Sacrifice are a kickass thrash metal band from Toronto, Canada. They released their debut album “Torment in Fire” in 1985 and went on to release 3 more albums “Forward To Termination”,“Soldiers of Misfortune” and “Apocalypse Inside”. They broke up in 1993 soon after releasing their 4th album. They got back together for a one night only performance in 2006 for the “Day of the Equinox 2” festival in Toronto. Below is an interview I did with vocalist/guitarist Rob Urbinati in 2007.
Since the interview they have released another album “The Ones I Condemn” in 2009 and have been playing festivals around the world, “True Thrash Festival” in Osaka, Japan most recently.
How did it feel to be back on stage with your mates kicking some ass at the “Day of the Equinox”?
Rob: It was definitely an incredible feeling. Just to have the four of us in a room rehearsing for a week was great…it has been a really long time since we’ve all been together. We were really young when the band first started, so we were kind of grew up like brothers. To be onstage again, the reaction we received at the show and the confidence that we displayed that night to destroy made it a night that I will NEVER forget. We never really talked about it, but I think we needed to prove that Sacrifice is more than relevant in today’s scene of “nu-thrash”.
Is there any chance of you guys getting back together?? Releasing a new album? Touring?
Rob: All of us are working on new material, other than that we have no other plans.
I’ve heard that your set at the “Day of the Equinox” was video-taped. Any plans to release the footage on DVD?
Rob: Yes it will be released at some point.
After you guys broke up did you think that 4 of you would get back together to play a show again? That you material would be re-released and enjoyed by a new generation of metalheads?
Rob: It blows me away when I meet younger Sacrifice fans, in many cases weren’t even born when our first album came out. Even the fans that are old enough to have enjoyed our music or live shows back then, that our music still holds something for them. I had no idea then, that in 2007, people would still be interested in our material. One thing about Sacrifice, is we love to be able to be in contact with fans now. In the 80’s there was no internet obviously…so we enjoy just answering questions, or whatever on our website, forum, or myspace.
What have you guys been up to since you broke up?? Doing something related to music or in other fields??
Rob: I’d been active musically in Interzone, and Waramp. I also just jam with friends, and write a lot at home.
Marquee Records has done an awesome job with re-releases of you first three albums. How did the deal come about? Is the deal for 3 releases only? Are they going to release your 4th album also?
Rob: I can’t say for sure right now, but yes they have done a phenomenal job on the reissues.
What were your influences growing up?? Musical and non-musical?
Rob: I think everyone into metal feels somewhat alienated, and that draws them to the music. My older brothers were all into heavier 70’s rock that was a huge influence. I grew up pretty gifted in school and that all went out the window when I started playing guitar. Musically, my earliest memories of influence were my brothers Alice Cooper albums, and the song Hocus Pocus by Focus. Later I discovered Kiss and Sabbath, which led to Maiden, Priest, and ultimately to Venom, Mercyful Fate, Anvil, etc.
What were your visions/goals when you first started the band?
Rob: To play Larry’s Hideaway and be the fastest, heaviest band we could be. We were extremely short-sighted. Reality happened faster than thinking of our goals.
Your video for the track “Re-animation “used to air frequently on Television. Tell me about the video.
Rob: Fringe Records suggested we do a video, we figured at best it would get played once. A guy that worked for Musique Plus(Quebec Much Music), John Zytaruk offered to do it. Originally, the location was supposed to be a church, but that fell apart at the last minute so we cleared out our producer Brian Taylor’s loft apartment which had a huge main room, and we did it there. That song pumped out really loud through the P.A. all day and I can only imagine what the neighbours thought. The end result was a lot different than the flashy, over produced videos at the time…it looked raw, black and white. It looked underground. We were extremely shocked by the response, having it in rotation, the song being used for the metal show intro…I think a lot of Canadian metal fans felt pride to see a thrash band from home on the telly. John Zytaruk became good friends with us and it was great for all of Sacrifice to see him at our reunion show. It’s funny to hear people now say “It looks like the Metallica video for One”, because John kind of pioneered that look. Ours was out way before Metallica even considered making a video. People used to say theirs looked like “Reanimation”.
