It seems almost surreal to think it has been over 20 years since Seattle’s Sanctuary split, with each member heading off in new directions. Nearly a quarter century has passed since the release of the band’s last album, the classic, Into the Mirror Black. This week, Metalholic connected with frontman Warrel Dane and guitarist Lenny Rutledge to talk about the band’s reunion, the brand new record, and the path that brought them back together.
On October 14 (Oct. 6 in Europe) Sanctuary will unleash The Year the Sun Died, the band’s first album since 1990. The new record finds Dane and Rutledge back in the studio with original bassist Jim Sheppard and drummer Dave Budbill. Only guitarist Sean Blosi, who left the band before its 18 year split, opted out to focus on his film work. Former Forced Entry guitarist, Brad Hull, who filled in after Blosi’s departure, returns to round out the modern line-up.
Sanctuary reformed for live dates in 2010, and the new record has been building by riff and melody ever since. Offers Dane of The Year the Sun Died:
“I think it sounds very similar to Into the Mirror Black, but I think it’s also a progression from that sound. It’s more dynamic. It’s more mature. I can really not see any die-hard fans from the first two records not liking this. I’ve got a sense of braggadocio right now: This record fuckin’ rocks!”
Rutledge picks up the tale and talks about the production by Chris “Zeuss” Harris (Shadows Fall, Crowbar, Chimaira, Whitechapel):
“One thing that a lot of people notice too is the production. The production definitely stands on its own. It’s modern. It’s today. That’s one thing we’re very proud of.”
“The guitar sound is really, really fucking good. Zeuss did an amazing job. The funny thing is, he’s known for doing metalcore and all that stuff, but he really did a great job on this.”
Lenny and Warrel talk about the band’s songwriting process for this record. Much of the material is brand new, but Lenny admits that he’s had a few of the riffs and ideas floating around for a while including the crux of the track, “One Final Day (Sworn To Believe)”.
The guitar work on the new record is amazing and Rutledge talked about the addition of fellow guitarist Brad Hull:
“He contributed a lot of really cool stuff to the recording. One thing I wanted was somebody who had a little bit of a different take on the way they present themselves as a guitar player. I have kind of a harmonic minor and pentatonic type of vibe. Brad has a little more exotic feel to it, and that’s definitely what I was looking for. I didn’t want someone who was just like me.”
Dane, who writes all of the lyrical content for the songs talked about the thematic explorations addressed on The Year the Sun Died:
“It’s a concept record. I’m not lying anymore. It’s about the doom prophet named Lenore who predicts the death of the sun. When you read the liner notes, it’s kind of like [Nevermore’s] Dreaming Neon Black where you’ll get the story more. I kind of want to let the story expand slowly–but everyone dies! Including the family dog. (laughs)”
They guys also share the story behind the album artwork; the making of their new video for the track, “Frozen”, and reveal which television series they’d like to appear in. Catch the full interview below and get ready for The Year the Sun Died, this October.