Not 80’s cult thrash band Sanctuary but Sanktuary, Canadian thrash diehards whose latest album, Winter’s Doom, is an ice-cool blast of fresh thrashy air!
Fans know that thrash albums are ten-a-penny nowadays and virtually none do anything new with a genre that was defined 30 years ago but a great thrash album is a great thrash album….and Winter’s Doom is solid gold.
Oddly, the album is front loaded with arguably the weakest tracks. Maybe it’s the slightly weedy vocals of opener “Space Race” but the switch to a Schmier from teutonic trailblazers Destruction-esque screechy rasp on “Wild Is the Wind” and especially the exceptional “Vermin Lord” improves things immeasurably. Coming across like a lost track from Destruction’s Cracked Brain, the shift in vocal style on “Vermin Lord” is jarring but refreshing, resulting in a relatively mid-tempo stomper replete with Slayer’s penchant for eerie atmospherics.
Lively and loaded with instant fix belters such as the bouncy title track, Winter’s Doom seems to nail the necessary ingredients for a fully flavoursome and fanciful thrash experience. At times bordering on the melodic thrash of Metal Church and Countdown to Extinction era Megadeth and then perversely flipping to the the unhinged annihilation of Kreator, the great and the good of the genre are certainly covered. “Open Your Eyes” even has a “Homicide” by Exhorder vibe going on, built around a cleaner sound maybe but still exhibiting a similar way with a gruff vocal and killer groove.
With plenty of potential, it turns out Sanktuary have unleashed the first mandatory thrash release of 2016! 8/10