The Heroic Heavy Metal from Corners of Sanctuary
The Heroic Heavy Metal from Corners of Sanctuary
The mighty Corners Of Sanctuary is a heavy metal collective based out of Philadelphia who has been exploding onto the worldwide music scene. In October, Corners of Sanctuary released their latest full length album Heroes Never Die on RFL Records to critical acclaim. The album was mastered by Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Armored Saint, W.A.S.P.) and produced by Michaels. Heroes Never Die is available worldwide and can be purchased here. In addition, the band has opened for the likes of U.D.O. and Butcher Babies and has just unleashed a brand new Christmas single entitled Wonderful Time Of Year. Highwire Daze recently interview guitarist Mitch Michaels to find out more about the absolutely heroic metal from Corners Of Sanctuary. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Corners of Sanctuary and how long the band has been together.
Hello! Thanks for talking with me. My name is Mick Michaels and I play guitar for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. COS has been together since 2011.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
Corners of Sanctuary is from Philadelphia, PA. The music scene in Philadelphia is very similar to many other metropolitan regions…very rich and diverse with a lot of history. Having such a diverse arena of music really adds flavor to the area’s culture and gives artists of all kinds an opportunity to express and share their craft. Music is alive and well here in Philly!
How did you wind up signing with RFL Records?
We knew 2020 was going to be the year that we would release our next album…that was our plan. We took the winter to complete what was needed to make that happen…finishing up some vocal tracks and mixing. Unfortunately, COVID stormed the world, so when we approached our then label with the finished product to set up the release, the situation had caused plans to drastically change. Fortunately for us, the label was understanding and permitted us to pursue other avenues as we saw fit.
A mutual associate of ours made the connection with COS and RFL Records. It was a perfect opportunity for both of us. They have been unbelievably supportive and we are very grateful for the chance to be working together with them for the release of “Heroes Never Die.”
Is there any overall story or concept behind Heroes Never Die title?
The album’s theme is based around a fighting soldier’s perspective. It’s not a singular story per se but more of a collection of things we’ve read and stories we’ve been told by friends and family members who served…this is their story in a way… overcoming fears and challenges to survive. That message in and of itself is inspirational for all of us on how to live our lives day-to-day to the fullest.
Select two songs from Heroes Never Die and what inspired the lyrics.
“Combat Shock” was co-written by our drummer Mad T and me. The song talks about that “shell shock” state of mind which occurs when the soldier is in the thick of things. Mad T has a Masters in History and has studied that particular area. The inspiration for my contribution to the song was from stories my grandfather used to tell me of his time in World War II – of being in trenches and running alongside tanks while all hell was break loose around him. It was a sensation that he carried with him the rest of his life.
Another song is “We Are the Dead (Dead Man Walking).” This song is about knowing that you are not going to make it out but are still going to do all you can do, giving it all you got for the guys coming up behind you…that first line of defense…I guess that’s what it really means to be on the front lines…your sacrifice is for the next guy and so on. I can only image what that feels like. That’s true heroism.
Who produced Heroes Never Die and what was it like working with them?
I was fortunate to be the album’s producer. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve the band in that capacity. For what it was like to work with me as a producer… well, I guess you need to ask the other guys… but for me it wasn’t a bad experience at all. 🙂
Who did the cover art for Heroes Never Die and how much input did you have on it?
We have a dedicated art team at a company called A Creation Productions… we have worked with them for a number of years now on a multitude of projects. They’re great.
We had a lot of input in how we wanted the artwork to look like for this album. The initial concept was ours… they ran with it and were able to bring it to life. We are extremely happy with how it all turned out.
What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic?
I think for any artist or band that releases an album, regardless of the current world situation, it is a testament to their dedication and commitment to the music… the pandemic just amplified that resolve to never back down and never give up… that is the true heart of the warrior soldier… or in this case the warrior artist.
But we are happy to have been able to make it happen given the situation and the ripple effects it has had on the industry. Every day is a blessing.
Have you had any shows or tours cancelled because of it?
Most definitely…no one has been immune. When the pandemic hit here in the States we were in the UK for our first ever tour there. Once the travel ban was put in place, we had to cancel the remainder of the tour after only two shows. It was a bummer to say the least. But in the end, better safe than sorry. We do plan to go back once things fall back to some level of normal.
