Seattle rules at Alcatraz this year. In addition to Queensrÿche, Metal Church and Fifth Angel it gives us great pleasure to introduce yet another stalwart from this influential heavy music city. Sanctuary get off to a flying start when their 1988 debut ‘Refuge Denied’ earns them a fanatic following but it’s their seminal sophomore effort ‘Into the Mirror Black’ that truly puts them on the map.
The album has a much darker vibe but at the same time it sounds very refined. Lead singer Warrel Dane captures the attention in more ways than one. Not only does he have unusually long hair, he is also gifted with an amazing voice that takes Sanctuary’s music to the next level. Unfortunately the band is short-lived and folds in 1992. Shortly afterwards, Dane, Sheppard and touring member Jeff Loomis found a new band called Nevermore. Between 1995 and 2010 Nevermore are popular guests at festivals, they travel the world and with seven studio albums they build a more than respectable resumé. In 2011 Sanctuary make a live comeback at such festivals as Wacken and Bloodstock and as so often happens, a series of well-received concerts revives the old chemistry and sparks new ambitions. Soon after they start writing new material and in 2014 Sanctuary release the fruit of several years of hard labour with ‘The Year the Sun Died’, a brilliant long-player that makes album of the month in numerous specialist magazines. Sanctuary are well and truly back and with ‘Inception’ (2017) they release a polished version of a 30-year-old demo tape containing nine songs, seven of which also featured on their debut album. In late 2017 disaster strikes when Dane is found dead of a heart attack in his hotel room in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The unfortunate singer had been battling multiple demons for years including alcohol and type 2 diabetes... a lethal combination. However, there’s no time to grieve in earnest because Sanctuary are scheduled to open for Iced Earth on their US tour: they embark on the ‘Tribute to Dane Tour’ with Witherfall’s Joseph Michael on the mic. Michael has huge shoes to fill but the tour is very successful. What’s more, things click so well on stage that the remaining members ultimately ask Michael to join full time. Meanwhile a new record is in the works but first things first: we’ve got an amazing show to look forward to at Alcatraz 2019!