Reunions can either be something one dreads or something filled with plenty of anticipation. For reactivated legendary Seattle metal band, Sanctuary, and their legions of fans, it’s been the latter.
Sanctuary was formed in Seattle in 1985, they released two studio albums on Epic Records, Refuge Denied in 1987 and Into the Mirror Black in 1989. Worldwide touring with the likes of Megadeth, Warlock, Fates Warning and Death Angel, just to name a few, followed each album. Singer, Warrel Dane’s, sky high vocals combined with guitarist, Lenny Rutledge’s more mature take on classic thrash riffs separated Sanctuary from the throes of metal bands struggling to get noticed as at the time. Simply put, Sanctuary offered something fresh sounding in the muddled world of ‘80s thrash.
As any student of music history knows, by the time 1991 came to an end, the landscape of American heavy music looked completely different. Record labels, radio, MTV and just about everyone else involved in the industry abandoned the “M” word in favor of the “G” word. Sanctuary, was just hitting their stride and the plug was pulled. They found themselves without a record deal or much support anywhere so in 1992 they officially disbanded. Dane and Sanctuary bassist Jim Sheppard went on to form Nevermore with a newly recruited young guitar player from Wisconsin, Jeff Loomis, who was set to join Sanctuary right before its collapse.
Drummer David Budbill, guitarist Sean Blosi and Rutledge shied away from the music industry once Sanctuary dissolved awhile Nevermore released several acclaimed albums, headlined festivals all over the globe and are recognized as one of modern metal’s most influential bands, though towards its later years, inner turmoil found the band touring less, it’s members focusing on solo albums and eventually finding themselves on hiatus.
Sanctuary announced in 2010 that they would be reuniting and played metal festivals in both Europe and the US with the original line up save for Blosi. Former Forced Entry guitarist, Brad Hull stepped into to fill his shoes as a permanent touring and recording member. In early 2014, they entered Soundhouse Studios with producer, Zeuss (Whitechapel, Hatebreed), and almost 25 years later, picked up right where they have left off; progressing and pushing the boundaries of what metal is.
The Year The Sun Died isn’t some comeback album thrown out there to cash in on reunion hype and give the band something to tour in support of. It’s not a record one would expect to hear from Sanctuary to be perfectly honest. Given the fact that Rutledge, who wrote all the music with Dane, has essentially sat out the last quarter center of recording and playing music, some might question how he was able to write some of the most notable and striking metal songs heard in years. The Year The Sun Died is statement. It speaks to everyone who abandoned them and thought they were moving on to better things. It’s saying we’re still here, we never left and we never stopped believing or being.