Album Review – Sanktuary / Winter’s Doom (2016)

When the coldest winter comes to punish you for your unholy sins, you can find sanctuary through the flammable power of old school Thrash Metal.


Everyone knows that, depending on where you live in Canada, winter can feel like the rawest and most brutal form of damnation, especially if you live up north in the territories of Yukon, Nunavut or Northwestern Territories. However, what could translate into a pitiful and melancholic life for many was transformed into kick-ass metal music by the talented Canadian Power Thrash band Sanktuary, who will  take you on a journey back to the golden years of Thrash Metal with their brand new album, conveniently named Winter’s Doom. And let me tell you that despite this “bitterly cold” title, each and every song from the album will absolutely set you on fire.

Formed in 2009 and having already released a few EP’s, splits and a full-length album in 2013 entitled Something Fierce, Sanktuary have always remained loyal to their foundations and kept delivering high-quality old school Thrash Metal inspired by their homeland, by politics and technology, turning Winter’s Doom into a very pleasant experience to any type of metalhead in the world. “In the title track and album cover [designed by artist Tyler Grasholm] we portray ourselves as heavy metal warriors thriving in a habitat where most would perish instantaneously. That’s our homeland, the Yukon”, comments this Whitehorse-based band, a city located about 5,000km northwest of Toronto and really close to the border with Alaska.

And Sanktuary come ripping with their hardcore attitude in the exciting opening track Space Race, where as in most albums from the early days of Thrash Metal there’s a constant Punk Rock vibe in the music. In addition, lead singer/guitarist Alan Binger’s voice sounds exactly like if it was recorded in the 80’s so crude and visceral it is. The old school riffs by Alan and guitarist Glen Emond, together with the rumbling bass lines by Cole Hume, dictate the rhythm in Wild Is the Wind, an ode to Yukon with Alan providing deeper growls than in the opening track amidst hints of Rock N’ Roll the likes of Motörhead. In Vermin Lord, the band blends the speed and shredding of Exodus with the craziness and rhythm of Anthrax, with some sick guitar solos adding more liveliness to the musicality. In other words, it’s 7 minutes of pure Thrash Metal that will drag you to the core of an insane circle pit without a shadow of a doubt.

Sanktuary_Group webThe title-track Winter’s Doom keeps the pedal to the metal with a mix of Thrash Metal and Punk Rock, offering the listener the intoxicated and demented vocals by Alan and the nonstop Thrash Metal beats and fills by drummer Anders Grasholm; whereas Open Your Eyes presents more old school metal for fans of heavy music who are always dressing their tight jeans, leather jackets and white tennis shoes. Moreover, its backing vocals provide an awesome support to Alan in sending an intense and aggressive message to the whole world.

Corpse Blockade, my favorite song of the album by far, showcases elements of the NWOBHM (especially its Iron Maiden-inspired riffs), with its constant shredding and solid drumming making this an excellent choice for their live performances, not to mention the nice guitar solos boosting its overall quality even more. And finally, sounding like if he’s possessed by Joey Belladonna or Paul Baloff, Alan dictates the rhythm in Maximum Authority, a nice display of pure Thrash Metal with highlights to its sick riffs and solos, as well as the crushing bass lines by Cole.

In summary, anytime the winter comes to punish you for your unholy sins, or anytime you feel your soul is about to be frostbitten, you can find sanctuary through the flammable Power Thrash crafted by these talented metallers from Yukon by visiting their Facebook page, YouTube channel and SoundCloud, and also by purchasing Winter’s Doom at the band’s BandCamp page. Winter? What winter?

Best moments of the album: Space Race and Corpse Blockade.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Space Race 4:30
2. Wild Is the Wind 4:12
3. Vermin Lord 6:50
4. Winter’s Doom 3:39
5. Open Your Eyes 4:40
6. Corpse Blockade 4:15
7. Maximum Authority 4:46

Band members
Alan Binger – vocals, guitars
Glen Emond – guitars
Cole Hume – bass
Anders Grasholm – drums

1 thought on “Album Review – Sanktuary / Winter’s Doom (2016)

  1. Pingback: The Headbanging Moose – Sanktuary – Winter’s Doom |

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