“We’re Sanktuary. We like beer, hockey and Metal”

By Jason Michel

Something is going on in the far North of the Americas. Something loud, hairy & with a whiff of the Good Old Days & Brimstone. First there was Skull Fist amongst the virtual pages of this very ‘zine bringing their Traditional Metal Gospel to great unwashed masses. Now, there is Sanktuary from the Yukon, Canada, way up there in the frozen tundra. It could be the place that inspired 30 Days Of Night & it certainly has helped to influence these long haired miscreants by bringing us The Bad News of Metal with their latest demo Black Magic Brew.

So, get your Devil’s Horns out & join me as I bring you Sanktuary!

Q1: Tell these whinging curs who you guys are.

We’re Sanktuary. We like beer, hockey, and metal. And fuckin’ bacon. We’re on a heavy metal crusade, travelling through even the most foul, diseased and rotten gutters that lay waste to this world, in order to spread the heavy metal faith. Beer and metal were born to breed… and we’re the outcome.

Q2: & your inspirations, who made you want to play that damn Devil’s music?
I hear Iron Maiden, Testament, Megadeth & a few others in there. A
NWOBHM/classic Thrash sound.

Yeah, that’s the kind of shit that we’re into, so no surprises there if our style falls into either one of those genres. Also we’ve been drinking heavily to a shit tonne of newer more underground bands coming out of both Canada and Europe. Looks like the classic metal scene is making a comeback in a hard way. Thank fuck. These days you don’t have to look very hard to find a rad new band. They’re brimming at the goddamn teat!

Q3: You’re the second Canadian Metal(see SkullFist interview) to be interviewed in these pages.
The scene up there in the frozen North MUST be bulging like a teenager’s love sack?

Just ready to explode man! Canada’s been a hidden underground gem for a few years now but it looks like some people are starting to take notice. Skull Fist, Striker, Metalian and Cauldron are just a few bands that are leading the charge. Definatlely exciting times right now, not just in Canada but all over the globe. My advice though would be to keep your ears peeled to the north.

Q4: Why, in your opinion, is there a resurgence of the tight jeans Old School Metal, as opposed to tuned down baggy-arsed Nu Metal?
Why do the glories of the past continue to inspire people to put out this kind of music?

Cause it’s goddamn better! Hahah. I think that there’s still a bunch of songs in the ‘old school metal’ bank that are waiting to be cashed in. Nothing new style wise, but just one giant pile of heavy metal madness waiting to be summoned and moulded into existance. I always hear people bitching about the new wave of metal not offering anything new or different… good, who cares. I don’t want it to sound different, and judging from the comeback we’re seeing in the scene today I don’t think alot of other people really give a shit either. Good metal is good metal whenever/wherever it was written. Say a new band sounds similar to Slayer. Some people will whine and bitch and say “oh yeah, they’re just another thrash band with nothing new to offer. They sound just like Slayer.” Okay, so where’s the problem here? A new band, putting out new songs that sound like they were written by Jeff Hanneman?! Fuckin’ rites, that works for me.

Q5: What do you guys write about & how important are the lyrics?
The title of your demo “Black Magic Brew” suggests a spooky obsession in there.

We try to have fun with our lyrics and don’t really take the song themes too seriously. I guess Black Magic Brew, the title track off of the EP, has the whole spook factor because it’s dealing with witchcraft. But if you look any deeper into it you’ll see that the lyrics in that tune are pretty… well I don’t want to say corny but, yeah they’re corny hahah. We’ve got songs about mammoth hunting, zombie invasions, super hot witch babes seducing young guys and then druging them only to then reveal their true forms. Shit like that. For the most part our song writting usually tells a story, although some of the newer tunes we’ve got in the works seem to be based more on lifestyle. We just like to have fun with it.

Q6: Notoriously, Metal bands write about the darker side of fiction from the hokey to the downright fucking disturbing.
Who are your favourite writers?
Who is the most Metal of all writers out there?

We’re into guys like Cam Pipes from 3 Inches of Blood who sing about assassins, orcs, witches, and tanks… and massive glaciers and Thor and all kinds of other metal shit. Another band we’re into is Evile out of the UK. They write about things like Jaws, Terminator and Rambo. We’re not really into the whole Satanism or “lets go burn a church” kind of thing unless it’s for a laugh, and as far as who’s the most metal writter.. fuck, I don’t know if there is one person who is more “metal” than everyone else. Some other cliche choices for us would be James Hetfield and Ronnie James Dio (RIP).

Q7: Hey, what’s this about some human paraquat stealing all your gear & your van in Toronto?! Have these bastards no respect for the Sank? have they been found & subjected to waterboarding?!

Yeah, last summer we played the Hard Luck bar in Toronto. Ironically enough that was our last show before the van was stolen. It was parked in a payed parkade in a busy part of the city so we figured we could get away with leaving our gear loaded. We figured wrong. The cops found the van a couple of days later and it was pretty much cleaned out. Cole even lost his 1973 Rickenbacker… brutal. We never ended up finding them or tracking down any of the gear but we did manage to finish most of the tour by borrowing gear from other bands.

Q8: Tell us a little about the Yukon, where you guys are originally from. I believe it’s a tad … isolated.

Ha ha, yeah, it’s in the middle of nowhere but that’s why we love it. The Yukon is a territory in northwestern Canada. It’s roughly the size of Spain but only has a population of 30,000 people, most of which live in Whitehorse, the capitol. That’s where we’re from. There’s mountains, lakes, some damn good local beers and Indians who can drink you under the table. The perfect place for a metal band to be forged. I think that most people are proud of where they come from and we’re no exception. I encourage anyone and everyone to go check it out for themselves, you won’t be disappointed!

Q9: Finally gents, what’s in the offing for Sanktuary? Where next?

Well, we’re heading into the studio shortly to record a single, so that should be out in the next 6-8 weeks. Also we’re doing a music video to help support the release… nothing to fancy or serious but we’re going to have a blast filming it, I’m sure. Then next summer we’re going to be doing another cross Canada tour. We made a lot of good friends on the way over so we’re pretty excited to hook up with them again for some heavy duty drinking. After the tour we’re going to be storming the studio to record our first full length. We’ve got most of the new tunes written but we want to try and get the band name out there a little more before we release the album. After that, who knows? Europe, the States, your mom’s bachelorette party… wherever the metal Gods take us!


I mean, really, what do you really expect from a demo called Black Metal Brew?

The songs have the titles – Waking The Dead, Beats Of Lore, Death Dealer & the eponymously title Black Magic Brew & they are about magic & fantasy & things that don’t exist, but so fucking what? You want sanctimonious political “This song can change the world!” type meaning to your music go listen to U2 or Bob Marley ( both, by the way, religious fundamentalists in their own way) cos you’re in the wrong place, pal!

This is raw Thrash-influenced Metal as it should be. The demo has a real live feel about it. The guitar chugs away, the drums are battered & the singer grunts far more than he shrieks.

BMB is a beer driven & enthusiastic romp in four songs.

It does everything it says on the tin.

Hear it here: http://www.myspace.com/sanktuaryslays

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