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Sacrificial Blood 

Sacrificial Blood are a killer old school death/thrash band from NJ and I recently got in touch with drummer/singer Mike Keller for an interview and if your in to old school thrash, you better add this band to your collection asap.

MC: The usual boring question. How did the band form and did you go through many line-ups to get to the current one? Did any of you play in any other bands?


MK: I started the band in early 2003, the lineup has changed ridiculously over the years. There's so few people in this area that A. are into good metal and B. not just some assholes going through a phase, that it's been very hard to keep a consistent lineup. The first one lasted long enough to record the first demo, unfortunately one member was a junkie and the other one just couldn't commit himself full time. The second lineup was slightly more stable, but once again one of the members turned out to be a crackhead. So we stayed a three piece after that and that was when things really started to take off, then our old guitarist got out of the metal phase and started flaking off and we had to go on hiatus until we found a replacement which we had to get from Philly (Spencer) because there was no one else in this area left for us to jam with. However, this new lineup is far superior to any of the old ones, and it's been nothing but positive ever since. I have been playing in Metal and Punk bands on the local scene since I was 14. My first band was in middle school, a totally raw and primitive Death Metal band called Aneurysm. By the mid 90's though, the Death Metal scene in Monmouth County had died out completely, mix that with my disgust of everything that was coming out back then led me to start playing in Punk bands for a few years, then that got more trendy and gay than anything beyond my wildest dreams, so I just jammed with friends and stuff for a few years before I got this going. Ian and I also have a Thrash/Crossover band called A.S.D. that we do, and Spencer jams with a couple different bands as well. (Crucifier most notably, and another one but the name escapes me at the moment)

MC: How long has the band been together and do you have any goals for the band?


MK: 4+ years we've been doing this. Goals would be to take it as far as we possibly can. I've committed my life to music and Metal in particular, and I'd like to see us up there competing with the big names. If it doesn't happen though, I'll keep doing it as long as there's people who are willing to do it....

MC: Tell me a bit about each of your releases so far and this new split CD that you have out.


MK: The first demo "Chaotic Compulsion" was recorded after a week of jamming, pretty much just to get something out there to the people I was corresponding with. Listening back to it now, it's almost embarrassing. I knew what I wanted to do, but I don't think the other guys in the band at the time really did. The second demo "Toxic Zombies" was a little closer to what I thought the band should be like, but even still was lacking I think. We then did a split cassette with a young band from this area called Demonic Mortuary but that was merely rehearsals, the sound quality was raw as fuck and we were definitely going in a more Death Metal direction than the previous demos, but that was more a reaction against the Retro-Thrash trend that had started to really kick up at that point. The split CD with Zombie from California was recorded in January 2006, we booted our old guitarist out after that because he had really started to flake off at that point, the recording came out as well as it could've, but it still fell short of the expectations I had for it. But people seem to like it and that makes me happy. We just recorded a bunch of songs in April for some 7"s and comps, and hopefully to score a deal with a bigger label as well.....

MC: Who put the split out and what do you think of the other band on it. I think the split crushes.


MK: Rusty Axe records from Virginia put out both the splits we've done, and they will be putting out the 7"s as well. He is cool as hell, and has been a fan and supporter since the first demo. I'm glad you like the split, like I said though I think it could've been better. The new recordings bury anything we've done in the past I think. I thought Zombie were a killer band, one of the few Retro-Thrash bands that I thought were really good. Unfortunately they split up before the CD was even released.....

MC: What are you thoughts on the scene today and do you get to play live much?


MK: I have a mixed opinion on it really. I think it's cool that people are getting over all the retarded Black Metal and boring Death Metal that has corroded the underground for the past decade or so, but at the same time the bands that are playing this old school style that are really gaining popularity I think are very unoriginal, some of them pure plagiarists. Ultimately though, I'll support anyone who supports us, that's the way it's supposed to work, sticking together and helping each other out. We play in Philly alot, mostly because it's the only place that seems to have fully accepted us. In New York you kind of have to impress those people to get in, and Jersey, our area in particular, is pretty much a wasteland for any kind of good Metal. I'd like to play in other places, the opportunity just hasn't really come yet.

MC: I know you live up in North Jersey. Are there many places to play and are there many records stores where you can find your fix of metal?


