Sean Palmerston, who handles media relations for Sonic Unyon, the Hamilton, Ontaro, Canada label whose roster includes the heavy likes of UNTIMELY DEMISE, SACRIFICE and AUGURY, spoke to The Canadian Press about this week's announcement that a new category will be added to the Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Awards) roster in 2012: "Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year", making a total of 41 categories up for grabs. The 41st annual Juno Awards will be held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 26 - April 1, 2012."It seems like these musicians are paying their dues, making great records and they definitely deserve at least a little bit of a tip of a hat of an award, just so people can recognize how great they are," said Palmerston, who began campaigning the academy about a year and a half ago, after struggling to find an appropriate category to submit an album by Quebec metal innovators VOIVOD. "Hopefully it'll just make (fans) say, 'Hey, we have good metal bands in our own backyard.' ... I definitely think it's going to make people pay attention." "People have always said to me, 'How come metal doesn't get celebrated the way that alternative does?"' he said. "I think that Canada is ready for a metal category. I don't think it'll come as too much of a surprise." Palmerston, who will serve as co-chair of the metal committee for the Junos, says that judges will consider heavy bands from all angles of the metallic spectrum. "There's a lot of diversity in metal," he said. "We're not doing this and hoping that it's going to be a band that sounds like GUNS N' ROSES that gets this. "We really want submissions across the board and for people to really open their ears to the different sonic palette of what constitutes metal in 2011." This new category is an award to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the Canadian recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position. Eligible albums include metal, metalcore, hardcore, heavy rock, thrash metal, death metal and their respective sub-genres including (but not limited to) nu-metal, power metal, grindcore, extreme metal, industrial metal, viking metal, folk metal, doom metal, gothic metal, speed metal, and sludge metal. Submissions for the 2012 Juno Awards open October 1, 2011. Apply online at junosubmissions.ca. For more information about Canadian Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences (CARAS) and the Juno Awards, go to www.junoawards.ca.