at: 23th, January 2017
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!
Michael! Please tell us about the foundation, the
development and the releases of Attacker first!
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”.
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
you played in other bands before Attacker?
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.
bands are your main influences? And have those influences
ever changed through all the years?
would say Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Accept,
Anvil, Riot, Saxon, probably any and all great heavy metal.
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!
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?
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.
did you get your record deal with Metal Blade Records back
had recorded a 3-song demo and sent it to a bunch of
magazines and fanzines as well as some labels.
response was great and we received a contract for “Metal
Massacre V”. That led to the full album contract for
“Battle at Helms Deep”.
“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?
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
band split up one year after the second album “The Second
Coming”. What were the reasons back then?
metal scene was being dominated by thrash and we were not
making the impression we were hoping to make.
felt it was time to put Attacker to rest and do something
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?
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.
were the reasons for the reunion of Attacker in 2001?
came about after the passing of original guitarist Jim
Mooney. Lou Ciarlo had suggested it after Jim’s funeral.
decided to record what would become “Soul Taker” and
dedicated it to Jim.
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?
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
strange that you as a drummer are the only remaining
original member of the band. How do you teach new members
what to do?
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.
one does their job and that makes my job very easy!!
2008, original singer Bob Mitchell left the band
unfortunately. What were the reasons for that? And are you
still in contact with him?
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
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?
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!
2013, you have a record deal with Metal On Metal Records
from Poland. How did you get in contact with them?
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.
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?
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.
are Attacker still the same band for you after all those
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.
will we ever get the chance to see you live in Germany (or
in general) again?
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!!
US metal scene has loads of great bands! Are you in contact
with some of those bands? And which bands, old and new, can
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.
new bands I like are Legion who are from New Jersey and
Power Theory is a great band as well, Night Demon too.
are your future plans with Attacker? Can you tell us?
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
Michael! The last words are yours!
you for this opportunity and we hope to see all your readers´
faces at a show somewhere in 2017!!