.

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When an artist has been away for such a long time, there are of course some doubts. But 'The Ones I Condemn' proofs that absence doesn't mean change! It's almost as if time had stood still for you guys! I know this may sound strange, but did you have a 'blueprint' of how Sacrifice should sound anno 2009?
We just decided that we missed the early thrash, before bands started following Metallica and trying to get rich doing ballads and crap like that. The early thrash that would later influence the first death metal bands, like Dark Angel, Possessed, Destruction, Slayer, Slaughter and Sacrifice. Somehow our style came back to us very easily, I can't really say why. The songs for this album just flowed like never before, almost like the songs were writing themselves. Why some bands can, and some can't recapture this is a mystery, I know most do not.

What can you tell us about the recording process? I mean, the album sounds raw and old school and so intense that it's like you recorded the album in one take. It also looks as if you didn't want anything to do with modern recording techniques or equipment!
Yes and no. We recorded with pro tools, but as the producer, I would not allow any editing technology to be used or drum triggers. We recorded the same way we always have in the past, only instead of it going onto tape, it went onto a hard drive. Personally, I am really sick of every bands album sounding like Arch Enemy now. I love Arch Enemy, but I don't want every band sounding like that.

Have you ever wondered what would have become of Sacrifice if the band didn't stop after 'Apocalypse Inside'?
No. I've wondered what would have happened if we got a decent tour for 'Forward To Termination' though. There was absolutely no reason to continue after 'Apocalypse Inside' in 1993.

In the years of silence, did you keep a close eye on the developments in the metallic world?
Of course, more than being the frontman for Sacrifice, I'm just a metal fan. I am 42, but I still love to get in my car and blast Behemoth or something like that.

You are from the 'old school' and have stood at thrash's brutal, ugly birth and saw band's rise and fall! What are the greatest differences you see nowadays compared to when you guys started? And of course I'm not aiming at the amount of bands or technical possibilities, hehe.
The main thing now I think is how many different genres there are now, I kind of miss the days when everything was just called 'heavy metal'. I like a bit of everything, but some genres are just silly. Another thing is that there is really no underground anymore. Any bands music is right at anyone's fingertips now. You really had to be a fan in the 80's to trade shitty sounding demo tapes all over the world.

How do you look at the scene nowadays? Do you have any favourite new bands or are you still listening more to the old stuff?
I listen to a lot of old stuff, but there are bands that have come along since Sacrifice broke up in 93 that are outstanding. Each year though, I find fewer and fewer new bands I think are outstanding. Most of the best albums each year seem to be by already established bands for me.

The album was actually released earlier last year, but has been available in Europe since shortly. As far as I can see at the moment you don't have any gigs planned! Is there a chance you guys will come overseas to support the album?
Yes we will. Nothing definite yet, but it will happen.

Now that the ball has started rolling again, what is the next chapter the Sacrifice story?
We are definitely close to the last chapter. I don't want to do this if we can't do it at our top level, and we all feel this way. Sacrifice has never played Europe, so this is a must for us.

Alright then, I guess we can warp it up for this time! Unless of course there is anything left that you'd like to mention…
Thanks to all our fans for your tremendous support of our new album!!!

Thanks a lot and all the best for you and Sacrifice. Hails!
Thanks very much for the interview and all the best to you as well.

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