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Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died

The Year The Sun Died
by Aaron "Five Magics" Price at 25 September 2014, 12:30 AM

After an album in 1987, another in 1989, breaking up in 1992, Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard and their well known touring guitarist Jeff Loomis forming the band NEVERMORE, reforming SANCTUARY and finally releasing a new album after 25 years, even if they broke up before I was even conceived I'm very, very excited for this release. The first time I heard SANCTUARY was when their song "Battle Angels" from the debut album "Refuge Denied" came on in the game Brutal Legends, and since then with insanity of how thrash they were but having better Power Metal vocals than most legendary Power Metal bands have, I've been hooked. Needless to say, after hearing that song I went and found everything I could, which was only "Refuge Denied", and the last album, "Into The Mirror Black", skip ahead a couple years where I still listen to "Refuge Denied" 5-6 times a week, this release is a big deal to me. Now, enough with the back-stories this is a review and you all want to know what to expect here.

"The Year The Sun Died" is coming through Century Media Records who home a ton of great bands that we all know. "Arise And Purify" was released a while back and made this album worth waiting for; the track was great and it opens the album, what a bonus. The issue with an amazing track opening the album is every song afterwards has to be just as good or better. I'll tell you right now, almost every song will live up to this expectation, some songs do start to sound alike from the style they're written in, but those songs aren't put back to back luckily. "Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)" and "Frozen" are an example of this, the songs can sound alike in some sections simply because the tempo of the song and the way the lyrics are presented are alike, but both songs are killer and feature incredible riffs, solos and are a great example, that after all these years, Warrel Dane can still sing better than most musicians (and all pop sensations). "The World Is Wired", I found to be one of the best songs on the album, the intro is almost a "Deceiver Of The Gods" style of humming slow building guitar before a kick ass riff jumps in and knocks the whole thing into a higher gear. Now to be honest, every time I read the title of this song, I always read "The World is Wired", and my first thought is, "thanks SANCTUARY, I couldn't have figured that one out myself." "Ad Vitam Aeternam" is a minute and a half instrumental leading into the final and title track, the song title means "To Eternal Life" or more loosely "Forever" in Latin. The transition from this instrumental into "The Year The Sun Died" is flawless, you wouldn't notice if it wasn't for the fact that a heavier riff comes in, as well as vocals. The title track is a slower track for the most part, the lyrics make you question life and what you're doing (says the guy who's sitting here talking about it), and makes you think "what if the world ended tomorrow?" The way they make you feel like its happening currently is spectacular and it's hard to think that this is the same SANCTUARY that covered JEFFERSON AIRPLANE's coke inspired song "White Rabbit" taking a whole, more serious but very fantasy inspired subject and turning it into an amazing song to close out an incredible album. Not to mention the solos in this song, although not over the top and as in your face, they're definitely worth noting.

As the final note rings out and the album ends, I think how do I rate this album? It’s a great album and I love the band that's for sure. The songs are all amazing and some would be great to see live. That's where I saw it, some. A lot of this album is amazing, some will agree, some will disagree. This album is more for fans of "Into The Mirror Black" than it is for fans of "Refuge Denied" which is totally fine; take that into consideration when you pick this up. If this is your first SANCTUARY album, keep it that way don't spoil it and look up the other stuff yet, trust me. This has influences from both albums and even a few from NEVERMORE, look that stuff up after you pick up this spectacular piece of work.

4 Star Rating

1. Arise And Purify
2. Let The Serpent Follow Me
3. Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)
4. Question Existence Fading
5. I Am Low
6. Frozen
7. One Final Day (Sworn To Believe)
8. The World Is Wired
9. The Dying Age
10. Ad Vitam Aeternam
11. The Year The Sun Died
Warrel Dane - Vocals
Brad Hull - Guitars
Lenny Rutledge - Guitars
Jim Sheppard - Bass
Dave Budbill - Drums
Record Label: Century Media


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Edited 20 September 2019

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