Forged in the fires of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, New Jersey’s Attacker blazes a path across the metal scene. With soaring vocals, laser-sharp riffs, and thunderous rhythms, Attacker delivers true metal with deadly precision, slaying crowds and taking no prisoners. With their albums Battle at Helms Deep, Giants of Canaan, Sins of the World, and several other releases, Attacker has honed its live show into a pure frontal assault. Wherever Attacker goes, it conquers. Recently, AQ spoke with drummer Mike Sabatini about the band’s roots and its influences.
Where are you all from?
The original band was all from Hudson County, but member changes over the years have found us spread around the state. We are technically based in Jersey City, as that is where we write and rehearse our music. Currently, Attacker is me on drums, followed by Brian Smith on bass, Jon Hasselbrink and Mike Benetatos on guitars, and Bobby Lucas on vocals.
How long have you been a band and how did you get started?
We have a long history! We originally started in 1983 and ran until 1989. We then picked up again in 2000 after the death of one of our original guitarists, Jim Mooney. We got started when I met a guitar player while attending St Peter’s College in Jersey City. One guy knows another guy, and the next thing you know, we have a band.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
We are like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, but a heavier. That’s where we come from musically, and just expand upon it with our own individual styles.
What was your latest release of music and can you talk about that a bit?
We just released a six-song EP last September titled Armor of the Gods. It features four new songs, and two live tracks that were recorded at a festival in Athens, Greece in 2017. It was produced by Alex Perialas, who is known for his work back in the ‘80s with Anthrax, Overkill, Nuclear Assault, as well as doing our second album back in 1987. The live tracks were mixed by Tom Beaujour.
What is your writing and recording process like?
Generally, the guys will write at home, do a quick recording of what they have written, and pass it to the rest of us. We then flesh it out and start rehearsing it and adding our own flare. Recording-wise, we initially all play live together to get that full-band feel. Once the drum tracks are done, the other guys will go back and track their parts separately and build on the mix of the music. That way, we can all individually focus on the best performances we can give. The next album will be done at our own studio—Grinny’s Recording. I have engineered and mixed some of our stuff in the past, and we decided to go back to doing the recording ourselves.
What are current projects you are working on?
Attacker is the main thing musically for me, and pretty much has been for years. Besides Attacker, I have another thing that looks to be in the works, but it’s still coming together. I will also be recording other acts in the coming year at Grinny’s Recording.
Is there any significance behind your band name?
The name Attacker actually comes from a song from our first album, Battle At Helms Deep, and that song is titled “(Call On) The Attacker.” Incidentally, back in 1985 when that album was released on Metal Blade Records, one of the Aquarian writers at the time, Bill Chemerka, had it as his top album for 1985—a list that included the likes of Kiss. Check those Aquarian archives!
What is your favorite memory as a band?
Our first time in Europe back in 2004 was an amazing experience—Germany to be exact. We had gone over for a festival and wondered if people would remember us from back in the ‘80s. But we received an amazing reception from the crowd, and the promoter told us that we had the best crowd reaction across the two-day festival. I would say we were pleased.
What are your goals for the future as a band?
Keep making music as long as we can—it’s in our blood. The industry has changed dramatically since the ‘80s so it’s not about making money. We do it for our love of music, plain and simple.
What are your plans for 2019?
We will be spreading out to some different markets here in the US, and have a European trip planned for August. After August, we will start working on a new album which hopefully be complete by the end of the year.
Want to hear more from Attacker? You can find them here: