SANCTUARY – The Year The Sun Died (CD)
Wow! Where do I begin, on Sanctuary’s comeback and new studio album, “The Year The Sun Died”? This album is everything that Sanctuary has been known to do since day one, and it’s 100% Sanctuary at its finest.
It has been a quarter century since Sanctuary released their most memorable and definitive album “Into The Mirror Black”, in 1989. “The Year The Sun Died” has not missed a beat since their last release, and only shows how far the band has come as songwriters and musicians, so all this time away from one another, with the exception of Warrel Dane and Jim Shepherd, who used to be in Nevermore, has only helped Sanctuary write and record their best release ever.
With heavy as hell thrash rhythms to heavy metal harmonies and riffing, Sanctuary offer their old time and new fans the best a heavy metal record can, and “The Year The Sun Died” just does that. “Arise And Purify” starts off this 50 minute opus with its thrash-laden rhythms, intricate riffing, and Dane’s hypnotic vocals are sure to suck you right into the turmoil of this song. “Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)” is heavy with its dark brooding rhythms yet very cryptic-sounding with Dane’s dynamic vocal changes here.
One song I was taken away to a far, far away deserted world, was “I am Low”, with its ballad-esque opening phrase, which then leads into heavy, darkened guitars and more aggressive vocals, with that cold, haunting feel and imagery still prevalent throughout this cut.
There are 11 songs on here, and the musical and vocal diversity makes this CD such a hit, with Warrel Dane’s interesting approach and range of delivery within his passionate singing style. Bassist Jim Shephard keeps the low-end thunder just right, and it feels like as if the Sun is really coming to its end here. Lead guitarist Lenny Rutledge just shreds away with the melodic leads and riffs, bringing to mind your brighter days gone by. Second guitarist Brad Hull (Formerly of Force Entry) plays his chops like there is no tomorrow. Drummer Dave Budbill plays his drums as if there is a tidal wave of sounds about to smash right into your face. With such talented musicians and songwriters onboard, it’s no surprise that Sanctuary is still thrashing away after being away for so darn long. “The Dying Age” has some memorable leads and harmonies as well as killer thrash driven passages towards the end of the track, which also brings to the mind the good old days of thrash metal music.
Last but not least, the title track “The Year The Sun Died” is a foreboding track with a nice acoustic intro, Dane’s mind soothing vocals get the apocalypse started, all the while the acoustic parts in the background still ring in your ears. The passionate singing makes this title track one of their most memorable cuts, and shows just how brilliant Sanctuary is as a band. This song also has some influences from their “Into The Mirror Black” album too. Their lyrics are very open to interpretation here, but definitely fit the cryptic emotions found on this CD.
Overall, this is got to be the best record this quintet has ever penned, and with every listen it grows on you like a bad addiction. Also a note of interest, it was produced, Engineered and Mixed by Zeuss, so you’re going to find the best sound quality possible. It is 110% Excellent. [Century Media] Sarjoo Devani