MK: We're more on the shore. Central Jersey I guess. As I said above there's nothing in our area, we played a couple house parties and one club show at Connections in North Jersey, but these were like 2-3 years ago. As far as stores go, there's Vintage Vinyl of course, and there's a store here called Zig Zag that has great vinyl, but don't go in there without like 50 bucks at least because he overcharges on alot of shit. I guess like anyone else, we get our shit off the internet and through underground distros mostly....

MC: Do you have a web site? If so what is the url and what will people find when they get there?


MK: We used to have a website, but unfortunately the computer that all the information was saved on got infected with like countless viruses and we had to shut it down. We're on myspace of course, haha. the url for that is http://www.myspace.com/sacrificialblood we got a full bio up there, and I posted all new songs from the recording session in April. And you know the typical myspace band page shit, ha....

MC: Do you think your an original band and what do you think you sound like?


MK: That is a double sided question. Playing a style of Metal that's well over 20 years old at this point will make at least one person say you're unoriginal, but I don't think we sound like any band in particular. We definitely have our influences, but I don't think you can say we're a straight rip off of anyone. I think we're somewhere between Massacre, Deceased, Autopsy, Voivod, Hallows Eve, Bulldozer, and Prime Evil. Which is a wide variety of bands when you actually think about it.....

MC: What are some of your favorite bands and what has been some of the best shows you have been too?


MK: Shit I got so many favorite bands man, I'm into like almost all styles of old Metal, we love all the Death and Thrash bands like the ones mentioned in the last question, and we're also huge fans of the NWOBHM, and all the bands from that era. We also love the classic bands like Sabbath, Priest, Rainbow, and so on, obviously big Punk fans as well, and we all like random other stuff too. Some of the best shows I've seen recently have been Piledriver in New York last November, Hallows Eve last year (for having a completely different lineup they were still impressive as hell), and Deceased and Twisted Sister every single time I've seen them. We played with Lethal Aggression recently as well and they were fucking awesome. I don't get to go out to shows as often as I'd like to, so I only go when it's a band that I truly love....

MC: Have you had any label interest and have you been sending your material to record companies at all?


MK: Besides Rusty Axe not really. We haven't really tried all that hard either. Prior to recording for the split last year we were talking a new label called Heavy Artillery records and had signed contracts to appear on a comp they were doing, but it fell through because of our old guitarist. I've been in contact with some labels recently though, and demos are being sent out, so we'll see if it works or not....

MC: Do you think the scene is overcrowded now with lots of bands trying to sound like the "in thing" so to speak?


MK: In this area there's nothing good, so if a few more bands like us popped up it would at least be cool because then we could maybe do some local shows. But I think it's always been like that, I've been playing in bands for a long fucking time now, and it always seems that when one band does well, the percentage of the scene tries to copy or follow that in hopes of the same success. I don't think it's any worse than it's ever been really....

MC: What advice would you give to a band starting out?


MK: Don't do it if you don't believe in it, and truly enjoy it. Some people are lucky and find immediate success, then there's guys like us who've been busting our asses at this forever now and are just starting to make a dent. So stick to your guns, don't give up, and eventually you'll get through to someone.

MC: If you could own your own record label what 5 bands would you sign and why?


MK: As far as new bands go, I'd sign my bands, haha. There's also a Death/Crust band we've played in Philly with for years now called B.S.O.M. who I would sign. Other than that I think I'd do reissues. My favorite album of all time is NME-Unholy Death, and besides that Moribund reissue from the early 90's, that album is all but cast into total obscurity. Few bands coming out these days truly impress me, and the ones that do are already signed.....

MC: How do you go and promote the band? Do you have any videos posted on line?


MK: Mostly internet, as I've said the local scene is hopeless for us. But if we have a show I or the promoter or both of us gets it posted all over the place, and in Philly the scene is strong, so you get the usual faces as well new people coming to the shows all the time. We have a ton of live clips on youtube, and a friend of ours is supposedly doing a music video for our song "Tyrant of Pain" with clips from the 80's slasher classic The Mutilator....

MC: How did you come up with your name and where many names tossed around before you found the one you wanted?


