After twenty-three years of dormancy, with nary a hope of resurrection, the unthinkable has happened. The trademark knife-wielding logo of Sanctuary is gracing album covers once again. Sanctuary is back with a new release entitled The Year the Sun Died.
Sanctuary was a hybrid metal act born during the ’80s thrash domination. Featuring influential progressive elements and atypical vocals, their diversity kept the Sanctuary name admirable despite their initial demise. Sanctuary only released two studio albums: Refuge Denied (1987) & Into the Mirror Black (1992) but are held in high regard amongst metalheads because the musical craftsmanship was so uncommon.
The musicianship on The Year the Sun Died is simply amazing, the revitalized Sanctuary sound is basically heavy metal with a heavy dose of thrash and progressive elements sewn in. I’ve read that Lenny Rutledge had been stockpiling riffs for years in lieu of this album and it shows, the guitar work is brilliant. The addition of Brad Hull (Forced Entry) really adds to the thrash appeal of this band, he gives a new dimension to the classic Sanctuary sound. The bass lines of Jim Sheppard are featured throughout and really mesh with the superb drum work of Dave Budbill.
This skilled lineup is completed with the distinct vocal attack of Warrel Dane. Dane has so much emotion and power in his voice, it’s hard not to become entranced with this music. If you are expecting Dane’s Refuge Denied high-pitched screams, you might be disappointed but I assure you, the higher octaves are not missed. This slower, drawn out delivery really gives Dane’s voice a complexity, occasionally reminiscent of Nevermore, but with a harder edge. This lineup screams uniqueness.
The running time of around 50 minutes seems like mere seconds to the listener, the album’s tracklisting unfolds effortlessly from ballad to fist-pumping jam. Highlight tracks for me are: “Arise and Purify”, “Let the Serpent Follow Me”, “The World is Wired”, “The Dying Age” and “The Year the Sun Died”.
I really can’t say enough good things about The Year The Sun Died, this is a solid album by a group making a comeback at the right time. My year won’t be complete without catching some of these tracks live. Sanctuary is back with a vengeance, check out this amazing release! \m/
1. Arise and Purify
2. Let the Serpent Follow Me
3. Exitium (Anthem of the Living)
4. Question Existence Fading
5. I Am Low
7. One Final Day (Sworn to Believe)
8. The World Is Wired
9. The Dying Age
10. Ad Vitam Aeternam
11. The Year the Sun Died
12. Waiting for the Sun (The Doors cover)*
Jim Sheppard – Bass
Dave Budbill – Drums
Lenny Rutledge – Guitars
Warrel Dane – Vocals
Brad Hull – Guitars