Of course in addition to the UK tour, a number of State side shows were also cancelled, as well as a few shorter tours we had planned throughout the year. We are hoping 2021 offers us some better horizons to get back on the road… our fingers are crossed.
What was the experience like opening for U.D.O. and did you get to meet or hang out with them at all?
It was an amazing experience. When we received the call asking us to be the support band, I don’t think I even gave the booker a chance to finish his speech… I immediately blurted out “yes”… it was a no brainer to me.
We did have a chance to say our hellos and be cordial for a bit with everyone but nothing too in-depth. Composure is the name of the game when you are backstage with your heroes… otherwise you end up in the back alley behind the venue… alone… in the dark… hahaha!
But man, it was once of the best nights of my career hands down.
You have also opened for Butcher Babies who are on the cover of the upcoming issue of Highwire Daze. Did you get to meet or hang out with them at all?
They are a great band with a ton of energy. It was very cool to have the opportunity to work with them. Unfortunately, due to heavy security we did not get to hang with them… we completely understand, you never can be too careful. We did get to hang with the road crew for a bit. Most of the time there is so much going on back stage before and after the performance for everyone, there really is little to no time to socialize as many people think.
If Corners of Sanctuary could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Opening for either Kiss or Judas Priest would be amazing. Both bands, for me, have been super influential in many aspects of my playing and songwriting. Having such an opportunity would be the ultimate fan and artist experience.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside Corners of Sanctuary?
I have been working on several side projects that include producing the next Powerless Rise release…I worked on their first two releases so it’s cool to be working with those guys again…as well, I’m working on some solo material, but that has been something I’ve been doing for the last five years, so I don’t expect anything coming anytime soon. I’ve also been writing some new material for another project that I can’t say too much about right now as we are still in the infant stages… so we will see.
Early on in the pandemic I was involved with the COVID relief initiative Hear ‘n Now. It was a multi-artist project that included Steve Grimmett of Grim Reaper, Patrick Kennison from Lita Ford, Ed Mischke from Veronica Freeman and producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Armored Saint) among others. I wrote and produced the song “No Road to Ruin” which these artists performed on along with Corners of Sanctuary providing the music framework. It was an honor to be a part of the project and work with such an array of talent… plus it was for a great cause.
I also conduct artist interviews on my blog The Cosmick View (www.thecosmickview.com) and have expanded the brand to a podcast, The Cosmick Voice (www.thecosmickvoice.com), co-hosting the show with my long time friend and Metal brother Chris Natalini, who is the lead singer of Blood Feast.
I like to stay busy…it keeps me out of trouble.
Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary for Corners of Sanctuary. What goes through your mind when you think that the band has been going for almost a decade now?
It’s pretty cool. Honestly, we really weren’t thinking about it until it was said in passing to us early on this year… we were just doing what we were doing. But since it was mentioned, the whole idea of it has greatly put things into a different perspective for us. It’s an accomplishment for sure… a milestone that we are proud of. But so much of what we are doing still seems so new… kind of like the band has finally found its flow, especially within the music itself. The music is the core of what we do… it’s the reason why we do what we do.
In the grand scheme of things, we are just a band that enjoys doing what we are doing and are grateful that others feel the music is worth listening to… and we hope to continue doing this for many more years to come.
What do you hope 2021 brings for Corners of Sanctuary?
I hope that we are able to get back out on the road and bring the music to the people. With 2021 being 10 years for us, we wanted to make it a big deal…we have plans but given everything that is going on we will just have to wait and see…everything may be pushed back to the following year until we know for sure. But besides that, I’m sure you can count on more new music from COS. Above all, we hope for health and happiness for everyone.
Any final words of wisdom?
At the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself. If you can do that, you have everything you will ever need.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! I hope to see your band back here in Los Angeles once this pandemic comes to an end. Take care and be safe in these crazy times!
=Thanks so much for talking with me… really appreciate your time and support. All my best to everyone. Stay strong and be safe… COSnROLL \m/\m/
CORNERS OF SANCTUARY is:
Frankie Cross – Vocals
Mad T – Drums
James Pera – Bass & Backing Vocals
Mick Michaels – Guitars & Keyboards
(Interview by Ken Morton)
CORNERS OF SANCTUARY on Facebook