Ahhh Seattle, home to some of the best Seafood, the Space Needle, the birth place of Grunge. . But how many of you knew that prior to bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Nirvana made it to the spotlight and took over radio waves there were a slew of Metal bands including the Power/Thrash Metal powerhouse that is Sanctuary?
I’m sure most of you are aware Sanctuary, is the first brainchild of Warrel Dane, Jeff Loomis, and Jim Sheppard; which after the band called it quits in 1992 they went on to form Nevermore. When we found out Sanctuary was in the works of a new album we jumped at the chance to receive a promotional copy for review. Now I won’t lie I was much more of a Nevermore fan myself, I came in late to the Sanctuary game, but everything I had heard I enjoyed thus far and “The Year The Sun Died” is no exception. With Nevermore on hiatus for now this is the perfect interlude between albums. “The Year The Sun Died” is a solid album from start to finish, almost seems as a continuation of “The Obsidian Conspiracy” not so much in story but musically.
With Jeff Loomis out of the picture (leaving in 2011), Lenny Rutledge really gets to show off his guitar skills. Rutledge and the rest of the band definitely do not disappoint kicking the album off with ‘Arise and Purify‘ (one of the teaser tracks released by the band) which showcases the high pitched King Diamond-esque singing during the chorus and a catchy as hell intro riff/ drum beat that is sure to get your head bobbing. While there are plenty of songs to get your whirl-winding your hair and breaking your neck like ‘Question Existence Fading‘ and the first single ‘Frozen‘, there are also songs that highlight the more melodic side of the band like ‘One Final Day (Sworn to Believe)‘ and ‘Exitium (Anthem of the Living)‘ which brings out some of Dane’s more slower almost menacing vocals.
It seems Dane is holding back in his vocals. While we all known he has grown and changed is styles since ’92, the album lacks the falsetto highs throughout. Sure it makes an appearance here and there, but not like it did in songs from “Refuge Denied” and “Into the Mirror Black” where it can be heard through out songs. . more than just a couple of words at least. Bring back that vocal style that stands you apart from Nevermore, we loved songs like ‘Battle Angels‘ and ‘Epitaph‘. While leaving that out doesn’t ruin the album, it just leaves you wanting more. However to the Nevermore fans, such as myself, that were upset with their disbanding back in 2011, I urge you to listen to this album without cracking a smile. The crunching guitars and monstrous drums that made up the Power Metal sound you love are all encompassing in this album!
The album is out in stores now, so what are you waiting for RUN or drive to your nearest Music Store and purchase what could be one of the top American Power Metal albums you buy this year!?!
Album Length: 54 min