Hailing from Philadelphia, New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary (COS) formed in 2011 with a desire to bring back the sounds of Classic Heavy Metal.
2012 marked the release of their debut album “Breakout”. Being well received, “Breakout” was quickly followed up by “Harlequin”, which released in 2013 with Pure Steel Records in Germany. Later that same year, their third album “Axe to Grind” released under La Mazakuata Records in Mexico. In 2014, Pure Steel Records re-released “Axe to Grind” in Europe. In 2015, COS signed with Metalizer Records in Germany for the release of the fourth full-length album “Metal Machine”. Mastered by Death Dealer guitarist and producer Stu “The Hammer” Marshall, “Metal Machine” was met with critical acclaim worldwide.
Corners of Sanctuary
Scott - What type of music do you play and how does your music differ from all those other bands?
Mick Michaels – We are a classic style, Heavy Metal band in the vein of Judas Priestand Accept. We have branded ourselves as the New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal (NWoTAHM). It’s a union of our influences from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal style as well as early American Metal bands like Savatage, Queensrycheand Kiss. We definitely have a bit of a throwback manner but not so far as to sound dated. There’s that classic influence without a doubt, but we also retain enough of a modern edge to stay in the game.
Scott- Where does the band hail from?
Mick Michaels - We are from the City of Brotherly Love… Philadelphia, PA.
Scott - Are there any good music venues in your area that you play?
Mick Michaels - Every town and city have their hot spots, especially if it’s genre specific…some even have a unique flair that distinguishes them from the rest. One of the cooler places that stand out for us, especially for Metal bands to perform, is The Tusk, located on South Street here in Philly…really cool place that’s all about supporting the music. We have had several great shows there locally and nationally. Another great place that supports the area’s music scene is the Rusty Nail, just outside of the city. Good people that really care about the bands and their success…definitely a local stop over for many of us.
Scott - Who have been your main influences on your career to date?
Mick Michaels - For me, as a guitar player, it has been Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing from Priest. So it’s easy to understand why the band is also influenced by Priest as well. But I have also been influenced by Ace Frehley and Criss Oliva as well as John Sykes, Mark Kendall, George Lynch and Jake E. Lee…in more recent years, Ritchie Faulkner and Steve Stine. But I have been influenced by other musicians as well, who have offered deeper perspectives on songwriting and arrangement, not just guitarists; like Les Binks and Cozy Powell on drums, Bootsy Collins on bass, as well as vocalists like Halford, Tate, Paul Stanley, Tom Kiefer and Dio. Essentially everything and everyone are a form of influence on some level…conscious or subconsciously. It doesn’t even have to be their playing style, but an attitude or an approach…the way they deliver the goods so to say…: ) There really is an endless supply of inspiration for artists to go on and grow with.
In 2016, “Declaration of Metal”, a best of compilation released. Earlier in 2017 the band dropped a new EP titled “Cut Your Losses” and continued to tour supporting their unique brand of Metal. Summer 2017 the band released their new single “Dreams” and the follow up single “Burn”.
Scott - What were your favorite recording artists and or bands as a teenager?
Mick Michaels - Of course Judas Priest…but Kiss has always been a favorite, as well as Queensryche and Savatage and Accept. I was into a lot; Twisted Sister, Ratt, Dokken, Stryper, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella…man the list is much longer. In addition, I spent a lot of time listening to local Philly bands as well, like World War III, Storm, Teeze and Britny Fox. I also had an affection for pop music…it was unavoidable in the 80’s!
Scott - How many Albums do you have out?
Mick Michaels - Corners of Sanctuary has released five studio albums, one Holiday album plus two compilation albums that included new tracks. I have also been fortunate to appear on a few other album releases from previous bands I was in...So I think the count is somewhere around 12. If you find all 12 please let me know!
Scott - What is the name of your latest album and how did that album come about? What was the inspiration behind it?
Mick Michaels - Corners of Sanctuary’s latest album is “The Galloping Hordes.” It released last year on Killer Metal Records. The album has a war premise to it…originally, we were going to do an album centered around a World War II theme, however, as the writing progressed, we started to branch off including different periods of time. So there’s songs about the Roman Empire and Feudal Japan as well as WWI and WWII. A lot of it’s from the soldier’s perspective…overcoming fears and challenges. But we also wrote some songs in a way that the interpretation can have a number of meanings…so this way the listener can decide for themselves what it means or how it relates to them.
Scott - I also don't want to forget this... Tell us about any other things you may be in involved in or any special interest besides music that is close to your heart?
Mick Michaels - One of the band’s annual events is hosting a benefit show to raise money for cancer awareness and research. We have all been affected by cancer on some level, either with a friend or family member we have lost. So it’s something we feel strongly about. This year will be our eighth year putting an event together and we are very proud of that. We have also raised money for the cause with our Holiday releases. Each year we release either an all original Holiday song or a Metal rendition of a classic favorite...it’s our annual Merry Metal Xmas project and it’s always a lot of fun. A portion of the money collected from those sales is donated…in the past we have donated to local hospitals, the United Way and even programs that assist children in fostering a love for music. Music is a great way to bring people together for a cause. It’s great to have a chance to give back and make a difference, even if it’s in some small way.
In 2018 COS released their fifth album “The Galloping Hordes” on Killer Metal Records. The album was mastered by legendary producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, W.A.S.P., Armored Saint, Fates Warning) and completed a tour in Europe last summer and a US West Coast tour this past Fall. The latest singles “Children of the Night” and “Falling through the Cracks” are now available as the band begins work on their next album “Heroes Never Die,” slated to release in 2020. COS will be supporting Bulletboys, Grim Reaper and the Iron Maidens this year which includes a show at Whiskey A Go-Go.