ATTACKER is one of the big names of the US Power Metal, but this is not just a matter of the past, their new album Sins of the World is the best proof that Attacker’s spirit and sound is more alive than ever. And to put the cherry on top of it we will have several chances to see them playing live in Europe in 2017. To know more you just need to read what founding member Mike has told us. Enjoy it.
Hello Mike! Attacker is one the legendary bands of the US Power Metal, you are the only founding member right now but the band still sounds great and that ain’t easy after so many years
We have had several different line-ups throughout our history but we have been lucky enough to have some good songwriters come in as we changed members, and that has helped us keep the band strong. Being the only original guy now does have it’s impact as far as fans are concerned regarding having the band be as original member wise as possible but this is the only way we can exist at this time. We are still Attacker no matter how you look at it, we have a great line-up and sound better now that we ever have!!
Attacker was born in 1983, what memories do you keep of those crazy years, the amazing 80s?
It was a fun amazing time to be part of the whole metal movement as it began to grow. There were so many places and opportunities to play compared to how it is now. We played great shows with bands like Saxon, Motorhead, Metal Church, Savatage, Fates Warning and Overkill to name a few. We just wish we could have toured more and visited other countries back then.
Awesome. So many years later, it seems the business is so hard as ever but more under control, more programmed, what do you think?
The music business is nothing like it used be. Many big bands don’t sell a fraction of what they used to sell back in the 80’s and even 90’s. Today bands make money from the shows they play and selling their merchandise. Record sales add very little these days. Labels no longer give good budgets to record if they give any budgets at all or tour support. Bands have to really be self-sufficient these days and help themselves if they are to survive.
Yes, that is the raw reality everywhere. What can you tell us about the new guys on board? How do you feel with Attacker’s current line-up?
Well, we have Brian Smith on bass who replaced Jon Hanemann who decided to move out of our state of New Jersey. We also have Jon Hasselbrink on guitar now who took over for Pat Marinelli who informed us he was leaving at the start of the new album’s recording. This is in my opinion the overall best line-up we have had musically and we could not be happier about it. Sometimes having a band with all original members does not mean it’s the best that it can be and we are proof of that.
It something defines Attacker’s career is the quality and high level of all your albums
Thank you, we have always strived to be the best band that we can be as we wrote and recorded each album. It can be very hard when you are trying to live up to a legacy of music that fans love and want to hear more material like that. Bands grow as time goes on and you can’t always stay sounding exactly the same. I do think we have kept a certain Attacker essence in each album and never really changed too drastically to have fans question that we were doing.
Indeed, a great balance. Sins of the World is your sixth album and a great album it is, the same as Giants of Canaan (2013) was. It is not easy to keep the feeling and the cool compositions album after album, where is the trick?
Sins is actually our 6th album and I am happy you like what your are hearing from it! When we got back with our Soul Taker album in 2004, we were still finding our way back to the type of metal we had done in the 80’s. Even on the The Unknown album we made further progress in getting back to form, but it was on the Canaan album that we really found out stride and were back to where we wanted to be. The trick is honing your craft and finding a musical groove that you can continuously build upon album after album.
So many bands try to catch that vibe from the 80s, and many sound good but only a few sound so real as bands as Attacker, Metal Church, Helstar, etc. I think that is one of the assets you have never lost and I guess the fans really appreciate it
Absolutely, there are many of our peers putting records out today but they do not seem to be able to capture the magic again, while others have been fortunate in this respect. The fans definitely appreciate that from us.
Mike, in your opinion, which one of your classic albums has been more important to put Attacker among the top class bands of US heavy metal?
I would say Battle at Helms Deep. That album was released at the right time and on good labels here and in Europe. It really has been the strongest album sales wise for us over the years. The Second Coming did not enjoy the good distribution that Battle did. People still love Battle at Helms Deep, it holds a place in their metal hearts’ from back in the day.
Giants of Canaan was your first album in seven years, after The Unknown. However, Sins of the World is released only 3 years after your previous work, it seems the band is working very fluently and full of ideas right now, right?
We had taken a several year break within the band due to some personal issues and also not having a singer and needing to find one. Now we are a fully functioning band again since Canaan and are able to work on new stuff, obviously around our regular jobs, but we do the best we can with what time we do have available. Not doing this type of thing for a living, you need to make the time but we think we do pretty good. We also believe in not rushing to do a new album, the songs need to grow and mature before heading into the recording studio.
