Sanctuary (band)

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Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Years active 1985–1992, 2010–present
Associated acts Nevermore
Members Warrel Dane
Lenny Rutledge
Dave Budbill
Nick Cordle
George Hernandez
Past members Sean Blosl
Brad Hull
Jeff Loomis
Jim Sheppard

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), Nick Cordle (guitar), George Hernandez (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 following 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, which was released in 1990.[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 (1992–2010)[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. Nevermore eventually went on hiatus in April 2011 after 19 years and 7 studio albums.[3]

Reunion and The Year The Sun Died (2010–2015)[edit]

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

In 2010, four of the founding SANCTUARY members — Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard, Lenny Rutledge and Dave Budbill — came together for a few select reunion performances. At first, it was just going to be a handful of shows, but the response and chemistry on stage was so overwhelming that they decided to reunite permanently. 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 on board 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.[4]

Regarding how the reunion came about, Dane told Rock My Monkey TV, "[SANCTUARY guitarist Lenny Rutledge and I] always talked to each other, but never really been friends again. And when the whole thing came about, that we were actually friends again, that's when we started talking more about doing it. And it definitely wasn't because NEVERMORE was imploding... which it was, at that point . . . We all just started talking with each other again. That was kind of the groundwork for it. And then we started saying, 'Well, gosh, let's make music again.' And my god! Lenny is writing some stuff that is so friggin great! Obviously, he's been bottling this up for years, because he really hasn't been doing anything... Well, he's had bands here and there. But he's really writing some great stuff that's really inspiring me, and making me fall in love with music again, with the creative process... everything that revolves around that. Really inspiring me to write really evil lyrics."

On the topic of the sound of the comeback album, Dane said, "This record is not going to sound like the other two. It might sound very similar to the second one ('Into The Mirror Black'). It's definitely not going to sound like the first one, because we're all a little bit older and I can't come up with a c-clamp for a scrotum and a helium tank . . . It's not going to sound like the old ones... it's 2011. It's still gonna be that good, I think, and there's gonna be high-pitched screaming. I'm making sure of that. With NEVERMORE, high-pitched screaming was never really called for. You know, with SANCTUARY... of course it is."[5]

The band's third studio album, The Year the Sun Died, was finished in June 2014[6] and released on October 14 in North America and October 6 in Europe via Century Media. It was produced by Zeuss.The track listing was revealed in August 2014, artwork and the song "Arise and Purify" made available.[7] 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 guitarist Nick Cordle, formerly of Arsis and Arch Enemy, filling in for March and April tour dates. His future status with the band is currently unclear.[8] Warrel Dane said the split with Brad Hull was due to "personal things that happened", that are better not to discuss in public, but said they are still friends. Zeuss [a.k.a. Chris Harris], their producer for "The Year the Sun Died", recruited Nick Cordle for the band when they found out Brad Hull would not be doing the European tour, since canceling the tour was not an option.[9]

Dead Again and Inception (2015–present)[edit]

Asked in October 2015 if Sanctuary has been writing new material for a fourth album, frontman Warrel Dane replied,[10]

Pictures posted on the band's Facebook page on April 22, 2016 included a reference to ex-Panic bassist George Hernandez, who had filled in for Sheppard on tour the previous year, as the band's new permanent bassist.

In another interview by September 2016 Dane revealed Dead Again as a tentative title for the new album. He said that it would come "next year, but late next year". Dane described the material as "way faster and more like old-school thrash metal, but sounding a bit modern and it's f...cking heavy." He also announced the compilation of old demos and songs named Inception, that could arrive "in a few months".[11]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
Refuge Denied
  • Released: 1988
  • Label: Epic Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS
Into the Mirror Black
  • Released: February 27, 1990
  • 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[20]
125 39 69 75 83 143 183 261
  • Released: February 24, 2017
  • Label: Century Media Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+LP
Dead Again[23]
  • Released: TBA
  • Label: Century Media Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+LP, digital download
"—" 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)
  • Dave Budbill - Drums (1985–1992; 2010–present)
  • George Hernandez - Bass (2016-present)


  • Jim Sheppard - Bass (1985–1992; 2010–2016)
  • Brad Hull - Guitars (2011–2015)
  • Jeff Loomis - Guitars (1990–1992, 2010–2011)
  • Sean Blosl - Guitars (1985–1990)


  • George Hernandez - Bass (2014–present)


  1. ^ Sanctuary (4) - Into The Mirror Black
  2. ^ Tour History
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  10. ^ "WARREL DANE Talks Next SANCTUARY Album, Performing NEVERMORE's 'Dead Heart' And Second Solo LP". October 14, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  11. ^ "WARREL DANE Talks Next SANCTUARY Album And The Possibility Of Replacing Jeff Loomis With Chris Broderick In NEVERMORE". September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
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