Sanktuary image




History & Biography


Apparently, Sanktuary’s origin lies in Yukon. The band is now based in Halifax. Given this, no wonder the disc depicts three members and the biography’s photograph features four. Someone was bound to get lost or perish en route. No matter what the band is now on “legendary extreme metal label” (the crap bios say!) Spread The Metal Records and out with a new disc, Something Fierce.
That something is half stylish traditional mid-'80s power metal and half Exodus circa 1985. Interspersed with pure thrash metal a la Exodus’ Bonded By Blood as in songs Thrill Of The Kill (hopefully about shooting a few hunters in honour of their skill set) and Fire In The Sky (hopefully about shooting down a few air force bombers in honour of their function), the rest of the album is comprised of powerful metal one would expect to hear from a Mausoleum or Azra Records release in 1984. The ending of Hail The Villain (hopefully about Americans voting for right-wing Republicrats all the time) is Phantom Of The Opera territory and again hints at the core of the group’s sound.
The production sounds deliberately thin. The backing chants and high-pitched vocals make more than rare appearances, in order to fulfil the band’s mission, as does the deliberately noisy unskilled guitar solo, which is quickly negated when the band launches into a skilled solo on the aforementioned Fire In The Sky! The drums have a satisfactory sound except for the muffled and weak snare sound. One cannot say he is a fan of the group’s monicker or the groovy logo, but the music is certainly metal, above average and attention-worthy. - Ali “The Metallian”

The quartet originally from Canada's north are back for a sophomore full length. The first review quoted on the band's bio is "It's like a lightweight Havok or Evile". It is doubtful that this is as positive a note as it appears. The seven songs and 33 minutes on Winter's Doom get an 80's heavy or power metal start with Space Race. The vocals of Alan Binger make sure memories of early 80's power metal flood back, the production and music solidify that same feeling. It is a stretch to call a song like Wild Is The Wind thrash, the song is closer to pure heavy metal than even power metal. Binger does seem to try to let go of the higher pitch and sound more aggressive. Vermin Lord starts more mysteriously and builds into what is the first appearance of anything thrashy on Winter's Doom. It is almost seven minutes of solid but not all out speedy metal. The title track follows and tries to retain the thrash but Sanktuary can't avoid a more melodic side and incorporate less speedy sections. The solos vary in form as well. Open Your Eyes tackles the social and political theme and includes crossover-ish screams too. Corpse Blockade features some of the higher pitch vocals again but otherwise it is a mix of the heavy and thrash but not fully of either. Maximum Authority closes Winter's Doom appealing to the 80's thrash fans. Winter's Doom's cover art does the same too. Join the race at

What can one expect from a band born in Yukon, which moved to Halifax, returned to Yukon, whose name is derivative, its logo inspired by the '70s and whose label something or the other of which no one has heard?

Nothing really. Which possibly speaks to the art of underrating as the band is actually quite good. The band’s heavy metal-cum-thrash metal attack is worthy a listen and more. More importantly, it is the only place where the metal world is introduced to the newly-coined 'Yukon mountain metal' tag. It was a good time to find out more and so on a chilly Sunday afternoon the serfs at Metallian Towers asked drummer Anders Grasholm and singer and guitarist Alan Binger - the band is rounded out by bassist Cole Hume and guitarist Glen Emond - to speak to ALI “THE METALLIAN.” Once thing is certain. They are not vegetarians. - 27.10.2013

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Thanks for your time. Are you in Halifax?
ANDERS: Right now we're coming at you from the dark frigid wasteland of the Yukon Territory - Whitehorse to be exact.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: So are rumours of your relocation false?
ALAN (laughingly): I guess it would depend on which rumours you've heard. We just recently moved back to Whitehorse from Halifax because we weren't getting our fix of Yukon beer and wild meat.
ANDERS: ...and wild women.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: No doubt "wild women" who kill "wild meat" with their bare hands! So, what prompted the move to Halifax earlier?
ANDERS: We always wanted to head down south to a bigger city and a bigger scene. A place popped up in Halifax and we thought why not move across the country and hit up every big, small and shit town on the way?

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: So obviously that didn't work out. Was it a lack of women and worthy beer? How long did you tolerate it in Halifax?
ALAN: A lot of it had to do with just getting out there and playing in front of some different crowds. We heard Nova Scotia was packed with hillbillies and girls with massive tits so we had to go see this for ourselves.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Is everyone in the band native Yukon-born?
ANDERS: Don't get us wrong, Halifax is an awesome city and the people are really great. We met a lot of amazing people and friends we'll keep forever. The real reason is because Nova Scotia doesn't pay great and living there is pretty tough when you're a musician. Surviving is hard.
ALAN: Yeah, we were all born and raised in Whitehorse. It's a small town so all the freaks end up eventually meeting. Our band is a perfect example of that.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: So here is a fundamental question: why be in a band? Why be in a music group in the first place?
ANDERS: Being stuck inside when it's minus forty degrees outside with nothing to do but drink, it came naturally.
ALAN: I started playing guitar for the chicks ... I'm still playing guitar and still looking for chicks.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Now let's drill down. Why be in a metal band then?
ALAN: When I was fourteen and I first heard War Pigs by Sabbath... that was the coolest shit ever.
ANDERS: For me it was Deep Purple's Machine Head. My dad always listened to that album when I was growing up and I fucking loved it. Early in high school a friend showed me Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction and I've been a metal head since.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: The question remains why would these songs or albums not repel you instead of attracting you? After all, you easily could have said I heard War Pigs, Deep Purple and Megadeth and immediately decided to never do so again and form a lounge band.
ANDERS: Why do people like dub step? Ever since we've heard metal we've been passionate about it. When I hear those riffs or solos I get shivers down my spine that other genres don't provide.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Well, the answer is superior intelligence and appreciation for the arts. Critically, what makes Sanktuary any different? Why does the world need Sanktuary?
ALAN: Sanktuary isn't original, all the way from the band name to the recycled riffs and grooves from great metal bands from the '80s and '90s! We play music that we like and we don't give a fuck if other people like it or if it makes them a little uncomfortable. To answer the question the world doesn't need Sanktuary because the main reason we do Sanktuary is for ourselves and not for other people, as selfish as that may sound.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Now I want to deal with the good and the bad. Which should I address first?
ANDERS: Bring on the bad.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: The logo. What in the name of groovy hell were you thinking?
ALAN (laughingly): We were going for a more ’70s influenced psychedelic look. Not a fan?

