With the response of the bands latest LP, ‘The Awakening‘ [released back in August 2019], we figured it was about that time to ask if there was any news of a follow up, their plans for touring in 2023, and more!
OD – After many obstacles over the last few years, it’s great to finally see Sacred Reich back on Irish shores. Would it be correct in saying that this particular tour with Sepultura, has see you guys perform in some of the biggest venues you’ve ever played across the EU, and UK?
PHIL – Yes, absolutely. This run of shows has been so much fun so far. We toured with Sepultura in the past, so there’s a good relationship there between both bands. The crowds on all dates of this EU/UK tour have been fantastic. It’s been a pleasure to have been able to be part of this run of dates, not to mention a wonderful feeling to be stepping on stage every night doing what we love to do.
OD – At this point in the bands career, to be able to impact large audiences night after night is a fantastic thing to see. Do you sense that a lot of people are getting to see you for the first time on this tour?
PHIL – It’s a mixture with each show. As soon as we hit the opening chords of ‘The American Way‘, we can tell straight away who is familiar with us, and also, who’s not. At the end of the day, we just play for who ever is standing before us. Ether way, we’re just glad that we are still able to do this, considering the impact of touring the last few years.
OD – The success of the latest album (the first in 23 years), ‘The Awakening’ was, no doubt, a triumph for the band. From what you harvested from the shows you did prior to lockdown, did you draw a sense of positivity, or a boost of creativity with regards to new material?
PHIL – It’s interesting because being in a band, playing the old stuff night after night, that’s fine, but being able to bring in new material that slots in so nicely alongside the older tunes…well that really gave us a shot of adrenaline. Since then, we’ve become more of a forward thinking band. We have new stuff to play, and as the tour grew, it was really fascinating to see the music grow with the audience, night after night.
That was a real eye-opener for us, and it also felt really good. That was back in 2019 when we went out a headliners for a bunch of UK/EU shows. Having our new material make that connection with people…that was just insane to see. I’d not experienced that feeling in decades, prior to that tour. That whole tour really changed our focus as a band.
OD – Speaking of new material, is there any new tracks that have been demo’d, or are in a state of completion for a new album?
PHIL – We probably have four to five to nine new songs in the works, and we actually were looking into booking a studio to record, but things didn’t work out that way. We’re excited to finish up this tour, and then I’m guessing that in 2023, we’ll eventually get back into the studio and start recording a new album.
OD – Have you previewed any new material on any of the recent shows, just as a barometer as to how they go done in a live setting?
PHIL – No, not at all. At the moment they are just demos and ideas. It’s far too early to let anyone hear them, especially on this tour. We need to do a lot more work on them before we get to that point.
OD – Despite the limitations of what you could not do over the last few years, the release of ‘Ignorance’, ‘Surf Nicaragua’, and ‘The American Way’ re-issues came out via Metal Blade. Was this something that had been in the pipes for a long time, and did you have any hand in the process, with regards to the vinyl colours etc?
PHIL – We talked about doing reissues, and it was as simple as Brian [Slagel – Metal Blade Records CEO] letting us know that they were coming. The label then sent over some designs of what each album was gonna look like, and we were all like: “Wow, that’s cool!” and that was pretty much how it happened. [Laughing]
One thing that we did insist on was the artwork for ‘Ignorance‘. We really wanted the original cover that was rejected back in ’87. There was no real planning when it came to the re-issue. It sort of just came up, and Brian let us know, and we were happy that they were gonna be available for people who didn’t managed to get the original pressing back in the day.
OD – Having been involved with this business back in the ‘80s to today, (bearing in mind the hiatus in the middle), do you find that things have changed for the better, or for worse?
PHIL – I don’t really know if “better or worse” is way to quantify it. To expect the business to be the same as it was thirty years ago is ridicules, and although some bands may have a hard time coming to terms with how much things have changed, we just tend to go with the flow, and adapt as much as we can in order for us to keep doing what we do.
I think there’s lots more music out there and it’s a lot easier for people to find music. It may seem challenging at times due to the amount of music that’s out there but if you really want to find something in particular, the internet is a great way of doing that. A lot of kids don’t know how easy they have it these days [Laughing].
OD – With regards to the explosion of Thrash metal all those years ago, to today, with a new found passion amongst fans, thanks to heritage bands putting out consistent quality music, do you feel that in terms of sub-genres of Metal, there is something truly unique about the genre, and why do you think it’s still so relevant, as opposed to other heavy genres that seems to fade away?
PHIL – I don’t know. I have no idea. I’m not interested in “genres“. When people ask us what kind of music do we play, I say “Metal“, but really, I don’t care. I’m not into that bullshit. At the end of the day, it’s all just music.
People are just drawn to real stuff, in this case ‘Thrash“, or whatever they want to call it. There is no pretence or bullshit about what we do, and a lot of other bands that play the same sort of music as we do.
OD – At present, do you have any more plans to release another split 7” like you did with Iron Reagan?
PHIL – You never know. That came about because Tony [Foresta, Iron Reagan/Municipal Waste vocalist] asked us: “Hey! Are you guys making a new album? If so, keep a space for us to do a split“. And that’s exactly what we did. That track ‘Don’t Do it Donnie‘ was written just for that, and was never intended to be on ‘The Awakening‘ album.
OD – With regards to 2023, and onwards, are there any plans that you can share with us now involving any other projects, or endeavours you may have?
PHIL – We hardly know what the fuck we’re doing most of the time, so it’s hard to plan stuff ahead. [Laughing]. We are gonna be touring a lot next year. There are a few Festivals on the cards, and then Australia, Japan, and some US dates, but then back in the studio late ’23 to work on a new album, and if all goes to plan, we’ll release that in 2024. But, in saying that, who knows what’s gonna happen. None of us knew that we’d be sitting on our asses for two years.
Sacred Reich have been confirmed for Bloodstock Open Air in 2023, and will play alongside the likes of Megadeth, Killswitch Engage, Anthrax, Meshuggah, In Flames, Biohazard, Sepultura, Crowbar, Decapitated, Helloween, Whitechapel, and many more. Tickets are on sale now via this link.