Originally published in ‘zine issue #1, 1991
Sacrifice from Toronto, Canada, has been around for years and has recently put out its third album, called Soldiers of Misfortune. Out on Metal Blade Records in the States, it is a different album as opposed to the last album, Forward to Termination, or the first album, Torment in Fire. Sacrifice started out as total death metal.
Supporting the new album, Scott Watts, the bassist for the band, was doing phone interviews in April 1990, and he called me up. One of the first things he asked was whether I liked Soldiers or not. At a few points, I wondered who was conducting the interview!
“I think it’s pretty cool, yeah,” I answered to his question. “It’s on a different, like, level than the last one.”
“Do you think it’s for the better?” Scott wanted to know.
“Well, I’m mostly like a death head, you know? And I think it’s got less of, y’know, that whole death metal tone than the last one did.”
“Yeah, we’re not really into the death metal scene anymore,” Scott concurred.
“Yeah, I think you’ve been toning it down ever since Torment, you know? ‘Cause the first one had, like—”
“Yeah, it was pretty growly lyrics,” Scott said.
“And then I think Forward was more of a gothic type thing.”
“Yeah,” Scott agreed. “Do you think it still compares with the other thrash bands?”
“That’s cool. We’re kinda out of that [death] scene. I don’t really like that anymore,” Scott said, and went on to explain how the lyrics on the new album compare to the other albums.
“They’re not death metal lyrics, I’ll tell ya. [laugh] Now they’re more, like, socially aware and stuff. Rob [Urbinati, guitar/vocals] writes all our lyrics, so whatever he reads in the paper or sees on TV, or even a movie, he’ll write about. That’s basically what everything’s about, except for one of the tunes called ‘In Defiance.’ That’s a basic ‘fuck you’ song with all the people that screwed us over in the past.”
I asked, “Do you think that people will accuse you of selling out?” to which Scott replied, “Well, I hope not. As far as I know, everyone’s liked the new album so far. I’ve heard some comments saying that, ‘Oh, you guys aren’t [death metal anymore].’ But I’m glad to hear that.”
“I think the music is still the same, but that death metal feel isn’t there, like I said,” I commented.
“Do you like that song ‘Truth,’ that 10-minute-long one?” Scott asked about the new album.
“Yeah, it’s got that really mellow acoustic thing at the end. That freaked me out when I first heard it.”
“That’s cool. [laughs] Yeah, we wanted to end off that song differently.”
I said, “Actually, I thought it was gonna be something like ‘Flames of Armageddon’ off the second album, because it was so long.”
“Yeah, that was the idea,” Scott explained, “to have something like ‘Flames’ but longer.”
Next, Scott talked about Gus Pynn, who played drums on all the Sacrifice albums but recently departed. “Well, he’s getting married this year so he kinda had to quit, ‘cause he needed a steady income and stuff. He really didn’t wanna wait around, ‘cause he wanted everything now, like a house and a car and stuff like that.
“But our new drummer [is] Mike Rosenthal. Even though Gus is a really good drummer, Mike’s better. Like, he adds more to what Gus’s songs were. He can play exactly how Gus plays, but he’s more diverse. He can play everything, which is good.
“When Gus quit, we had shows coming up. So we asked him to just fill in, and then he got to like it. And he asked Joe [Rico, guitar] and me if he could stay with us, and then we said, ‘Sure.’”
In between the last album and the new one, there was a wait of, like, four years or so. I asked if that hurt the band and if it lost fans that way.
“I guess maybe, yeah. I think so. There is some, but once they hear [our] album again, I think they’ll get back into it. ‘Cause once we get into the scene circuit again, I think we can do good again.”
Scott talked about the band’s success in Canada as opposed to the U.S. “In Canada we’re pretty good, ‘cause we played all of Canada twice, and we always get a good scene. But we have two videos out now, right? We have one for ‘Soldiers of Misfortune,’ and ‘Re-Animation’ off of Forward. And we get played a lot on MuchMusic, which is the Canadian MTV, so that definitely helps. So if we had that in the States, I’m sure we could do half decent.”
Next we got a bit political as Scott explained what happened about Canada breaking up last year. “No, that’s not gonna [pause] well, I dunno if that’s gonna happen. I know it’s still going around in the newspaper, but I think they’re not gonna separate. It’s weird ‘cause I don’t know what Quebec’s like. They’re so weird. I’m from Ontario, Toronto, and Quebec’s a totally different culture. When you go there, you can just tell the way it is, ‘cause they all speak French.”
“I read about how they made all the street signs French so Americans can’t read it.”
“Yeah, exactly,” Scott agreed. “Americans go there and they’re, like, from Virginia or Texas, and they go to Quebec City and they’ll be totally lost. ‘Cause in some places in Quebec, they can speak English but they won’t speak English to you, ‘cause they don’t like it. But they’ll just ignore you. That’s how it is in some places. But Montreal’s pretty good. They’ll talk to you in English and French.
“Did you ever hear about the thing with the Indians?” Scott asked of me.
“When they had a fight over their land with some business developers?”
“Yeah, they lost that. They were gonna turn their burial ground into a golf course. It’s really stupid. It’s pretty heavy. There was gonna be a total-out war there. It was pretty close to it, ‘cause the Indians were ready to die for it. It was pretty bad, especially over a golf course! Like, have respect. They were the first ones here. I’m totally for the Indians.”
I asked then if Sacrifice tunes its guitars to D sharp, and why the band tuned to that note in particular.
“Well, E flat, same thing. I dunno. It’s just like, it’s not as low as D [natural] and it’s not [pause] I guess it just turned out that way. ‘Cause it is kind of a heavier sound than E [natural]. I don’t mind tuning to D, but I wouldn’t wanna always be tuned to D. We always talked about doing a D-tuned song.”
At this point I ran out of questions, so Scott made his last comments.
“Come see us. Please buy the new CD and tape. Just see what we are to see if you really like it or not. Come check us out live. You’ll like it.” ■