To the very day, US metal legends SANCTUARY, formed back in 1985 are widely regarded as one of themost unique and captivating acts ever to emerge from Seattle, Washington. While Seattle gainedmassive global attention during the “grunge” boom of the 90s, it was also home to metal giants such as Queensrÿche, Metal Church, and SANCTUARY. The band’s 1988 debut album “Refuge Denied”,produced by none less than Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), quickly established the band as a householdname for high-class metal. Blending the best of British and American influences musically as well as having singer Warrel Dane’s unique soaring vocals and powerful lyrics, SANCTUARY were able to conquer fans all around the globe, upping the ante considerably when unleashing the darker, more refined masterpiece that is “Into The Mirror Black” in 1990. While the grunge style brought SANCTUARY’s commercial career to an unfortunate halt, the end of the band’s first phase meant the rise of Nevermore who released several much acclaimed albums via Century Media Records between 1995 and 2010. But the story of SANCTUARY was far from being over as the end of Nevermore in 2011 initiated the band’s successful rebirth!
In 2011, SANCTUARY celebrated its live comeback, performed at high profile festivals such as Wacken,Metalcamp, Bloodstock as well as on the 70.000 Tons Of Metal and Barge To Hell cruises. “The Year The Sun Died”, released in 2014, marked SANCTUARY’s very well received comeback album presented live on tours through Europe, Japan, and the United States. While currently hard at work on the much anticipated new studio album, SANCTUARY now unveil the previously announced “Inception”, which offers the unearthed and restored 1986 demo recordings done prior to “Refuge Denied”.
Guitarist Lenny Rutledge explains how these recordings were discovered: “I found the masters in my barn. It has two stories. The second floor is on top of our current recording studio that we call “Metal Camp”. The second floor is very rough and open to the elements. The ground level is where we recorded the bulk of “The Year The Sun Died”. We found the masters in an unknown box that was in the barn just wasting away.” Fortunately, Chris “Zeuss” Harris (Queensrÿche, Hatebreed) was able to magically restore, remix and remaster these tapes even though they were mouldy and wet. “When I was doing "The Year The Sun Died", I was talking with Lenny about the early days and we talked about the demo before “Refuge Denied”. He had it on a CD and played it for me. I was blown away at the rawness and the original versions of some of the songs that would be on that record. He mentioned that they still had the original multitrack tapes,” Zeuss explains how this project kicked off. “I got a call one day and Lenny said that he had discovered the tapes and had them transferred to digital. I was in the area working on the Queensrÿche album and stopped over to check it out. The recordings were still in decent shape. There were not many tracks recorded during those days. 7 of the 9 songs were only 16 tracks. The drums didn't even have any mics on the cymbals. The guitar tracks were minimal and sounded awful and there were very few vocal tracks. Some of the tracks even had dropouts of blank space. We agreed that we wanted it to sound as best as possible without taking away from the original vibe and vision of what the band had in 1985. After a year of mixing on and off we were able to resurrect these original demos. I hope everyone enjoys these recordings as much as I did working on them especially being a huge fan myself.” Recorded in March 1986 (“Soldiers Of Steel”, “Battle Angels”) at Triad Studios in Redmond, Washington and Studio One in White Center between April and July 1986, “Inception” offers such previously unreleased highlights as “Dream of The Incubus” and “I Am Insane” as well as several classic “Refuge Denied” songs that are burning with fervour and intensity. Apart from being expanded by art courtesy of Ed Repka (paying homage to his legendary “Refuge Denied” cover), “Inception” is filled to the brim with tons of rare photos, flyers, early art designs, sketches plus detailed liner notes allowing to delve deep into SANCTUARY’s history.
Lenny adds: “For me personally, I just wanted fans to be able to hear proper versions of the demos. They had a certain energy that was captured during the early days, maybe even more so than “Refuge Denied”. It’s no secret that you can find these on the internet but the quality is horrible. I think most people are under the impression that these are remastered versions of “Refuge…”, but this is all a prequel!” With several festivals already booked for 2017, a new album in the works, “Inception” being released, this shall be the year when past and future of SANCTUARY unite. Look forward to the next assault of the soldiers of steel!
- Warrel Dane: Vocals
- Lenny Rutledge: Guitar
- George Hernandez: Bass
- Dave Budbill: Drums
- Nick Cordle: Guitar (live)