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Sacred Reich's Joey Radziwill: "There were some harmony ideas I just kind of recorded and looked over at Phil to see him laughing at how awesome that just sounded. So my flare is definitely on the new album but the majority of riff ideas came from Phil."

Interview with Joey Radziwill from Sacred Reich
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 22 August 2019, 4:59 PM

Looking at their back catalog, Sacred Reich have been out cold for more than two decades. However, they were always there, as if waiting for the right time to stick their head out, gradually reforming until there are complete, ready to head back to Thrash their way into recognition. And so they did. Sacred Reich released "Awakening", returning to Metal Blade Records, and there is a whole lot of positivity for everyone. Steinmetal had a talk with the band's latest recruit, stellar guitarist, Joey Radziwill, about joining a band after being a fan, "Awakening", Metal and future plans.

Hello Joey, this is an impeccable honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. How have you been doing mate?

I’ve been doing great! Thanks for asking!

Let’s get to know you a bit. How long have you been playing? Your influences as a guitarist? Your future vision as a guitar player in a band?

It all started on the drums for me. My dad is a drummer so there was always a kit around and I remember wanting to be a drummer when I was about 4 years old. I picked up the guitar around age 12, which at that time I had just discovered Andy LaRoque from King Diamond. He’s one of my favorites. Along with Randy Rhoads/Jake E Lee, Eddie Van Halen, James Murphy, Chuck Schuldiner and Wiley Arnett. I’ve always been a musician from as long as I can remember and there’s no changing that. This is what I want to do the rest of my life.

I guess it was bound to happen, Sacred Reich returning with fresh material after a little more than two decades, with “Heal” being your last offering before splitting up in 2000. Before we enter the borders of “Awakening”, let’s talk about the past a bit in order for the readers to fall in line. What happened back then in 2000 that closed a chapter for Sacred Reich? I know that you are a rather new member of the band, but I bet you heard the stories

I’m not really sure exactly what happened but I was just as stoked to hear that Sacred Reich is back at it! The universe works in mysterious ways.

How does it feel to join such an iconic band such as Sacred Reich? Have you heard about before you stepped up to the plate as guitarist?

I grew up listening to metal, so the earliest I remember hearing them was when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I have my parents to thank for that. It feels like a dream come true.

Any idea what happened with Sacred Reich’s ex-guitarist Rainey, which let to your recruitment?

I’m not too sure what was going on. But you could tell something was a little off with Jason, like a disconnection from the band. Despite all of that, Jason and I really got along during the demoing process of the new album. He even told me that he’s really happy for me after all of this happened. I can’t help but honor his legacy by playing old B.C. Rich guitars and killing it every night like he did back in the day.

Did you have an influence, a contribution, for the band’s songwriting for “Awakening”?

It’s funny how it all worked. Phil would have a smile on his face and some awesome riffs stored in his phone. My dad would record the drums in our studio with Phil’s scratch guitar and then Phil would hand me the guitar to track on the song. We’d walk out of the studio in a couple hours with a full song including the vocals. That was our process. There were some harmony ideas I just kind of recorded and looked over at Phil to see him laughing at how awesome that just sounded. So my flare is definitely on the new album but the majority of riff ideas came from Phil.

One of the things that I have always admired about late 80s Thrash Metal, in particular Sacred Reich, is the fact that most bands weren’t afraid to speak their mind, some even in more provocative ways. Since the inception of “Ignorance” Sacred Reich raised up aspects of our bleak reality, and now, we are coming closer to a melting point, whether in America, Europe, nearly everywhere. With that said, what are the band’s standpoints on “Awakening”? Is that yet another slap in the face like the earlier albums or something stronger?

“Awakening” is all about positivity. It’s about removing the wall and having us come together to celebrate the beauty in life. Each song has different interpretations, all being very positive and inspiring.

Musically, I find “Awakening” as an upgraded effort, in comparison to “Heal” or “The American Ways”. Certainly, it is not a full blown back to the roots kind of an album, yet I sense that it is Sacred Reich’s way to remain true to its musical identity. Am I in the right direction here? What is your viewpoint on the direction of the music on “Awakening”?

The music reminds me of a mixture between Ignorance and Independent. You put the album on and you know right away that this is Sacred Reich.

 “Manifest Reality” is one of your stronger numbers in my bill on “Awakening”. Since I have been a fan of your first two albums mainly, it has that spiritual youth of Thrash Metal badassery. However, I am positive that it shares an eye opening message. What can you tell about it? Also the video is quite provocative

"Manifest Reality" is my favorite track on the album. The lyrics are extremely positive while the music is mean and heavy! The message is that we can’t just change the world, instead we have to BE the change in the world.

 What do you find as the strong points in "Manifest Reality"?

The intro alone gets the pit going with the eerie atmosphere and heavy groove. The positive message behind the song inspires the listener while being mesmerized by the riffs and leads. That’s why I love this song.

Soundwise, “Awakening” sounds first class. What is your appreciation of the album’s sound and the crew that worked on it to make it happen?

John Aquilino and Arthur Rizk did a fantastic job working in the studio. We were going for that old school sound, which makes this album sound like Sacred Reich and not some other band. The sound has such a natural tone and vibe to it, which allows us to portray our personality in our playing and you really hear it. I couldn’t thank John and Arthur enough for being so awesome to work with.

 Since the beginning of the new millennium, there is a been a revival in Traditional Metal in overall, and in Thrash Metal in particular. Have you witnessed that second wave of Thrash Metal, as it has been called? Do you feel that Sacred Reich’s return as some part with old school Thrash Metal’s process of revival? In general, do you believe that there is such a revival?

Metal will never die out. It’s amazing to see old bands come back like Vio-Lence, Exhorder and Demolition Hammer. There are so many amazing newer bands that have their own unique sound while also paying homage to their influences like Skeletal Remains, Dust Bolt, Power Trip, Iron Reagan and Condition Critical. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for metal.

 To what bands have you been listening to recently? Any newcomers that you can crown as the next thing in line to watch for?

Recently I’ve been listening to Demolition Hammer, Death, King Diamond, VIO-LENCE, Malevolent Creation, Sepultura, Napalm Death, Pestilence and Morgoth. I love the old school metal. Lookout for bands like Skeletal Remains, Condition Critical, Dust Bolt, Iron Reagan, Power Trip, Gatecreeper, Eternal Champion, Brain Dead, Warhead, Intent, Saintbreaker, Insinnerator, Aggravator, Rezet, Against The Grain, Night Demon and Toxic Holocaust! These bands rule!

 You recently concluded a European Tour to promote “Awakening”, how was the feeling of touring that Metal infested continent? How were you received by the attendees on the festivals / shows?

Europe is totally Metal!!! Everyone is super appreciative towards all of the bands. It’s so cool to meet both old and new fans of Sacred Reich. It’s really cool because we don’t just play shows for the people that show up, instead we are all together as one enjoying the show with each other. Europe is truly beautiful and I look forward to going back!

 So what is next for you guys at Sacred Reich?

We leave for our next US tour in direct support with GWAR along with Toxic Holocaust and Against The Grain in September! It’s going to be a blast! Right after we get off that tour in November, we fly out to Europe for the next couple of months with Night Demon on the "Awakening" European Tour. I cannot wait! 2020 is looking amazing as well including Australia/New Zealand with Vio-Lence and South America with D.R.I. Much more in the books!

 Joey, I wish to thank you for this interview. I really dig what I listened to in “Awakening” and hope for the best for you guys. Cheers mate.

Cheers! I had a lot of fun answering your awesome questions! Thank you!



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