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Nope, because I am not a fan of '70s influenced psychedelic look obviously. I am into metal.
ALAN: Black Sabbath says 'hello.'

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Did I mention that most Black Sabbath 1970-1978 bores me? The Dio years on the other hand”¦
ALAN: To each their own (laughs). If we all liked the same shit then all music would sound the same.
ANDERS: And yes Dio is fucking great.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Which explains every single song on every single Nickleback album (or is it all the same track?)!
ANDERS: My point exactly! How about the good?

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Second 'bad' before we get to the good is the monicker, was 'Sanctuary' taken?
ANDERS: Yes. There is a big band from the states from the '80s that call themselves Sanctuary. We were young and dumb and had a show coming up. Still didn't have a name and someone suggested Sanktuary. So we threw in the 'K' and it's stuck ever since... Not that we're happy about that. Just too lazy and unoriginal to come up with something else.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Were you ever called Sanctuary, even if for a minute or any other name for that matter?
ANDERS: Nope. Not with a 'c.'

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Were there any other pre-Sanktuary names?
ALAN: We were in high school when we started jamming with each other and you can see the immaturity in our band’s name.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Now let's get to the good, which is the music. It is fifty-percent thrash metal a la Exodus and fifty-percent heavy metal and all good - what do you think of this description? Furthermore, is the mix intentional or possibly a reflection of a change in the music?
ALAN: That's a great description! As long as the music is good then who cares about some crappy logo, right (laughs)? We are huge Exodus fans so the boys will be happy to hear that comparison.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Is the divergent styles (heavy and thrash metal) a reflection of certain songs being newer and certain songs being older (on the album)?
ANDERS: Those are the two styles we love. We're stuck in between and can't decide on which one to do. We all love metal but have our own musical styles. When it comes time to write a song I think you hear all of our influences from the bands we're into at the time in the songs. Maybe we'll be ripping off Havok and want to write a Havok-style song, or maybe we'll feel like busting out a Judas Priest song. It all depends.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Havok isn't a band often mentioned in the list of influences, is it?
ANDERS: Well they are pretty new and have only just busted into the scene as one of the big new thrash bands. They're one of my favourite thrash bands. We all love them. There is amazing talent there. So yeah, they don't get mentioned that often but you'll start to see their name popping up more and more.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: so is Sanktuary 'Schizo metal'?
ALAN: Maybe a couple of songs but as a whole not really.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: What is the song Hail The Villain about? Is it your tribute to George W Bush or Obama?
ALAN: You won't ever see Sanktuary doing a Bush or Obama tribute song. The song is about drugs and how some people deal with them.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Not fans of leaders of the free world (cough cough)?
ALAN: I don't trust either of those two so why write them a tribute? Not to say there aren't great leaders out there.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Is the ending of the song a deliberate tribute to Phantom Of The Opera or is the music a subconscious approximation?
ANDERS: Maybe a little subconscious.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: What about a comparison of the song Thrill Of The Kill to Exodus’ Bonded By Blood?
ANDERS: If you mean hard and fast like a swift kick to the teeth rendering you unconscious then absolutely!

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: One could attribute the same quality to the song Fire in The Sky. What is that tune about?
ANDERS: World War One badass dog fights and the courage and balls those boys had to fight in close air combat.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Changing the topic, let us discuss how you came into contact and signed with Spread The Metal Records. Moreover, are you further working with them?
ANDERS: We were confronted by Matt of Spread The Metal Records a few years ago when he was first starting up his label. He was looking for some local talent from Nova Scotia. We met with him over some beers and about a year later we signed a one-album deal with him. That's where we're at now.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: As such, there aren’t further releases on the label?
ALAN: At this point there have been some very preliminary talks, but nothing's been signed. We'll keep discussing things with STM and see where that takes us.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Once again, changing the subject matter, what is life like in Yukon. Apparently, good beer and big tits are the norm?
ALAN: It seems like almost everyone is proud of where they come from and we sure are as well. Life up here is simple. There's not a mad rush like the big cities. It's about fifteen years behind the rest of Canada in a good way. The beer is great and the outdoor ice rinks are even greater. Some have wood stoves in the warm-up shacks.

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: To end the interview, my final question is directed at any news and developments within the Sanktuary camp.
ANDERS: A new album is in the works. We are hunkering down and getting our creative minds going. Other than that we're just going to watch and play a lot of hockey, drink a lot of beer and play some Yukon mountain metal.

Remember where you where when you first came face-to-face with Yukon mountain metal. It is all encapsulated within Something Fierce available now. The band’s website is at

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