Album Reviews

Sanctuary – The Year the Sun Died Review


Released by: Century Media

Release Date: October 14th, 2014

Genre: Heavy Metal



Line Up:

Warrel Dane – Vocals
Lenny Rutledge – Guitar
Brad Hull – Guitars
Jim Sheppard – Bass
Dave Budbill – Drums


01. Arise And Purify
02. Let The Serpent Follow Me
03. Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)
04. Question Existence Fading
05. I Am Low
06. Frozen
07. One Final Day (Sworn To Believe)
08. The World Is Wired
09. The Dying Age
10. Ad Vitam Aeternam
11. The Year The Sun Died


Sanctuary is one of those bands that as a whole probably didn’t make as drastic an impact on the metal world as some others, but in my life from the moment I heard their debut album Refuge Denied they quickly became an important band in my metal world. I distinctly recall getting the tape not long after it was released. I had heard all of the buzz in regards to it (produced by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and their metal cover of the Jefferson Airplane classic “White Rabbit” most notably,) but wanted to hear it for myself. By the time of its release in 1988 I had heard some epic albums that would lay the groundwork for some legendary careers and set the metal world on a trajectory into the stratosphere, but there was something special about Sanctuary. With Warrel Dane’s insane voice you had enough to make it an album worth checking out just to witness that, but not only did this man have a set of pipes the band were incredible, the music was heavy

yet melodic, and the songs were absolutely brilliant. Even the follow-up a couple years later Into the Mirror Black was another massive offering of heavy metal awesomeness, then just as quick they broke up and faded into virtual obscurity. Out of the ashes of this band, however, Nevermore was born, and frankly Sanctuary became one of the few bands of the late 80’s to latch onto a new sound and kept themselves relevant as this new band.

Much to my surprise it was announced that not only would Sanctuary be reuniting, but would also be releasing their first new album in 24 years. Since the news was released I have anxiously anticipated hearing it. Any spoilers that were out there I avoided like the plague because I wanted to hear this whole album to make an informed judgment on it. Would the years be good to Dane’s voice? Sure, he has still been one of the best voices on the metal scene, but some of the stuff he did back in the day was incredibly high, and age has a tendency to rob singers with high registers sadly. When I got a copy of it in my hot chubby hands I was beyond ecstatic. Two observations jumped out at me immediately as soon as the music started: 1. this is a great album and 2. It sounds more like a Nevermore album than an actual Sanctuary record. The reason I say that is the album tends to be a lot heavier and darker than Sanctuary was. One thing I always loved about those

two Sanctuary albums was the fact that they were heavy as hell yet not devoid of melody. They had a bouncing groove to their music that appealed to me. Having said that The Year the Sun Died is a brutally intense album that melds Sanctuary and Nevermore seemingly into one entity. There are moments on the album that slightly bring back that original sound like the song “Frozen,” but most of the music is rooted in a different direction. Dane’s voice is still as powerful and looming as ever, but there aren’t a lot of instances he goes for that ball twisting heights he was known for. Again, that’s not a knock though. His voice is so great he doesn’t have to rely on that, for lack of a better word, gimmick. Though I’m not hearing any truly “throwback” type songs I’m actually happy about that. Otherwise chances are I would be complaining that the band wasn’t doing anything different. And not to go without doing an unlikely cover, they bring out a dirge metal version of The Doors “Waiting For the Sun.”

I want to emphasize that The Year the Sun Died is an amazing album befitting of the Sanctuary name, even if it has more Nevermore tendencies. Both bands are two of my favorites and I’m just happy to get new music of this caliber. Fans already of either band will have no problems loving this album as much as I. I can also see it bringing in new fans easily. People that are expecting a total throwback album may initially be disappointed, but put that aside and just enjoy it.


Written by Chris Martin

Ratings    Chris    9/10

Tell Us How You Feel