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......::::ATTACKER (USA)::::......
Realized at: 23th, January 2017
By: Daniel Müller
 

Since I discovered underground US metal for me, I have always been a big fan of Attacker who just released a new album. As many readers know, I always try to get an original member for interviews because they know more about the band than later members; same thing here. Strangely enough, in Attacker it´s only drummer Michael Sabatini who is the sole survivor of the band. Here´s our chat! 

Hi Michael! Please tell us about the foundation, the development and the releases of Attacker first!

It has all been well documented. Started in 83’ as a cover band named Warloc. We had to change the name upon learning of the German Warlock and became Attacker, having already had the song, “(Call on) The Attacker” and did our first demo in 84’  that got us a spot on “Metal Massacre V”, followed by “Battle At Helms Deep” in 85’. 1988 saw the release of “The Second Coming”. We decided to put Attacker to rest after 1989, regrouped in 2001/2002 and released “Soul Taker” in 2004, followed by “The Unknown” in 2006. We took few years break and bounced back with 2013’s “Giants Of Canaan” and now up to the moment with the new one: “Sins Of The World”. We are ready to hit the stages of the world and do what we do best!! 

Have you played in other bands before Attacker? 

No, Attacker or Warloc as we were first called is the first band I ever played in. I had only started playing drums a year and half before forming the band. 

Which bands are your main influences? And have those influences ever changed through all the years? 

I would say Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Accept, Anvil, Riot, Saxon, probably any and all great heavy metal. I feel that anything we hear is an influence in some way. They are pretty much the same for me today. I love all those bands to this day! 

Your lyrics mostly deal with fantasy and history stuff. “Battle At Helm´s Deep” is obviously inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien´s “The Lord Of The Rings”. Which other books, authors or movies are good inspirations for lyrics? 

Too be quite honest, the Tolkien stuff was all Bob Mitchell. The lyrics I had written were definitely based more on movies, horror or disaster type movies. I haven´t written anything lyrically since doing so for the “Soul Taker” album. 

How did you get your record deal with Metal Blade Records back in 1984? 

We had recorded a 3-song demo and sent it to a bunch of magazines and fanzines as well as some labels. The response was great and we received a contract for “Metal Massacre V”. That led to the full album contract for “Battle at Helms Deep”. 

Today, “Battle At Helm´s Deep” is a well-known US metal classic. Did you take notice of that in the past already? Or has this developed over the years? 

We never thought it would achieve such a revered status back in those days. It was just our album that we had put out, we never could have imagined what it has meant to people around the world. 

The band split up one year after the second album “The Second Coming”. What were the reasons back then? 

The metal scene was being dominated by thrash and we were not making the impression we were hoping to make. We felt it was time to put Attacker to rest and do something different. 

What did you do between 1989 and 2001 when Attacker did not exist? Were you still active? And did you follow the metal scene at all? 

I had started another band, Jersey Dogs with Attacker bassist Lou Ciarlo. We released an EP and a full length album with that band. We did that until 1993 and I did take a few years break and didn’t really follow the underground scene until the late 90’s when I started getting the urge top play again. 

What were the reasons for the reunion of Attacker in 2001? 

That came about after the passing of original guitarist Jim Mooney. Lou Ciarlo had suggested it after Jim’s funeral. We decided to record what would become “Soul Taker” and dedicated it to Jim. 

Attacker don´t release albums regularly. Are Attacker a real band or just a fun project for in between? How much time do you really put into Attacker? 

We are definitely a real band, but with our jobs we have limited time to rehearse, write and play lots of shows. We do rehearse once a week and take it seriously as far as the music is concerned. But if it wasn’t fun, we would not be doing it.  

It´s strange that you as a drummer are the only remaining original member of the band. How do you teach new members what to do? 

I luckily don’t have to teach them anything. They have the albums to learn the older songs from and I just handle managing there bands affairs like bookings and such. Everyone one does their job and that makes my job very easy!! 

In 2008, original singer Bob Mitchell left the band unfortunately. What were the reasons for that? And are you still in contact with him?  

Contrary to what Mitchell said, he was let go by us. Interestingly enough, we had put out a statement through Sentinel Steel (our label at that time) the day before Mitchell put how his release which completely contradicted the facts. He was not being a team player and we felt he had to go. There are other things I won’t get into, but we had to make that decision. No, we don’t speak. I would talk to him, but he has not taken responsibility for his actions towards us and I don’t think his ego could had handle that. It is what it is. 

In 2012, singer Bobby Lucas joined Attacker. I know him from his ex-band Overlorde. Did you know Overlorde before too? Or how did it happen that he joined? 

I was well aware of Overlorde, having already known Mark Edwards who is also from New Jersey. While Overlorde was inactive, Mark actually suggested we ask Bobby to sing for us. We had Bobby come down and audition and the rest is history. We have been rocking along ever since! 

Since 2013, you have a record deal with Metal On Metal Records from Poland. How did you get in contact with them? 

Jowita, who is one of the owners, had done the last few album covers for us. She is a fantastic artist and when she approached us about her label, we figured why not since we already have an excellent working relationship. It is a pleasure to work with Metal On Metal. 

In 2016, guitarist Pat Marinelli who was also a permanent member from 1984 to 1989 and from 2001 to 2016, left Attacker. Why? And did you have to ask him for permission to use the name of Attacker further on? 

Pat told us at the start of the recording of the new album that he had decided to leave. He has his personal reasons that I won’t get into. He had things going on in his life and that affected his time with the band. Regarding the name, no, we did not have to ask permission as I own the name and trademark having started the band. We had a good run with Pat, but we love what we do and had to continue. 

Why are Attacker still the same band for you after all those line-up changes? 

It’s the music that a band creates, not necessarily the members. We have had members pass away, some have left on their own and some had to be let go, but the spirit of Attacker lives on in the current line-up. We have always found a way to remain Attacker in style though we have had different writers in the band. 

When will we ever get the chance to see you live in Germany (or in general) again? 

Yes, we will be performing at the 2017 edition of Headbangers Open Air this July outside of Hamburg. We are very excited to return once again!! 

The US metal scene has loads of great bands! Are you in contact with some of those bands? And which bands, old and new, can you recommend? 

I am friends with Liege Lord, Blood Feast and Whiplash to name a few. I still speak to many of our musical peers such as Joe Dibiase, Fates Warning’s original bassist. Way too many to name. Some new bands I like are Legion who are from New Jersey and Power Theory is a great band as well, Night Demon too. 

What are your future plans with Attacker? Can you tell us? 

We want to play as much as we can and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Festivals are always the best way for us to get new fans and we hope to add many more this coming year and beyond. 

Okay, Michael! The last words are yours! 

Thank you for this opportunity and we hope to see all your readers´ faces at a show somewhere in 2017!! 

https://www.facebook.com/AttackerBand 

Author: Daniel Müller

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