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ABATTOIR – Hack ’N’ Slash
Dave Reynolds
Metal Forces, Issue 20 (1986)

Abattoir (l-r): Danny Oliverio, Mel Sanchez, Mike Towers, Mark Caro and
Danny Anaya

This is neat meat mate! Yeah, Los Angelino’s Abattoir are back in the Metal Forces spotlight with the release of their second album, Only Safe Place. An Abattoir? C’mon! That’s like saying Shades is a jazz / funk store!

Since the release of last year’s Vicious Attack album the band have undergone yet another change in lead vocalist. Out goes Steve Gaines and in comes ex-Heretic vocalist Mike Towers (note change of surname). And it was Mike who I spoke to for your edification.

So, what happened with Steve Gaines then, Mike? “Steve departed during October last year and I joined in November, joining Mel Sanchez (bass), Danny Anaya (drums), Mark Caro (guitar) and Danny Oliverio (guitar). Basically, Steve was no longer into the band, he physically wasn’t into it.”

It was pretty funny that he was in a band such as Abattoir singing about death whilst his brother Tim is a member of Stryper! “Yeah, that could’ve been a nice gimmick eh?!”

What were the final sales figures for your Combat / Roadrunner released Vicious Attack debut? “It did really good. It was a really strong album, but because the band lacked support it went nowhere. But it did break the band into the metal scene and showed what the band was all about. Of course, this second album is much better. It’s still Abattoir, but the melodies have changed.”

Yeah, I’ve noticed that. I’ve also noticed that you thankfully haven’t sold out to total thrash. “Yeah, we haven’t. Our songs are fast but we definitely want to make music! You can be real good musically as well as being real good as a metal band, and that is what Abattoir is all about.”

Will the deal you now have in Europe with Noise be far more beneficial to you than the previous liaison with Roadrunner? “Yes, definitely. Noise is doing a lot for the band and also because we’ve got a chance to get over to Europe with them. I’m also excited because they’re putting our album out on compact disc in Europe, and CDs are selling like crazy over here and it should do well as an import.” (The Only Safe Place LP is, by the way, being released in the US through Combat).

What do you think of this big, thrash trend that’s blown up? “I like it, I listen to a lot of that stuff. There’s a couple of bands who really go too far with it though. I think it’s happened because it originated from punk and a lot of the kids who’ve got into thrash have always been closet punks but didn’t wanna cut their hair! It’s hard to say how long it’ll last though. Here in LA, glam’s the happening thing and Poison are by far the biggest band, but there’s still a lot of thrash albums being sold. I work in a record store and there’s a lot of kids coming in and buying Slayer, Exodus and Sodom. There’s certainly a market for it, but I don’t honestly think it will get major league.”

I’d heard from your drummer, Danny Anaya, that Abattoir was getting pretty major league in Mexico, where you just toured! “Oh yeah! Mexico’s great! It’s really weird, we went to a record store in-store first of all and the people were going crazy! We felt really important. The show we played was great! We played to 3,000 people and it was really unbelievable. The roar from the crowd when we came on was intense, they were louder than us! Those people definitely want metal. We’re planning on going down there again soon during a tour of the US with Helstar from Texas.”

What about Europe? “We wanna play there badly. We’re gonna have to save all our money. With being signed to Noise in Germany we have more of a chance, especially once the album starts selling.”

And I’m sure it’ll do that, especially in Germany, but what’s your old band, Heretic, up to now? “They’re doing pretty good, they’re doing an EP for Metal Blade. Brian Korban (guitar) is really the main songwriter and we always had different ideas so we never really saw eye to eye.”

Still, now that Mike is the frontman with the mighty Abattoir he’s got more of a vehicle to show off his undoubted talents, as one listen to the brilliant Only Safe Place album will prove. Let’s hope that Abattoir can build on the success already achieved with the debut album and really start moving earth with this one. If you haven’t heard the Abattoir attack yet, then do so. Now!

Interview taken from Metal Forces, Issue 20 (1986)

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