Sanctuary
The Year the Sun Died


3.7
great

Review

by Voivod STAFF
October 14th, 2014 | 32 replies


Release Date: 10/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Past tense to future tense.

Sanctuary’s dissolution in the early ‘90s can be seen as an event analogous to the sudden and untimely passing of a human being. The band begun touring the world for Into The Mirror Black as another prominent ambassador of thinking man’s metal, only to suddenly find out that it (and in extent, the whole early ‘90s Seattle metal scene) had been assessed as a relic by fans, labels and the music press. “Overnight”, Sanctuary found themselves in the middle of a really unsettling situation, as apart from the unfortunate turn of events in the music industry with the rise of grunge, internal conflicts arose due to personal differences as well.

The only alternatives for Sanctuary were to continue existing in the underground or to disband for good. The latter option was chosen, while Dane and Sheppard went on and formed Nevermore. When the latter were put on an indefinite hiatus sometime in 2011, Sanctuary started socializing and jamming (without guitarist Sean Blosl) anew, and all of them thought that there were enough reasons to re-introduce the band to the world. If anything, Sanctuary’s come back album The Year The Sun Died has come to speak in favor of the band’s disposition.

The new album comes as a custom mix of the previous Sanctuary full lengths and beefs things up, firstly by exploiting all the really useful perks modern sound recording technology has to offer. The album’s sound is extremely intense, atmospheric and “deep”. Admittedly, producer Chris Harris did an excellent job, although the other bands he has worked with (Suicide Silence, Hatebreed, Chimaira) are far from Sanctuary’s kind of metal. Regarding the musical part, The Year The Sun Died carries the band’s heavy/power metal legacy alone, while adopting a more dystopic character than its predecessor. The arrangements refrain from being convoluted or decorated with shredder level musicianship (save for some lead guitars by Rutledge/Hull and Budbill’s moderately technical drumming). That’s in contrast to those who expected Sanctuary to plagiarize old Sanctuary or take a serious loan from the legitimate “metal know-how” Dane and Sheppard accumulated as part of Nevermore.

Apart from the thrashy heavy/power metal elements, the album has a few other intricacies at display. The few doomy passages evident in Into The Mirror Black, have grown into complete songs, not too far from the ethics of the respective metal genre. The most representative examples are “I Am Low” and the self-titled song, with the latter lying easily among the album’s best material. Moreover, Sanctuary throw in songs like “The Dying Age” and the Doors cover “Waiting For The Sun”, which hint at that laid back/atmospheric/transcendental heavy rock that Warrior Soul brought with their debut album. The diversity of The Year The Sun Died is noteworthy; however the rather abrupt ups and lows from song to song and some less effective or even “incomplete” (“One Final Day”) arrangements, somewhat lower the album’s merit. The said adversities are compensated by Dane’s fantastic low end/stentorian vocal performance (the author of this review can’t help wondering why people are asking him to take his pitch to the sky all the time), the intense rhythm section of Budbill/Sheppard, and the excellent guitars of Rutledge/Hull.

The best way to summarize Sanctuary’s reunion is the chorus of the Doors cover that concludes the album:

Waiting for you to come along
Waiting for you to hear my song
Waiting for you to come along
Waiting for you to tell me what went wrong


All this time, long time die-hard fans waited for Sanctuary to come back, Sanctuary members waited each other to make things right, and a great new album is waiting to be discovered by the new breed of metal enthusiasts. And, unlike the album’s loose concept, where the death of the sun is foreseen and preached by the dark female figure of Lenore, it is sincerely hoped that no other “prophet” than life or the band members themselves, will come to set the limits on Sanctuary's life span.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2014


6340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Arise And Purify - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dywhFx-piIE

Exitium (Anthem Of The Living) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI07kqOoLLA

Frozen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_IrbeZfJII





Constructive criticism is more than welcome.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

emester
October 13th 2014


4377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

was a bit underwhelmed by this but it turned out pretty damn good after a few spins

Digging: Skelator - King of Fear

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2014


6340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Album definitely has some flaws, but its strong points are so strong that they tend to conceal the weak ones up to a certain extent.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2014


19067 Comments


gotta check this whole thing, sanctuary/nevermore used to be my favorite bands back before the internet.

good review. although im a bit confused by the first paragraph. do you mean that they fell out of favor with the rise of grunge or something else? its a bit vague and seeing as how i dont really remember how they disbanded i cant put two and two together.

Digging: Objekt - Objekt #2

emester
October 13th 2014


4377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album really ends on a weak note imo. First 2 tracks on here rule hard

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2014


6340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Yeah, the rise of grunge made the label - Capitol Records - to drop them. But disbandment came as a result of interpersonal conflicts that had little to do with the rise of grunge. At least, that's what Sanctuary have said in a recent interview for Metal Hammer Greece.


Edit:

Ok, I edited the first paragraph.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2014


19067 Comments


gotcha, i had forgotten they got dropped mid tour.

ComeToDaddy
October 13th 2014


395 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't ever listened to Sanctuary, even though I've spent my fair share of time jamming Nevermore. Will definitely listen to this

Review made me feel for a band I've never even heard, really well written. Would pos if I could

Digging: Taake - Stridens hus

manosg
October 14th 2014


6705 Comments


Great review Voivod. I'm really curious to listen to this one and surprised that they included a cover of "Waiting for the Sun".

Digging: Whitesnake - Slide It In

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2014


6340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Thanks man. I have the mediabook version of the album in which the Doors cover exists as a bonus song.

Also, you should check that Warrior Soul album, it was a big surprise to hear its vibes in here.

ResidentNihilist
October 14th 2014


1189 Comments


well written review but flows quite awkwardly and feels static as all hell in places like you're just stating facts in succession rather than trying to get everything to flow together. For example:

'The best way to summarize Sanctuary’s reunion is the chorus of the Doors cover that concludes the album:

Waiting for you to come along
Waiting for you to hear my song
Waiting for you to come along
Waiting for you to tell me what went wrong'

The lead in feels really clunky and you could rephrase that or get rid of it altogether as it's doing nothing but stating the obvious.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2014


1922 Comments


I saw Sanctuary at Bloodstock back in 2012 and the new songs they played sounded pretty decent. From what I've heard people are actually hearing a strong Nevermore influence here (which is probably inevitable), but I guess I'll see for myself.

Excellent review as always Voivod, just one thing I thought I'd note:

"more dystopic character than its predecessor The arrangements refrain from being convoluted or decorated with shredder level musicianship"

I think there should be a full stop between "predecessor" and "The".

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions

KjSwantko
October 14th 2014


9448 Comments


Solid review, my brother. Might give this a jam out of curiosity of Dane and Sheppard.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2014


20158 Comments


I dig refuge denied and into the mirror black so i'll have to check this out later

Digging: Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050

emester
October 14th 2014


4377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

LET THE SERPENT FOLLOW MEEEEEEEE

scissorlocked
October 14th 2014


3511 Comments


yesyesyesyesyeysyeysyes

this review is like a present - i'm so glad you did it bro!


Digging: Low Roar - Low Roar

bloc
October 14th 2014


35024 Comments


This is quite good. Digging the clean production on it and the vocals are top notch. Sounds like a Nevermore album pretty much

toomanyxsinmyname
October 15th 2014


506 Comments


production is great and I like the vocals

Winsomniac
October 15th 2014


8014 Comments


broc would I like dis?

Digging: Submotion Orchestra - Alium

bloc
October 15th 2014


35024 Comments


Hmm that's an interesting question. From what I know about you, I don't think so but check this out, it's one of the singles. You might just surprise me : )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI07kqOoLLA



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