How was the scene in Toronto in the 80’s and early 90’s??
Rob: Anyone that was there says it will never happen again. The metal and punk scene was very close. Thrash broke that barrier, I remember the first few hardcore shows Joe and I went to, we were the only ones there with long hair. People looked at us funny, asked what we were doing there…pretty much all the local bands were glam and we were more interested to see Direct Action than Helix or whatever. Eventually more thrash bands started and a great scene started from Slaughter and Sacrifice. When an underground band came to town, it was an event that EVERYONE went to, because there weren’t many bands especially that toured.
Were there any fanzines in Toronto at that time?? Tell me about them.
Rob: Lots of fanzines. I can’t really remember many names.
Were there any metal shows on radio/college radio?
Rob: Aggressive Rock on CKLN 88.1. Brian Taylor’ show was the highlight of everyone’s week. I know people that still have cassettes of his shows.
Tell me about the tape-trading scene then. Which is the furthest place from Toronto that your tapes reached?
Rob: Everywhere really. Asia, South America…I think the weird thing for us was to get mail from the old eastern bloc countries. We were all raised to believe that the communist countries had absolutely no freedom, had no access to music, etc…but we received tons of mail from Poland, Czechoslovakia, U.S.S.R.
You play quite a few shows at Larry’s Hideaway. Tell me about that place.
Rob: I’ve played in a lot of bars. Nothing was like that place. It was filthy,disgusting whores, junkies living in cockroach ridden rooms upstairs, but the bar had the best sound system in the city and was the most metal place I have ever been in. Great bands played there, Slayer, Exodus, Discharge, G.B.H., Mercyful Fate, Anvil.It is a shame that it was destroyed. I still remember the guy’s name who booked our first show there, Fred Chagpar.
Do you keep a track on the Toronto scene now?? What are your thoughts on it?
Rob: The scene now is probably bigger than it ever has been. The local bands are great. It has been so long though, since a band has come out of Toronto that has really broken out worldwide.
What songs/songs do you feel can be described as a “Sacrifice” song?
Rob: The 5 songs that I think best define us (for me) are Reanimation, Flames Of Armageddon, Burned At The Stake, In Defiance and The Entity.
Which album would you recommend to someone who has never heard of Sacrifice before?
Rob: Forward to Termination.
Rob, you feature on the latest Sigh album “Hangman’s Hymn”, you play a solo on their song “Dies Irae/The Master Malice” how did that come about?
Rob: I met Mirai and Shinichi here at Day of the Equinox. I’ve kept in touch with Mirai a bit, he asked if I would do a solo and of course I did. The album is awesome.
You have shared the stage with various bands like King Diamond, Megadeth, Voivod, Motorhead and many more in various cities of North America. Which was your favorite city to perform in?
Rob: Toronto and Detroit were my favorites, but everywhere was great except Lawrence, Kansas.
You played quite a few shows with Razor and Slaughter, did you guys ever hang out to together,get drunk etc??? Do you keep in touch with them? When was the last time you saw them?
Rob: Yeah, we had a lot of fun with both bands. We kind of grew up with the Slaughter guys and we still keep in touch a bit, mainly through email. Razor, we also have a lot of history with and probably my most memorable tour was with them across our massive country of Canada.
I noticed you thanked Molson beer in the Special thanks on the “Soldiers of Misfortune” album. Having surely had many, many beers (different types I hope) since, do you still like Molson Beer?
Rob: I can’t stand Molsons now unless it’s free
I’m pretty much Guinness in the winter and Corona in the summer. I like a lot of different beers, but funny enough, few are Canadian.
If you had to do things all over again, would you do anything differently?
Rob: No. We never really cared about being rich or famous. I’m satisfied with what we accomplished. People think that when you are in a band, your ambition is to be a rock star. We just wanted to play punishing music. Everything else was a bonus.
That’s about it. Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words or comments?
Rob: Just a big thank you to all the people who have supported us over the years and everyone who has recently discovered SacrificE.
And thanks for the interview!!