It was the middle of the 80’s when this band blew out of blue and delivered one of the best ever heavy metal album entitled “Refuge Denied”, produced by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and released in 1987 by Epic Records. Afterward they toured with Megadeth and Warlock.
The band consisted of Warrel Dane (vocals), Lenny Rutledge (guitar), Sean Blosl (guitar), Jim Sheppard (bass) and Dave Budbill (drums), and they were from Seattle – just like another great band of those times, Queensryche. Actually “Refuge Denied” was a deadly explosive mixture of Iron Maiden type of European heavy metal, some subtle Queensryche flavors and power, respectively speed metal grindings. And, not at least, the Warrel Dane type of blood-freezing high pitch screams. It was perfect!
Their second album, “Into the Mirror Black” was released in Europe in 1989, while the US version came out the one year later. “Mirror Black” was a darker, slower, eventually more Queensryche style of progressive metal related album. A video clip for the song “Future Tense” was made and received some airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. During the tour – with Fates Warning, Forbidden and Death Angel – guitarist Sean Blosl left the band and he was replaced by Jeff Loomis.
Their bad luck was called grunge. That new genre made their hometown more famous then Jimi Hendrix ever did and unfortunately they had a record deal with a major label which over-night wanted to turn them into a Pearl Jam copy. The pressure form the record label and tensions inside the band lead in 1992, Sanctuary to officially disbanded.
But the story actually didn’t ended there. Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard and Jeff Loomis formed a new band called Nevermore in the same year. Dave Budbill lives in Florida, and he is currently the drummer for Alive Inside. Sean Blosl is creating music and film through Golden Flower Media, while Lenny Rutledge became a musical producer, and has his own studio. Lenny actually helped Nevermore on the demo sessions of their 1998 third album, “Dreaming Neon Black”.
Nevermore released 7 studio albums between 1995 and 2010: Nevermore (1995), The Politics of Ecstasy (1996), Dreaming Neon Black (1999), Dead Heart in a Dead World (2000), Enemies of Reality (2003), This Godless Endeavor (2005) and The Obsidian Conspiracy (2010). Nevermore getting further darker and heavier. They sound incorporates elements from a variety of metal sub-genres from thrash metal and power metal to groove, progressive and even some death metal intensity moments.
In 2011, founding members Jeff Loomis and Van Williams announced their departure from Nevermore citing personal and musical differences and also it was announced that Nevermore had canceled their entire Australian tour. Later same year Warrel Dane announced that Nevermore is not dead, but right now his main focus is to reuniting to record a new Sanctuary album. While Blosl is currently working on a film called Into the Heart of Shiva, he was not able to be part of the the reunion and he was replaced by former Forced Entry guitarist Brad Hull.
In January 2013 Sanctuary got a deal with Century Media.
The band’s third studio album and their first studio album in 25 years, “The Year the Sun Died”, was finally released in 2014 on October 14 in North America and October 6 in Europe.
The only question was that if Warrel Dane can still hit those famous high notes he did in Sanctuary’s early days?
Well, on this album he did not hit those notes, but that do not make the new album less intense!
Part of the promotional effort, they released the video to their track, Frozen, The track comes off their upcoming album, The Year The Sun Died, the video was and filmed in Germany with director, Dirk Behlau.
Guitarist, Lenny Rutledge comments: “This video shoot was a blast. The location was an abandoned coal mine processing plant near Essen Germany. You can see many bizarre birdcage size baskets hanging from the ceiling. There were thousands of them. We were told that they were some type of “laundry management devices”. They appear as something much more creepy and ominous in my opinion. Almost as if they were some sort of medieval torture devices. The entire building seemed to have a very haunting vibe.”
01. Arise And Purify
02. Let The Serpent Follow Me
03. Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)
04. Question Existence Fading
05. I Am Low
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
12. Waiting For The Sun (The Doors Cover, Limited Edition bonus track)
Warrel Dane (Warrel Dane, ex-Nevermore, ex-Serpent’s Knight) – Vocals
Lenny Rutledge – Guitars
Jim Sheppard (ex-Nevermore) – Bass
Dave Budbill (Alive Inside) – Drums
Brad Hull (ex-Forced Entry, Blistered Earth, ex-L.S. Diablo, ex-Critical Condition, ex-Sac Lunch, ex-Soblivios, ex-THUG) – Guitars
Order Sanctuary “The Year The Sun Died” on Century Media Records now!!!
Well, this is probably not “Refuge Denied 2”, but it’s a consistent heavy/power metal album mixing most of the strong elements which made both Sanctuary and Nevermore irresistible and “The Year The Sun Died” it’s an album to keep! Bang your head and scream – high as you can!
Sanctuary – Facebook