more reviews: for metalized SANCTUARY


true light

Sanctuary --- Into The Mirror Black --- 1990
Review by Eric

I used to describe the sound of Sanctuary as a mix between Metallica and Queensryche, but that's inaccurate. Years later, I've realized that though Sanctuary only released two cds (Refuge Denied and Into The Mirror Black), that they had their own sound. Into The Mirror Black is a journey through mysticism and darkness. Vocalist Warrel Dane is the mastermind behind this release (he is currently in Nevermore). In Eden Lies Obscured, the volume gradually builds, combining a heavy guitar part with melodic (sometimes haunting) vocals. The memorable guitar solos are noteworthy. Taste Revenge and Seasons Of Destruction are metal songs in full throttle. Future Tense has a chorus that you'll sing before, during, and after work. The Mirror Black is a ballad that covers new ground (words cannot describe this song). One of my top ten releases of all-time.

Favorite Cuts:
Eden Lies Obscured, The Mirror Black, Future Tens

SANCTUARY: 1. A sacred place, such as a church, temple or mosque. 2. A place of refuge, asylum or protection. (From Latin sanctuarium.
I wish these guys had put out more than two albums. They are the kind of band that I would prefer if they were still around too. Warrel Dane's vocal style is like no other. He has the "wake up and listen to me" voice ! "Refuge Denied", their first album was produced by Dave Mustaine (which I think is pretty interesting). Dave also provides some backing vocals and the guitar solo on 'White Rabbit'. (I also think I am the only one who can hear the Dave Mustaine influence in this album.) The guitars have that steely crunching sound while the drums provide a barrage of thunder to entirely wrap the listener up in a blanket of sound. They have some slower parts and then pummel the listener with thrashy, fast guitar and drum work. I had previously incquired as to who was the original writer of White Rabbit and someone so graciously informed me it was Jefferson Airplane, seeing as I'd love to hear the original I'll be looking for JA in the future. Their second album (with the same line up) is called Into the Mirror Black. My favorite songs off this album are Future Tense, Epitaph and The Mirror Black. This one follows in the same musicianship as the previous but with better guitar solos, especially on the song 'Taste Revenge'. The lyrics for both albums revolve around topics such as: what the future holds, power, religion, money/greed, drugs and anger/hatred. Lyrically, the band improved on "Into the Mirror Black". Both albums are must haves in my opinion especially if you like NEVERMORE. Warrel Dane is amazing when it comes to powerful lyrics and conveying them using a voice like no other.

Submitted by John (6/12/01):
Is there really a fool in the world who can deny how good these guys were? Although, the second CD, Into The Mirror Black, was a gazillion times better, this is still a classic and should be sought, hear why everyone shouts "Battle Angels" at every Nevermore show.

Submitted by The Metal Swammie (5/17/00):
In the mid-to-later-eighties, metal was quite enigmatic. Metal Church, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer all sold their souls for the best albums of their career. Sanctuary was the stray pup of the era. Produced by the late "metal god" Dave Mustaine. His status has since been reduced to "Metal Plummer." Sanctuary took a new angle to the metal drawingboard. Power riffs from hell, and the unreal vocal range of Warrel Dane. Refined in an angst-ridden blast furnace. Refuge was severely denied by the sheer force of the tracks. "Battle Angels," "Die for My Sins," and even the hippie anthem "White Rabbit" was transformed into a gem of marvelous velocity. Simply put, a perfect debut, from a band that would only record one more album together, then splinter into the nearly-as-phenomenal Nevermore.

Submitted by Cenotaph (2/14/00):
I read an interview way back where Warrel Dane stated his performance on this record was done in the highest pitch vocal he could reach to prove he could reach the loftiest pinnacle of all metal vocalist's. I believe he achieved his goal on this metallic opus of class and fury. "Battle Angels" is encrusted in the metal crown as one of the all time metal classics & "White Rabbit" is my favorite metal cover tune. Check out the live version on the rare cd Into the Mirror Live (Black Reflections) for the added unreal intro. A release from much-compared-to bands Queensryche and Maiden could never attain the vocal or technical prowess of Sanctuary. An awesome debut which has evolved into one of the shining metal groups of the 21st century, "Nevermore".

Submitted by Anthony Syme (2/3/00):
Bands like Hammerfall and Iced Earth have earned credit lately for upholding what many have called "true" metal. Personally, I find the term kind of dumb, as no one would ever admit to playing "false" metal, but if "true" metal has an earlier incarnation, Refuge Denied is probably a good example. Refuge is unmistakably METAL in its design. The marriage of Warrel Dane's angel-of-death vocals, mythological/apocalyptic lyrics, and technical, formal sounding guitar riffs make no mistake as to what genre this record belongs to. There are obvious comparisons to Queensryche and Iron Maiden, but Sanctuary is much more of a power metal band, taking certain neo-classical tendencies and giving them a much more violent, "onwards to Valhalla" feel. The guitar riffs are intense and driving, and remind me of the Gothenburg-style death that was to come, particularly in "Die For My Sins." The musicians here are obviously very talented, but they avoid any typical "progressive" trappings and focus on solid songwriting rather than impressing you with overly long instrumental breaks or solos. The cover of "White Rabbit" is an unusual selection, but this powerful rendition makes you forget about Jefferson Airplane altogether. Dane's high-pitched banshee wailing can be tedious at times, but Refuge is a classic just for the vocal performance. The intro to "Veil" is one of metal's shining moments, and is a testament to Dane's place among the metal gods as a wielder of both power and grace. Although I believe Nevermore is a superior act to Sanctuary, this record stands as a progressive/power metal gem.