It has been over 2 decades since we last saw an album from the legendary Power/Thrash Metal band, Sanctuary. Warrel Dane and Jim Shepard went on to form the also legendary band, Nevermore. But in 2010 Sanctuary officially reformed and 4 years later the world has received the latest offering from Sanctuary, The Year The Sun Died. Does Sanctuary still live up to their former glory? Let's find out!
The album begins with the first single, Arise And Purify. It is a great fast and heavy way to start off an album fans have been waiting so very long for. Dane's unforgettable voice still shines through as clear as ever. The solos are amazing and everything feels so fresh, as if the band never left. The next track, Let The Serpent Follow Me, has a bit more dynamics to it. When it is fast, it is fast, when it is mellow, it is mellow. Overall, a killer song. Exitium (Anthem Of The Living) is up next and it starts off with a quite epic intro that leads into the early day Sanctuary sound. For those that love the mid-tempo Sanctuary, this song was written for you. Question Existence Fading sounds like straight up Nevermore, which is not a bad thing (and let's be honest, Sanctuary and Nevermore go hand in hand). A very solid, straight up rocker. I Am Low is one of the few mellow moments of the entire album. The music brings back the memory of the song The Legacy by Testament. A great break from all the heaviness and thrashy moments that fill up the rest of the album. The next song up is Frozen, which is a killer in your face Thrash song. This song feels right at home with something off Dead Heart In A Dead World or Enemies Of Reality by Nevermore and the chorus is so, so catchy. One Final Day (Sworn To Believe) is actually an acoustic driven track. It still features some electric guitar leads and drums, but Dane and the acoustic guitars drive this song. More upbeat than I am Low, so it's not really fair to call this one a ballad, just acoustic and awesome. Up next is The World is Wired. It starts with a lone guitar ala Judas Priest and leads to a nice mid tempo hard rocker filled with double bass and soaring vocals. The Dying Age is more somber and a bit slower track. In a way it almost feels like a track off Alice In Chain's self titled album (if it had a tinge double bass). The acoustic instrumental interlude, Ad Vitam Aetemam, fills up the next track. It progressively gets heavier and heavier until it unleashes into the title track The Year The Sun Died. The somber guitar continues in this song and helps give the song the most epic feeling in the entire album. The song is filled with despair and no hope, a great feeling for the entire album. The album closes with Waiting For The Sun. This is another song that kinda has that late 80's Power Thrash feel mixed with Alice In Chains (Seattle style) Hard Rock. A different ending than one would expect from Sanctuary, but a very nice fit.
The Year The Sun Died is a much different album than one would have expected from Sanctuary. It is a bit more diverse in sound (especially in the second half). It is filled with Power, Thrash, Hard Rock and great acoustic passages that makes this a fun listen. One thing to note about the entire album is that whenever Dane hits his infamous falsetto vocals, it is used more as background vocals, rather than in the forefront like the bands first two albums Refuge Denied and Into The Mirror are known for. Don't let that ruin it for you, those falsettos are still awesome! Now let's all hope for a full fledged 2015 Sanctuary World Tour!
Sanctuary- The Year The Sun Died available October 14th via Century Media
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)