From the opening drum fills of “Space Race”, the lead track on their sophomore effort Winter’s Doom, Sanktuary had its’ hooks into this listener. A blistering headbanger from the opening skin bashing to the closing guitar note, Winter’s Doom crashes along for near 33 minutes despite only being seven tracks in length. Sanktuary were a new band on my radar and, to be honest, got spun only at the luck of the draw as I sifted through album promo emails this morning. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.
The band hail from the frozen tundra of Canada’s Yukon Territory and it’s capital city of Whitehorse (pretty far north, like the Siberia of Canada eh!). Now I myself may be Canadian, but there ain’t no way I’m going that far north into that cold and snow! While the press release and the band’s Facebook page both purport Sanktuary to be from the Yukon, I have seen a couple of websites reporting that they have relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sanktuary consists of Anders Grasholm (drums), Cole Hume (bass), Alan Binger (vocals/guitar) and Glen Emond (guitar) and formed in 2007. Winter’s Doom is the group’s second full-length effort behind 2013’s Something Fierce.
The 4:39-minute runtime of the lead track, “Space Race” sets the tone and pace for what’s to come. You can find the video at the bottom of this page. “Wild is the Wind” had my head bobbing, the air guitaring and the drumming on my keyboard in full force. Binger‘s tones are a little gruffer, a little dirtier here in contrast to the almost restrained vocals present in “Space Race”, another strong thrash cut to take us through into the over 7-minute epic opus of “Vermin Lord”. This third track opens ominously before opening into galloping riffs overlaid by more urgently intense, gruff vocal stylings. The title track, “Winter’s Doom”, sees Binger‘s octaves raise up to a shriek-like delivery during the tempo changing riffing assault in what the band describes as “portraying ourselves as heavy metal warriors thriving in a habitat where most would perish instantaneously. That’s our homeland, the Yukon.” This one could just be the choice cut for me on here. “Open Your Eyes” rips along with a steady backbeat and some great guitar soloing. In the sixth slot, we find “Corpse Blockade” explained by bassist Cole Hume as: “A Necromancer summons the dead and forms a wall of corpses as his entourage. Moral of the story…don’t fuck with this Necromancer.“ Sanktuary are offering, in conjunction with PureGrainAudio.com, “Corpse Blockade”, the second single from Winter’s Doom, as a free download, so check out the link below to grab that song for free! We draw to a close with the real pounder and not a fave for me in “Maximum Authority”.
The press release tells me that Sanktuary was “a collective vision that began in high school with a group of like-minded teens fed up with the constraints of mainstream music who wanted to emulate the lifestyles of their favourite bands”. Whatever the case is, these guys have issued a great collection here in Winter’s Doom for any thrash fan. As well as the debut, Something Fierce, they also have two EP’s and an appearance on a compilation CD to their credit.
Heating pad to soothe the sore neck, bottle of Tylenol handy to ward off the headbanging headaches, furniture cleared away to make room for intense air guitar/jumping around…time to crank up Winter’s Doom once again……but first I must go internet searching to purchase the Something Fierce debut CD!