Sanctuary - Refuge Denied

Sanctuary - Refuge Denied

\r\nQUEENSRYCHE and SANCTUARY are the groups that disappointed me more from any other all these years that I hear this music. When the first began to lose their "metal" sign, their neighbors seemed to be there, ready to take the opportunity and continue from where that their famous neighbors stopped. Finally, nothing happened and despite the fact that SANCTUARY had everything, they were split-up, because of musical differences. The only explanation that I can give, is that something weird happens in Seattle… \r\n

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\r\nSANCTUARY were created in 1985 from Warrel Dane in vocals (who had made his first appearance in 1983 in the SERPENT’ S KNIGHT’s release "From The Crypt", Lenny Rutledge and Sean Blosl in the guitars, Jim Sheppard in bass guitar (which participated in Hard Rock group named SLEEZE with Layne Staley, later singer of ALICE IN CHAINS) and Dave Budbill in drums. Dave Mustaine quickly found them and helped them to sign a contract the CBS and few months later, in the summer of 1987, with Mustaine as a producer, they released their depute album "Refuge Denied". \r\n

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\r\nThe fact that Dave Mustaine was the producer of the album has both positive and negative results. First of all, the band and the album had the ideal promotion, which later helped to became widely known. As for the sound, which was an issue that was difficult those days, was the job of Terry "guarantee" Date. The bad things is that Dave Mustaine carried with him a thing that existed in MEGADETH’s albums, the "flat" production. It is obvious that Dave did not help as much as it was supposed, the inexperienced SANCTUARY to end up their ideas and consequently in some parts of the album the listener realises that there is something missing, something could be done better and in general all of it sounds "flat". \r\n

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\r\nPerhaps the fact that Mustaine didn’t involved in their music in their music, was their willing, because they didn’t want them to be heard as a MEGADETH clone, but to develop their own style. And which is it? Put some of QUEENSRYCHE melodies and very much from "explosive" psychedelic METAL CHURCH and you have in your mind, Refuge Denied.The fact that the band had influences from the above groups is obvious (also because they came from the same region), doesn’t mean that they copy them, but the opposite. SANCTUARY had their fresh sound and they were unique. This happens to a great extent to the voice of Warren Dane, who in the very early beginning surprised the metal scene and was included in best Metal singers of the specific era. With his impressive expressiveness and characteristic voice Dane, as one modern Metal tenor, not only did he differentiated the band sound from anything other of these years, but also he managed to cover the weaknesses that the group had, getting the group higher. \r\n

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\r\nThe album begins with –maybe- their best song and surely mine favorite one, the impressive Battle Angels, which is in my opinion one of the best Power-Speed Metal songs ever written. Epic, marching riffs, speed and the 5 years of Dane’s studies, offer him the opportunity to make an awesome performance. Termination Force that follows is disappointing, very mediocre, completely unplanned structured and it brings in the surface all the problems that I reported to you in the beginning. However, the lovely one Die For My Sins comes to put thing again in order and shows us their real abilities. One from the best and surely more "classic" part of the album (and now I imagine Kostas Kyriakakis makes it drag `n drop in Winamp, because it is his own favorite one. Τhe epic Soldiers Of Steel which comes next, is good but also here you have the sense that something is missing, something that does not happen in with amazing Sanctuary. Melodic introduction, horribly riffs and Dane’s performance are breathtaking. Then there is the cover of the well-known White Rabbit of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, a song which seems to be one of Dane’s favorite, because he had also released it with his previous band, SERPENT’S KNIGHT. It seems also that is one of Dave Mustaine’s favorite, because he decides to get rid for a while the console buttons, grab his flying-V guitar and play the beginning solo of the track. \r\n

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\r\nAscension To Destiny and The Third War that follow are very good and heavy songs, but again you have the impression that they could be a lot better. The album ends with Veil Of Disguise, also a very good and melodic enough song, where their QUEENSRYCHE influences are more than obvious. \r\n

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\r\nDespite its weaknesses, Refuge Denied was a really impressive debut album and put SANCTUARY in the first places of list with the most promising bands of that era. Hopes that were not disappeared, when the group after two years released the ASTONISHING Into The Mirror Black, making all people talking about the new supergroup which would stand high the flag of Heavy Metal in the next decade. However, for this masterpiece I will write some other time, because it deserves a separate article. Between now and then and as we are in celebrating period do a good gift to yourselves and buy Refuge Denied. \r\n

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\r\nHAPPY AND EXTREMELY METAL YEAR!!! \r\n

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\r\nAntonis Alexandropoulos \r\n

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\r\nTranslated by: Manos Maragos \r\n

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