REVIEW: SANCTUARY – “Inception”
Lost for over 30 years on the second floor of guitarist Lenny Rutledge’s barn, ‘Inception’ is the original demo by legendary power metal band Sanctuary. This is an absolute treasure for fans of the band and for lovers of great metal music. Through the artistry and recording alchemy of producer Chris “Zeuss” Harris, this demo has been restored and is now available on Century Media records for us all to enjoy.
‘Inception’ features nine songs recorded in 1986 in Washington state near the band’s hometown of Seattle. While this region would eventually become the home of grunge, it has long been a hot bed for musical talent including Jimi Hendrix, Queensryche, Forced Entry and Metal Church. Seven of the songs on this demo would become part of Sanctuary’s debut album ‘Refuge Denied’ which was produced by Dave Mustaine and released by the Epic record label in 1988. In addition to the resurrected music, the ‘Inception’ package includ
The album kicks off with “Dream Of The Incubus” which did not make it to the ‘Refuge Denied’ album. The classic Sanctuary sound is undeniable with Warrel Dane’s piercing vocal delivery and the galloping power riffs of guitarists Lenny Rutledge and Sean Blosi. After reading the story of how the tapes for ‘Inception’ were found wet and mouldy in the second floor of a barn, you will marvel at the quality of these recordings. Using the term “magic” to describe the restoration of this music is fitting.
‘Inception’ continues with “Die For My Sins”, “Soldiers of Steel”, “Death Rider/Third War”, “White Rabbit”, “Ascension To Destiny”, and “Battle Angels”. These songs would later become part of debut album. These songs are at once familiar and different. The general arrangements are basically the same, but there are some noticeable differences. For example, the power chord opening on “Die For My Sins” that greets the listener on the ‘Refuge Denied’ version is missing on the demo. The changes do not hinder the work. Instead they provide an insight into the development of the band’s sound between the demo and the major label debut.
The music of Sanctuary is still very enjoyable 30 years later and the new song “I Am Insane” is a joy to discover. There is a Dio quality to this song as it races out of the gate. Even with minimal miking of the cymbals, Dave Budbill’s drum kit sounds crisp. The production on this album is quite remarkable with the bass work of Jim Sheppard being well defined on each song.
‘Inception’ by Sanctuary stand