Their ‘Galloping Hordes‘ release was the first time to know about these dedicated heavy metal dudes back in 2018. Since then they became one of the most important heavy metal groups in my music library, I am glad to have a chat again with the band founder, producer, songwriter, and guitarist and getting deeper into their recent release among other major topics. Let’s get started with Mr Mick Michaels from Corners of Sanctuary!
● And again, I salute you for such an impressive EP. I’ve been wondering, two EPs in the same year, why you didn’t think of combining a full album instead?
Mick Michaels: Thanks so much! Really appreciate your support of our latest EP.
Last year, during the pandemic, we released the album, “Heroes Never Die.” Following its release, our label suggested to quickly follow up with another album in the first quarter of 2021. Feeling as though that was not the best move since a full album just came out, we decided on the EP route. We already had new music in the works…everyone was in a writing frenzy during 2020, so there was plenty of material for another full length, but we wanted to space things out.
2021 marks the band’s 10 year anniversary. Pre-pandemic, we had planned to tour the UK and parts of Europe in celebration. However, that was not to be the case. So we decided that a multi edition EP release would give the music proper exposure time. Often when an album is set to release, all the excitement happens during the lead up time, so that when the album actually does release, it’s kind of anti-climatic these days…and shortly thereafter, the album disappears. Having smaller, multi releases rather than one large one seems to be more digestible in the modern digital age and really allows the music time to grow and the audience to connect.
A full length version of Blood and Steel, titled “Fight Till the End,” which will include both Volumes One and Two, as well as several additional tracks, is scheduled to release this fall on both CD and vinyl formats.
● Tell your fans about the musical differences between your 2020 album Heroes Never Die and 2021 EPs Blood and Steel.
Mick Michaels: Blood and Steel definitely has a much darker tone and feel to it…it’s grittier in terms of Corners of Sanctuary music. However, it’s still COS.
Things evolve over time…writing, musicianship, arrangements and approaches…it’s a product of maturation as songwriters and as a band…everyone starts to come into their own and in turn, so does the band as a whole. A band is the sum of its parts…each has their place to make a song what it is…take that away and it’s not the same.
We are definitely really proud of what we have done with the Blood and Steel series and appreciate all the support it has received.
● I see on the website that it’s your 10 years anniversary already, was it mainly focuses on touring?
Mick Michaels: We had really hoped to be touring much of 2021 in celebration of this milestone. But the continued pandemic had other plans…however; I feel we made the best of it. It gave us a chance to switch some focus and engage and even reengage in some other aspects of the band’s livelihood. Lots of music has been written…in addition to the Blood and Steel series, the next full length album is already in the works among other things.
Things started to loosen up in the Spring which allowed us to start doing some live shows again. We have stayed moderately busy throughout the Summer and will continue to do some shows in the Fall. It’s good to be back on stage again sharing the music with the fans…it’s been way to long for all of us.
● I felt that both volumes of Blood and Steel, are the darker side of the band. Am I right?
Mick Michaels: The meat of these EPs were writing during the height of the pandemic while we confined and restricted…there was a lot of emotion building up during that time worldwide…no one was immune to what was happening. So much of that is definitely enbedded into the music…how could it not be? Music is an extension of who we are…it’s an expression of what’s going on inside of us and what’s going on around us. I believe many of us were in a much darker place in 2020…and unfortunately, some still are.
● I loved the “Casualties of War” 80s spirit. Was it planned from the beginning to make a retro video footage production?
Mick Michaels: We have joked that as a band we have finally gotten our 80s glam video…haha! We definitely wanted to do something different with this video than we have done before. We wanted to depict one thing while the song and the lyrics expressed something completely different…the grass isn’t always greener…there may not be a silver lining this time…or that the good guys don’t always win.
So the video might look 80s on a surface glance, but once you start to look deeper, you’ll quickly see there’s a lot more going on and it’s not all bright lights and poke-a-dot carpeting.
● ‘A Fitting End’ in the first volume was a great different path for the EP, still, I didn’t find something similar in your second. Was this planned during the songwriting process?
Mick Michaels: Absolutely. In the grand scheme of things, Blood and Steel became a tribute to two dear friends who had passed away during all this craziness. Because of everything that was going on and all the restrictions, there were no services, no final goodbyes…no closure. This was our way of doing that for our friends and brothers. These were guys we played with in the past and we wanted to create something that could honor their memory and their accomplishments.
Blood and Steel has turned out to be a multi-layered project about the human condition and how, no matter what, we can withstand, endure and overcome…we are stronger than we know.
● 3 years ago, you were very keen to tell me that you’re NWOAHM group; would you consider a music fusion with your heavy metal roots someday?
Mick Michaels: Our style is without a doubt a collection or a fusion of all of our influences…even the non-Metal ones! How could it not be? I think we take the parts that resonate the most with us and run with them; making up the core of the Corners of Sanctuary sound and style.
I think that many of our “fusion influences” shine through when we do our annual Holiday releases. There is a lot of diversity in those tracks; besides just being a seasonal song…they offer something to a wider audience who may not know of COS or be that interested in Heavy Metal. We get our biggest numbers with our Holiday songs simply because we don’t keep it one dimensional…rather than alienating an audience we try to make it more inclusive.
● The ‘80s spirit is pretty obvious, still, aren’t you afraid that may affect the band’s popularity in such a trendy-pop world nowadays?
Mick Michaels: We are a niche band for sure. We write what we feel is truthful for us; otherwise we are just pretending…and pretending, especially in music, is not sustainable in my opinion. It’s true, we may never get the massive numbers as some other acts do, but that’s okay because we are doing what we want to do…and I wouldn’t want to trade that kind of freedom for anything. Like P.T. Barnum said…”there’s an ass for every seat”…and there’s plenty still available, so come grab one.
● Thank you again for the chat guys! Tell your fans more about your 2022 upcoming plans.
Mick Michaels: Thanks so much for talking with me. Greatly appreciate your time and support.
“Blood and Steel: Fight Till the End” releases this Fall on RFL Records. It will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally.
Our 2021 Holiday EP, “Rockin’ the Holiday: A Merry Metal Xmas IX” releases on Black Friday…this year’s track is a slammin’ tune…some of our punk influences are coming out on this one.
We still have a handful of shows coming up including a mini West Coast Tour which includes COS performing again at the Whisky A Go-Go with Kill Devil Hill on December 2nd.
Plus more music…we have already started working on the next full length album, “Vengeance of the Fallen,” as well as a second “best of compilation” and a possible live release which would include tracks from our 2018 European tour. So definitely stay tuned…there’s lots happening.
Thanks again Mena! COSnROLLm/m/