Sanctuary (band)

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Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Genres Heavy metal, thrash metal, power metal, progressive metal
Years active 1985–1992, 2010–present
Labels Century Media, Epic Records
Associated acts Nevermore, Forced Entry
Members Warrel Dane
Lenny Rutledge
Jim Sheppard
Dave Budbill
Past members Sean Blosl
Brad Hull
Jeff Loomis

Sanctuary is an American Heavy metal band founded in Seattle in 1985. They split up in 1992, but reformed 18 years later. The band consists of Warrel Dane (vocals), Lenny Rutledge (guitar), Jim Sheppard (bass), and Dave Budbill (drums). To date, they have released three studio albums and one live EP.


Initial career (1985–1992)[edit]

They released a demo in 1986, which was well received, and that led them to sign with Epic Records in 1987. They released their debut album, Refuge Denied, in the same year. It was produced by Dave Mustaine, frontman of thrash metal band Megadeth. Thus followed a tour alongside Megadeth and the German band Warlock.

After the tour, they entered the studio to record their second studio album, Into the Mirror Black. It was released in Europe in 1989, while the US version came out the following year.[1] A video clip for the song "Future Tense" was made and received some airplay on MTV's Headbanger's Ball. During the tour (with the bands Fates Warning,[2] Forbidden and Death Angel), the guitarist Sean Blosl left the band and was replaced by Jeff Loomis.

Shortly after, pressure from Epic Records to fit in with the flourishing Seattle grunge scene caused disagreements between band members regarding the band's musical direction. In 1992, Sanctuary officially disbanded.

Epic Records was to release a full length live recording from this final tour, but only a limited number of copies of a promotional live EP ever saw the light of day. It was named Into The Mirror Live.

Refuge Denied and Into The Mirror Black were re-released as a double CD set by IronBird Records on February 22, 2010.

Post-breakup (1992–2009)[edit]

After disbanding, Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard and Jeff Loomis formed the band Nevermore in 1992. Lenny Rutledge became a musical producer, and has his own studio. Additionally, he helped Nevermore on the demo sessions of their 1998 album, Dreaming Neon Black.

Reunion and new album (2010–present)[edit]

Jim Sheppard of Sanctuary at the concert ship Barge to Hell 2012

Warrel Dane announced in May, 2010 that Sanctuary was reuniting to record a new album.[3] Dane confirmed on Nevermore's official forum that he can still hit the high notes he did in Sanctuary's early days. However, he did not say whether or not he would be implementing them into the new album, which was tentatively titled The Year the Sun Died.[4]

The band's first shows after included Jeff Loomis as a second guitarist, though he departed simultaneously to his departure from Nevermore. Former Forced Entry guitarist Brad Hull, who had earlier touring experience with the band, became a permanent member shortly after.

A US appearance in 2011 took take place at ProgPower USA, Atlanta on Friday, September 16, 2011. The band also played on the 70,000 Tons of Metal festival onboard Royal Caribbeans' Majesty of the Seas in January 2011 on the same date as Nevermore. In January 2013 Sanctuary got a deal with Century Media.[5]

The band's third studio album, The Year the Sun Died, was released in 2014 on October 14 in North America and October 6 in Europe via Century Media. The track listing was revealed in August 2014, artwork and the song "Arise and Purify" made available.[6] A lyric video for "Exitium (Anthem of the Living)" was released shortly thereafter, with the video for single "Frozen" debuting on October 7. Ultimately, three songs on the album did feature Dane's trademark high-pitched vocals, though the majority of the singing was more in line with the baritone and bass vocals that were featured prominently in Nevermore. In February 2015, Brad Hull's departure was announced, with Nick Cordle filling in for March and April tour dates. His future status with the band is currently unclear.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
Refuge Denied
  • Released: November 1987
  • Label: Epic Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS
Into the Mirror Black
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: Epic Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS
The Year the Sun Died
  • Released: October 6, 2014
  • Label: Century Media Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+LP, digital download[15]
125 39 69 75 83 143 183 261
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details
Into the Mirror Live
  • Released: July 1990
  • Label: Epic Records
  • Formats: CD


20% of all publishing royalties received for the two records originally released on Epic Records, Refuge Denied and Into the Mirror Black, are being donated to help prevent child abuse in America.



  • Warrel Dane - Vocals (1985–1992; 2010–present)
  • Lenny Rutledge - Guitars (1985–1992; 2010–present)
  • Nick Cordle - Guitars (2015-Present)
  • Jim Sheppard - Bass (1985–1992; 2010–present)
  • Dave Budbill - Drums (1985–1992; 2010–present)


  • Brad Hull - Guitars (2011–2015)
  • Jeff Loomis - Guitars (1990–1992, 2010–2011)
  • Sean Blosl - Guitars (1985–1990)


External links[edit]