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Rob Urbinati (Sacrifice)

Interview with Rob Urbinati from Sacrifice
by Grigoris Chronis at 06 June 2010, 1:06 PM

“If you listen to Metal to put yourself into a trance or something, stay away from “The Ones I Condemn” because it might make you kill yourself”. Should I say more? SACRIFICE’s new album is already out and “The One I Condemn” is a good reason for you to spill some blood around. After 25 years of existence, the Canadian Thrash Metal masters strike back and…why is it ‘ruthless’ the first word coming to mind???

Hello Rob! To say the least, SACRIFICE’s new album is a really thunderous comeback for this Canadian legendary band. Did you find yourself stressed enough on how the Metal world of today would accept “The Ones I Condemn”? Things have changed a lot in the Metal sounds/styles the last decade or more, you too know that. What was the main motive for releasing a new album?
I don’t think different styles really matter that much.As a fan, I just ask that a band releases well written, memorable songs. There are obviously genres that I like more than others, but Thrash Metal is really ground zero for all extreme Metal. Our criteria is that if it measures up to our best older stuff…if it truly represents SACRIFICE…and we felt it did.Luckily, our old and new fans did as well. The main motivation for us to release a new album was simply that we felt the band had more to give. We wouldn’t have actually released anything if the songs didn’t measure up, but the whole band felt the material was possibly our strongest in the history of SACRIFICE.

Was it difficult to gather the original lineup for the recordings of “The Ones I Condemn”? Was the songwriting some kind of team work? Does every SACRIFICE member preserve his taste in classic Thrash/Speed Metal or you tried to filer some more fresh vibe in the new songs?
It was a little difficult getting together for the recordings, but it all worked out well.Our songwriting approach was a little different than before, I did the most of the writing at home, then Gus Pynn and myself polished the songs up in rehearsal. We were able to send the song demos around much easier than was possible in the 80s so everyone was involved in putting their touch on the songs. As far as trying to breathe a fresh vibe into the new stuff…we just wanted to go back to our original influences and keep the true SACRIFICE sound.This is what we do best, no one, including us, wants SACRIFICE to add in whatever is trendy in Metal today. We listen to a lot of newer bands, but they have no bearing on how we approach our music today.

I was quite impressed by the guitars work…again, haha! Was there some particular pattern while writing riffs? I’m asking because in many cases classic Metal bands have a dilemma in whether they should stick to the same old techniques or risk(?) portraying new elements in their playing, often criticized as betrayers of their own beliefs…
Everything came really naturally for this album. We didn’t want to over think things and we have always had certain notes we play a lot, or certain songwriting things we do with the way riffs and drums work together. One thing we do is to shun influences of whatever is popular now. We prefer to go back to bands that you wouldn’t expect like RUSH for example, and somehow work that influence into the context of SACRIFICE.

 “The Ones I Condemn” was first released via Marquee Records, then a Canadian pressing was soon to appear (with a cover take on RUSH’s “Anthem”, I think?) and now Cyclone Empire deals with the European territory. So, is SACRIFICE’s new work available worldwide as we speak? What’s the feedback so far? Can you predict the possible reaction of more young funs who have been used to more aggressive or atmospheric stuff nowadays from modern bands?
“The Ones I Condemn” is now available almost worldwide. The main market that it is not available domestically is the US, no one has really presented a reasonable offer. The reaction has been shocking for us as it has been extremely positive. Younger fans into aggressive stuff seem to really like it because we belong to the most extreme tier of Thrash Metal. This isn’t party Rock, or semi-fast stuff with Power Mmetal vocals… SACRIFICE is fast, violent, and punishing. We don’t fuck around. If you are into atmospheric stuff, this probably isn’t for you…if you listen to Metal to put yourself into a trance or something, stay away from “The Ones I Condemn” because it might make you kill yourself.

As a fan of Metal music, are you keen on more ‘modern’ styles of Metal? Or you consider yourself an addicted old-school maniac? In relation to music making, you support the opinion a band has to stick to its sound or experiment on new sounds as years pass by and more experience is built?
I like modern stuff as well as the bands I grew up with. SACRIFICE have experimented with new sounds in the past, and that is something that bands should do in my opinion as long as it isn’t similar to CELTIC FROST on “ColdLake”.At this point though, we want to do the opposite.We want to regress and recapture the intensity and rage that the band had on our first two albums. I guess for me as a fan, I just want a band to be honest and follow their instincts. I don’t want ENTOMBED or SLAYER to experiment, but at the same time I want MESHUGGAH to do so.People analyze things like this too much, like I said before, all I really ask for is that bands write and album of good songs that can be listened to all the way through.

Canada has always been a beloved country for Metal music and – in my eyes, at least – this country has nothing less than majestic bands to showcase (from RUSH, TRIUMPH, SANTERS and ANVIL to EXCITER, DESTRUCTOR and PILEDRIVER and then to RAZOR, VOIVOD, INFERNAL MAJESTY and SACRIFICE). Is it a matter of art education from elementary school, a case of parental tutoring regarding music…really, why do you think most Canadian Rock/Metal bands hold a good profile worldwide all these years?
I have no idea really. We also have many bands that are universally despised. For Hard Rock and Metal, there seems to be great supportive fans here. Some of the biggest markets for tours in North America are Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.Many bands from Canada seem to have trouble crossing over to being a bigger international act, but still continue just for the love of playing.

Even if in many cases someone does not get what he deserves, you feel you’ve accomplished your aims with SACRIFICE all these years? What’s the next step? What’s the driving force, too?
I feel like we have accomplished something with SACRIFICE. We are perfectly comfortable being underground and occupying our small place in the Metal world.Our driving force is purely because we love doing this, and it is great for the four of us to be together making Metal. What is the next step? I have no idea, but as long as we are having fun doing this, we will at least continue to take steps.

Rob, thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview. Really hope we’ll have the chance to see SACRIFICE on European soil some time in the future; you know, I guess, Europe has always been a good shelter for Metal bands from the American continent.
Thanks to you too for the interview Greg. I really hope that we will be on European soil this year! Thanks for your support.


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Edited 28 January 2023

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