How long have you worked on Sins of the World?
Sins took us about 2 years of writing and rehearsing to get it where we felt we were ready to unleash it.
Sins of the World is an album with a classic sound from beginning to the end, speed metal, power metal and epic metal in a perfect set of songs
I could not agree more, it has a little bit of everything in it but is still classic Attacker through and through and we hope all the fans feel the same way as we do. We are extremely happy with this album.
However there are some songs that are slightly different to the common type of Attacker’s repertoire, I would say World Destroyer and Archangel are songs with a darker approach, and it works out!
This album is definitely more aggressive musically and darker lyrically as it deals with what man has done to the planet and each other and has the Alien theme tied in as to what may happen in the future, hence the song World Destroyer. The world is not in very good shape these days, it is a very ugly place and that is reflected on this album.
We also get a slow song, a ballad we could name it, with By the Will of Crom. You have always been a band for speed and powerful tunes, but it sounds good anyway, how did you decide to try it?
That is something that Mike B. and Bobby came up with, it is actually more of an intro to Where the Serpent Lies and it sets the mood as it transitions into Serpent. Sometimes you have to do things a bit different to keep the band fresh and relevant in these times.
Mike, you have done a great work on drums, but we counted with that already hahaha, so I would like to remark the great work of Bobby Lucas on vocals, the guy was already on the previous album, it was clear that he had to continue on board, right?
Why thank you for that compliment, I always give my best effort! Bobby has been a great addition to Attacker. He is for sure one of the premier Metal vocalists today. His kind of style of singing is not an easy thing to find these days and we are lucky to have in the Attacker family.
What are the lyrics about in this Sins of the World?
The lyrics deal with subjects such as Man’s sins towards other men, the end of the world coming by the planet Nibiru crashing into earth, Rising up against the powers that be, A mythical creature of Asian origin with Garuda, and then to Where the Serpent Lies which is based on the movie ‘Conan the Barbarian’ among other topics fans can read about when they buy the new album!!
The cover art is great, the same as the production, are the guys of Metal on Metal Records going to release some special edition or maybe some reissue of your old classics?
As of now no special edition of this album. We will have it coming out on Vinyl early in 2017. We have talked about releasing Soul Taker on vinyl since it is the only Attacker album not on vinyl. The band still has stock of our classic first 2 albums on the Sentinel Steel label as all rights have reverted back to the band, but they will run out soon and there could be new re-issues if need be.
Time to talk about gigs. Any dates already scheduled for next year? Are we going to see you across Europe?
We currently are booked to play the Pounding Metal Fest in Madrid, Spain in early May, the Up the Hammers Fest in Greece on late May and the Headbangers Open Air near Hamburg, Germany in late July. We also have our CD release show in our home state of New Jersey on January 14th, 2017 as well as the Rage of Armageddon fest April 7th in Brooklyn NY and The Milwaukee Spring Bash Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 22nd. As offers come we will be adding more dates as well.
Not bad at all, and we will have you in Madrid next year! What gig has been more important or relevant in your career, something you will never forget?
I would say the 2004 Keep it True fest in Germany since it was our first ever time in Europe and the reception we received was nothing less that amazing to us. We had the experience of a lifetime and it opened the door to Europe for Attacker.
Is there something you regret doing or not doing with Attacker?
Yes, we should have stayed with Metal Blade Records back in the 80’s, we were foolish kids thinking we were entitled to more than we got. I do regret not having played in Europe back in the 80’s, that would have been a great experience when metal was at it’s most popular.
Mike, how do you see the metal scene nowadays?
It’s not too bad but I feel that’s bands cannot play too much in their own area and have to make their shows a special event maybe once to twice a year. If you have the ability to tour, that can be good but playing on weeknights can be hard to get people to the clubs due to fans having to work during the week. For us, festivals offer the best situation. We play to larger crowds and make a holiday of the trip by staying a few extra days to wherever we visit. That has worked for us and will continue to be our way of doing things, unless I win millions of dollars in the Lottery!!
Hahaha that would be great. The band is walking towards its forty years of history, how would you like to celebrate those four decades in the future?
That’s a good question and I am not sure just yet what we can do or can be done but I am sure that we will come up with something very special to commemorate this milestone.
Thank you very much Mike, if you wish to add something
Thanks to the fans who motivate us to get going and to Metalbrothers for taking the time to listen to what Attacker has to say!! Cheers and see you in Europe next year!!