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Sanctuary's greatest moment - 85%

Xeogred, September 8th, 2007

Over the last few months I've started to discover the real gems of metal are sometimes in the form of simple demo releases; this is definitely an example of that. While Sanctuary is a great band in my book and I'll never understand how they basically became Nevermore and they aren't a band I can toss up with the class acts and legends. Refuge Denied was often almost too Judas Priest influenced while both their debut and Into The Mirror Black just weren't that consistent, maybe a little too experimental. Simply put if they would have released full length albums with material like these two tracks, they would have been up there with the big names.

Like just about any early release from a band, this demo shows a different side to Sanctuary. The epic style seems to give a wink at Warrel Dane's first band, Serpent's Knight. These tracks are faster and far more epic than anything else the band ever came up with. Insane pretty much defines itself; amazing how much it sounds like mid-era Blind Guardian as well. I make this comparison because of the background and layered vocals Dane performs and he pulls it off incredibly well. Thankfully he also doesn't seem to overdue the falsetto use, unlike his vocals on Refuge Denied. The guitar work builds up around the vocals perfectly and delivers an extremely catchy experience while the impressive nonstop bass creeps up between the riffs and really stands out. Incubus seems to take things into a far more darker venture. Warrel Dane again delivers with very diverse vocals and seems to carry out those higher notes effortlessly while shifting around the mood of the entire song whenever need be. Solo's on both tracks really stand out and are quite aggressive, though Incubus seems to be begging for more time to extend the hungered solo.

Well there's not a whole lot to say about such a short demo. I've listened to both full length albums time and time again and have enjoyed them, but after hearing this demo I just wonder what they would have been like if they were more innovative like this, this just isn't held back at all. Fans of Sanctuary who haven't heard this should definitely check this out if possible, those who enjoyed Serpent's Knight should find an easy time enjoying this as this demo sounds like it could have fallen under their roof. Not sure about those who like Nevermore, but for the open-minded its always fun to see where a band starts. Pure US/80's power metal here.