Sanctuary are one incredible power metal band from Seattle, WA lead by the powerhouse vocals of Warrel Dane! They broke up after only releasing two studio albums and a rare live ep, but have reformed under the name Nevermore playing an even more intense brand of technical power metal.

Refuge Denied Sanctuary - Refuge Denied (Epic) 1988

1. Battle Angels (4:52)
2. Termination Force (3:38)
3. Die for My Sins (3:40)
4. Soldiers of Steel (5:30)
5. Sanctuary (3:57)
6. White Rabbit (3:10)
7. Ascension to Destiny (4:57)
8. The Third War (3:52)
9. Veil of Disguise (5:55)
1. Battle Angels (4:30)
2. Die for My Sins (3:37)
3. Soldiers of Steel (5:24)
4. Veil of Disguise (5:43)
5. Sanctuary (3:54)
6. White Rabbit (3:07)
7. Termination Force" (3:49)
8. Ascension to Destiny (4:52)
9. The Third War (3:47)

I was in college when this record was released. Somehow my roommate managed to score a promo copy, split 12" record of Sanctuary and Fifth Angel. All I remember from that record was being completely blown away by the song "Battle Angels" by Sanctuary. That song became one of my all time favorite metal tunes ranking up there with the likes of "Queen of the Ryche" and "Fast as a Shark." "Fall on your knees, and hail to our dawn, Crawl on your knees, the slaughter is on!" It is a heavy metal song for the ages.

I can't really put a label on this band, as they incorporate bits of speed metal and thrash and are heavy as can be, but their music is much too melodic to be considered thrash. "Refuge Denied" is over-the-top, thunderous, heavy metal with extremely high vocals! Warrell Dane's unearthly wails shattering glass for miles around. His vocal performance here would never again be repeated in the future, making "Refuge Denied" a very unique album. "Termination Force", "Die for My Sins" and the eponymous "Sanctuary" are all standout cuts, though I find the entire album to be a solid listen from beginning to end. The album was produced by Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), who also makes a guest appearance performing the guitar solo on the band's cover of "White Rabbit".

I own both the vinyl and CD versions of "Refuge Denied". The track listing on the original CD and vinyl releases are different. Both share the same songs, but the songs are in a different order. I first owned the vinyl version and made myself a cassette copy to play in my car. I played that cassette over and over again. When I finally upgraded to a CD version, it sounded odd to me as the album didn't quite flow the way I had been accustomed to.

One last thing...this may be a rumor, but I had read that the name of this album was some sort of reaction to the Sanctuary Church in California who catered to metal fans and whose slogan was "The Rock 'n' Roll Refuge

Labyrinth has covered "Die for My Sins"

Into the Mirror Black Sanctuary - Into The Mirror Black (Epic) 1990

1."Future Tense" (5:07)
2."Taste Revenge" (5:03)
3."Long Since Dark" (5:05)
4."Epitaph" (6:03)
5."Eden Lies Obscured" (5:23)
6."The Mirror Black" (5:06)
7."Seasons of Destruction" (4:51)
8."One More Murder" (4:20)
9."Communion" (5:40)

"Into The Mirror Black" is a foreboding, dark, US power metal album. For Sanctuary's follow-up to the incredible "Refuge Denied", vocalist Warrel Dane toned down the helium fueled vocals just a bit, using more lower range vocals and mixing them with those unearthly high shrieks. As with the debut, the band weaves songs together using bits of speed metal and traditional heavy metal. However, the over all vibe of "Into the Mirror Black" is a more progressive than the debut.

"Future Tense" is an incredible song, and was the song chosen as a single for the album. I don't know that the single did much for the band, but they did record a video for the song. Epic also put out a very rare promotional CD for the song that also included five live cuts titled "Into the Mirror Live/Black Reflections". "Taste Revenge" is another standout cut. The song is a galloping, heavy, classic metal number with a double-bass led thrash vibe chorus and gang vocals. "Season of Destruction" is another dark, fast and furious song that could very well be my favorite track from the album. I've often heard people compare this album to Queensryche. If that be the case, this is the direction I wish Queensryche would have taken following their extraordinary EP. They were never quite this heavy or this dark. In a word, "Into the Mirror Black" is EXCELLENT! One of the greatest heavy metal albums ever released.

I was able to find this original Epic CD pressing in the bargain bins for under $10. Only a few years after I picked it up, it suddenly became one of those discs people were clamoring to collect and would consistently sell for premium prices on Ebay. In 2010 both "Refuge Denied" and "Into the Mirror Black" were re-released in a single package. I'll stick with my original CD and vinyl pressings.

After Sanctuary toured to support this record, the band broke up and the singer Warrell Dane, bassist Jim Sheppard and touring guitarist Jeff Loomis went to form Nevermore.

Into the Mirror Black Live Sanctuary - Into the Mirror Live/Black Reflections (Epic) 1990

1. "Future Tense" (5:07)
2. "Long Since Dark" [live] (5:20)
3. "Battle Angels" [live] (5:00)
4."One More Murder" [live] (3:47)
5."White Rabbit" [live] (5:30)
6."Taste Revenge" [live] (5:00)

Recorded live at Reseda's Country Club on May 12, 1990. This disc was originally released only as promotional disc in very limited quantities by Epic Records. It was highly sought after by collector's, including myself, and consistantly sold for $50 or mor on eBay. For years I had the crappy Reborn Classics bootleg of this CD that excluded the album track "Future Tense" and was split with the band Satan's Host. I finally secured a copy of the original Epic promo version of this CD thanks to a good friend in Germany. (thanks Olaf) Warrell Dane rules! He is absolutely one of the greatest metal voices ever.

Back to Index