MK: I had the name in my head for like 2 years before the band started. At the time the underground was over crowded with Brutal Death/Gore Grind bands with stupid names like Fecal Vagina and Severed Genitals, and lame Black Metal bands with names that I can't even pronounce!! ha. So I wanted a name that would not lump us in with that at all, and I think anyway, it's a classic sounding name for the kind of band we are...

MC: Is hard to write songs and are you and the band comfortable in the studio?


MK: We've always written songs at our leisure, I have hordes of lyrics that I've written over the years, so I just use those. It's also the rule that for every 2 songs we write we learn a cover or two, just because we love playing them and giving credit to bands that other people don't. The recording process always goes quick, because we know what we're doing.

MC: How have the underground media treated you so far? Have you gotten mostly good or bad reviews?


MK: I've seen very few reviews, but the ones I've seen have been very good, so that's cool.

MC: How successful do you think the band can be?


MK: I think with the right push we could do as well as any of the bigger underground names. The only thing working against us with this whole Retro-Metal thing is that we're pretty anti-fashion, and like I said we don't blatantly rip off anybody. But anything can happen, and I think if people are truly into this for the Die Hard lust that we have for it, they'll like it as well....

MC: What do you think about the older bands getting back together and doing "re-union" shows? Have you been to any of them?


MK: Yeah like I said I saw Piledriver and Hallows Eve last year, both were excellent, and I've been to almost every Twisted Sister show since they've been back together, and they kill every time. We're going to see Heaven and Hell this weekend, hopefully that'll be good too. My favorite old bands don't seem to be getting back together, or at least not touring the US. I'd love to see The Rods and I unfortunately missed Krokus when they came. Other than that, I don't really see my favorite bands getting back together....

MC: What are your feelings on hardcore bands? Do you like the old stuff like DRI, COC, The Cromags, etc?


MK: I love old Punk and Hardcore. Mostly the UK stuff though like Discharge, G.B.H., English Dogs, Broken Bones, and then more obscure ones like Chaotic Dischord, Uproar, The Skeptix, Special Duties, I could go on. And now that you mention it, my favorite Jersey band was the old Crossover band Genocide, I rarely meet people who even remember them, but they fucking slayed. Kinda like Venom with GG Allin on vocals or something, haha....

MC: I know you have a MYSpace page. How has then been doing for ya so far?


MK: It's been great I gotta say. People slam that site all the time, but it got us out there to more people than our website ever did. I really got no complaints....

MC: Do you have a favorite show and worst show and I saw you and you did a couple cover tunes. Do you usually do some cover tunes?


MK: All of the shows have been great, I really have no complaints about any of them. My favorites were probably the first time we played Philly in April 2005 with Bludwulf and B.S.O.M., we absolutely killed that night and people who were there to this day tell me they never saw a band get the response we got that night, we played in Rochester, NY around that time with Bludwulf and Toxic Holocaust and Dan Lilker's new band Crucifist, and that was a great time as well. All of the shows with Spencer have been fucking amazing too, it's really hard for me to pick a number one. We have always and will always do covers. Paying tribute to our favorite bands is one of the main reasons we do this....

MC: A dream concert for you would be who on the bill?


MK: Shit let's see Voivod (circa 86-87), NME (Unholy Death era), Prime Evil, Genocide, Hallows Eve (Tales of Terror lineup), Blessed Death, The Rods, Fist, Rainbow (Long Live Rock N' Roll Lineup), Raven, and Tank. Eclectic as fuck, and I could definitely add more bands to that list, the only one I've ever seen out of them all is Raven, I should've been born 10-15 years earlier I guess, haha.....

MC: Do you like to collect old metal stuff at all?


MK: Absolutely, we are all big time collectors and have lots of vinyl, old shirts, CD's, Tapes, Patches, Posters, you name it....

MC: What do you think of the demise of print zines and do you think that has hurt the scene?


MK: I don't think it's necessarily hurt the scene, as almost everything is online now. I do miss the days though of getting huge packages in the mail, that's way cooler to me than just some website, and I still read zines if they have band I like in them. I've been reading yours since I was 13, ha.....

MC: Any last words. Horns up for the interview.


MK: Horns up to you as well bro, thanks for the interview. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of True Metal will dig us, so check out the Myspace give us a listen, or if you wanna order a copy of the split with Zombie email [email protected] Stay True and Die Hard!!!!!

www.myspace.com/sacrificialblood