Power of Metal.dk Review

The Year the Sun Died
Style: U.S. Metal
Release date: 6 October, 2014
Playing time: 49:50

After the split of Nevermore, the call for a reunion of Sanctuary got louder and louder. In 2010 the band started with some gigs in the U.S. and came to Europe in 2011 playing Wacken and in Greece. A lot of bands stick to playing live again and never start writing a new album, not Sanctuary. They took the time to write good songs before releasing this 'The Year the Sun Died'. Their first two albums 'Refuge Denied' and 'Into the Mirror Black' are still two of the best albums of the eighties and writing a new album is always a risk because fans expect at least the same quality.

The main songwriters are of course Lenny Rutledge and Warrel Dane and the last wrote lyrics with a real concept story. The main character in the story is Leonore, a prophet preaching the end of the world. The CD will contain a booklet with some liner notes in between the songs making the story clearer. With Jim Sheppard (bass) and Dave Budbill (drums) two of the other original members got back on board. With Brad Hull on guitar the line-up is completed.

Now on to the music. For me it is all I wished for and they have met my high expectations. Dramatic melodic metal with a lot of melancholy and songs from slow to mid-tempo to a bit faster. The riffs are great and often have a very threatening character. The soli on the album are very melodic and there is a lot of variety. Perhaps there are some metal fans that try to compare the band with Nevermore, but the only big equality is the voice of Warrel. The last Nevermore albums had intense riffs, with complex patterns and rather techinical musicianship. In the Sanctuary songs leave much more room for the fantastic voice of Warrel, and there is more melody and the guitars sound lower. If you really want to compare the band with Nevermore, you have to think more of the first Nevermore album and not what is written later on. Perhaps the solo album of Warrel (2008) is a better comparison.

The first track "Arise and Purify" starts with a nice thrash sounding riff and has a contagious melodic refrain, "Let the Serpent Follow Me" continues a bit in the same tempo, then slows down and again an excellent melodic singing part follows. "Exitium" is a slower song with a lot of drama and melancholy elements. "Question Existence Fading" has a real U.S. metal riff and again a slower singing part. "I Am Low" has a kind of Iced Earth influence and varies accoustic parts, with some thrash riffing. The album continues on the same high level and has with "The Dying Age" (with some riffs reminding a bit of Metallica's black album) and "The Year the Sun Died" two great finishing epic tracks. But before that the softest track "One Final Day" and one of the heaviest tracks "The World is Wired" please your ears. It certainly isn't a coincidence that the title track is the last song of the album. Although all songs are very strong and well written tracks, all elements that Sanctuary stands for are explored at its best in that epic song. Just listen to the melodic singing of Warrel and you will be convinced.

Sanctuary is back and with an album that will please the fans from the eighties as well as the (early) Nevermore fans. If you like Warrel Dane's solo album he released in 2008, you can also spend some money to buy one of the best albums of 2014.

01. Arise and Purify
Let the Serpent Follow Me
Exitium (Anthem of the Living)
Question Existence Fading
I Am Low
One Final Day (Sworn to Believe)
The World is Wired
09. The Dying Age
10. Ad Vitam Aeternam
11. The Year the Sun Died
Label: Century Media
Distribution: Universal (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Reinier de Vries
Date: 5 October, 2014
Website: www.facebook.com/sanctuaryfans