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LIVE: SANCTUARY – November 22, 2014 (Ramona, CA)

| 9 December 2014 | Reply

Venue: Ramona Mainstage

City: Ramona, CA

Date: November 22, 2014

Review and Photographs by: Robert Kitay


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One band I never thought I’d get to see is Sanctuary.  Since their break-up in 1992, and Nevermore subsequent success, I never thought they would get back together.  However, with the breakup of Nevermore, Sanctuary was reborn, and yet with two west coast USA tours, they have still not played San Francisco, or anywhere else in Northern California for that matter.  But as luck would have it, my Thanksgiving travel plans put me within a couple hours drive of a Sanctuary concert in Ramona, California, a fairly remote city outside San Diego.

It was a bit of a drive for me to get to the venue, so I arrived after several opening bands already finished there set.  I caught the last couple songs of Symbolic.  I was really impressed with what I saw from them.  Great straight ahead metal band, with excellent up front guitars and clean vocals.  I’ll definitely be looking out for this band in the future.

Up next was Exmortus.  Exmortus seems to be everywhere now.  I saw them earlier in the year on the Flotsam and Jetsam tour, and they opened for Dark Tranquility earlier in the year as well.  Once again, I really enjoyed their set.  Their guitar players are tremendous and their songs excellent.  Although they use death metal vocals, of which I’m not usually a fan, they actually sing with a growl rather than growl for growling sake.  It was actually funny at one point when their singer even talked about all the great singers in all the bands that evening, and then there was him with his growls.

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And finally the wait was over.  The lights dimmed and Sanctuary hit the stage.  They opened up with “Arise and Purify” and “Let the Serpent Follow Me,” the first two tracks from their new album “The Year the Sun Died.”  If you haven’t heard “The Year the Sun Died,” it is really interesting as it still has the feel of the first two Sanctuary albums from over 25 years ago, and it still sounds like Sanctuary, yet it sounds modern and not like a throwback album.  They then went back to “Into the Mirror Black” album and played “Seasons of Destruction” before playing “Die for My Sins,” “Battle Angels,” and a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” which they previously recorded on their debut album.  The band was in fine form all around, with a great mix.  Both Lenny Rutledge and Brad Hull took turns with leads and they worked together really well.  Warrel Dane often paced the stage behind the guitarists when not singing and was more often than not hidden behind his hat and his hands cupped around the mic when singing.   He definitely sang higher than we’ve been accustomed to over the years in Nevermore, yet not as high as in the 80’s as the guitars were tuned down, as most bands do these days.  Although his voice sounded fine, I noticed that he often coughed and cleared his throat between songs, so I wonder if he might have been coming down with or be recovering from a cold.  Warrel often interacted with fans in the front and even told bad jokes between songs.  The set continued with “The Mirror Black” and “Future Tense” from the “Into the Mirror Black” album before returning to the last album with “Exitium (Anthem for the Living)” and “Question Existence Fading.”  The set continued with “Soldiers of Steel,” “Taste Revenge,” and an absolutely killer version of “Frozen.”  Warrel stated that this was the last show on the tour and he didn’t want it to end, and then joked that they were going to play 10 Nevermore songs.  In reality, my only complaint about the show was its shortness.  I didn’t actually time it, but the set sure felt short.  They finished the set with “Sanctuary.”  Despite its shortness, this was a very good show and I hope they will be coming back around with a more lengthy tour next year.

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Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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