25 Years is a long time to wait for an album but for fans of US power metallers Sanctuary that is how long they have been waiting for this; album number three The Year The Sun Died. Well this October the wait is finally over as that album as it finally gets it release but has it been worth the wait?
Well it certainly begins well; ‘Arise And Purify’ opens the record in an impressive way with a huge riff and drums that sound thunderous. It’s a confident opener (it even throws in a guitar solo before the first verse is even sang) and shows that the band have not missed a step since they were first discovered in Seattle by Dave Mustaine back in the 80’s. ‘Let The Serpent Follow Me’ proves the opener was no fluke and this album is going to be 11 tracks of big guitar lines and bombastic vocals. ‘Exitium (Anthem Of The Living’) starts as a darker prospect before dropping back into the blueprint which has been shown on the first few tracks.
It’s when the guitar and drums storm into action on ‘Question Existence Fading’ when you start to think have Sanctuary shown their hand too soon? Things are sounding a little too familiar and the mind starts to drift off and think about other things instead of concentrating on what is coming through the speakers. It’s becoming one of those heard it all before scenarios. Thankfully the band change gear on ‘I Am Low’ where they enter the age old world of the metal power ballad that bands of this ilk seem to love so much. Hey, even metallers have a sensitive side.
‘Frozen’ is back to business as usual, it’s a heavyweight slab of metal. ‘One Final Day (Sworn to Believe)’ sees the band unleash the acoustic guitar alongside the vocals of Warrel Dane. He shows throughout the album that he has a good set of lungs, sadly on here it all sounds a little too ‘Broadway’ and gets a bit cringe inducing.
Once again it is back to business as usual right up until the title track ‘The Year the Sun Died’ closes the album. As soon as the acoustic guitar picking starts you have a feeling the band have been saving the best till last and are going to unleash something of epic proportions. The slow build of the track thankfully saves this album from being an afterthought. It mixes power metal and prog and shows that when they want to the band can still deliver, 25 years after their last release.
All in all it is a strong sounding, well produced album and I have no doubt that fans of Sanctuary will be beyond happy with what they hear. Sure it follows a formula that may get old super easy for non-fans but for real fans of the band, this is why they love the group, this is what they want to hear and for that you have to tip your hat to them. they know what they are good at and they do it well but this is really just one for the true fans out there.