Published on April 1st, 2017 | by Justin G.
Sanctuary: Inception (Century Media)
Just a few short years ago, the very idea that classic Seattle heavy metal band Sanctuary would ever get back together seemed far-fetched. The idea that the band might revisit the demos that led to the legendary Refuge Denied album was even more unrealistic…until now. Sometimes the doors of the metal vault open and a lost treasure is revealed. That’s exactly what we get with Inception, the Sanctuary demo collection released by Century Media earlier this year.
Inception features nine rare recordings. Two of them – “Dream of the Incubus” and “Am I Insane” – are from the band’s 2-song 1986 demo tape. The remaining seven tracks are previously unreleased recordings from 1986 of songs that would end up on the Refuge Denied album. Think about that for a second. We get to hear rawer versions of classic songs like “Battle Angels” and “Die For My Sins” with slightly different approaches. Warrel Dane’s vocals sound even wilder and the guitars have a more NWOBHM sound. It’s a real trip, and a real treat as well, just to be able to hear these demos.
Of course it helps that these songs have been painstakingly restored and remastered from the original tapes. Inception sounds about as good as humanly possible, given the source material. The songs just sound heavier and less processed overall than their final versions. If that wasn’t enough (it is), the booklet features new Ed Repka artwork that revisits the Refuge Denied cover as well as a lengthy band history by Lenny Rutledge, complete with vintage photos and concept artwork. They really took the time to get this one right.
Inception is not even an optional release for Sanctuary (and yes, Nevermore) fans and serious collectors of ‘80s heavy metal; it’s mandatory. This is a gift from the metal gods, and deserves to be heard. And since this prayer has been answered, how about two more Sanctuary reissues: a properly remastered Refuge Denied and a remastered Into the Mirror Black with the Into the Mirror Live EP added as bonus tracks?
Summary: This is some mandatory metal.