Sanctuary – Gazing Into The Mirror Black
By Dave Schwartz

“Into the Mirror Black” is a classic Sanctuary album that captured the pre-grunge Seattle sound in every way.  With a Thrash base, Sanctuary expanded their sound on “Mirror Black” by introducing a heavier feel to their music.  The result is a classic album that remains relevant today. 

Now, 30 years later, Sanctuary has released “Into The Mirror Black (30th Anniversary Edition),” a 3 record or 2 CD set that includes the 1990 “Black Reflections” live concert along with 3 early demos. 

I spoke to guitarist and founder of Sanctuary, Lenny Rutledge, about the new release.  Check out all the excitement!  


DB:  Let’s start out with congratulations!  You have just released the of 30th Anniversary Edition of “Into The Mirror Black.”  These 30 years must have ticked by in the blink of an eye.

LR:  Right!

DB:  Talk a little about this new release.

LR:  Yeah, we’re really excited about it.  I wish that we were putting out a new record with it.  Seems like the past couple years we’re put out re-releases but we are working on the new record too.

DB:  I do plan to ask about the new music you’re working on in a moment.  But first, let’s focus on “Into The Mirror Black.”  I know that you have remastered the album.  Please tell us about changes in the record and the enhanced sound.

LR:  We always wanted to have the opportunity to re-release “Mirror Black.”  We’ve talked about it but weren’t sure that it would ever happen.  And we also have the live version (“Black Reflections”). That 2” tape was sent to our old manager, Zoto.  It was about 5 years ago that they finally sent that tape to me.  So, we had to remaster all of it.  We had Zeuss (Queensr˙che, Iced Earth, Overkill) work on it.  It turned out really good!  There was a couple of our original demo’s he worked on as well.  We did a couple of demos before we went and recorded the record with Howard Benson.  It all turned out great.  The live stuff is cool because we didn’t add to the recording.  We just went in and did a mix on it.  We didn’t want to go in and fix anything.  What you hear is what happened that night.

DB:  That’s always cool. This 30th Anniversary Edition is an ambitious release in that it is a triple vinyl, double CD release that includes the live recording – part of which was released as “Black Reflections.”  The live material was originally recorded on May 12, 1990 at The Country Club in Reseda, California.  Now obviously, a few of the live songs have been out before but this is your entire set from that night and that is really, really cool.  Along with all of that come three of the original demos.  As I said, this is ambitious.  There is a lot for the fan to consume.

LR:  Yeah, it’s great to be able to do that.  There is a cool booklet inside where you can see a bunch of old photos from that time.  We tell the whole story about the recording and how we did it and working with Howard Benson.  It was nice to be able to release the entire live show as well because when they did the promo release back in 1990, they didn’t really mix it.  But this time, it’s well mixed and all of the songs are on it – all 10 songs we played that night.

DB:  I remember there was a controversy.  You printed up only about 1000 CDs and then suddenly Epic Records got involved and most were recalled.  I know that very few of the original CDs ever saw the light of day.  So, the original “Black Reflections” CD has been a collector’s item for many years.  It’s cool that the entire CD has finally come out.  I know that Worrel (Dane, former vocalist) swore that he would put the songs out.  It is unfortunate that they didn’t come out during his lifetime.

LR:  It’s funny because we all talked about it.  We were just never really sure if it was going to happen.  But I got to talking to Century Media about it and even then it took a long time because Sony owns Century Media now which was part of Epic at the time.  But it still took forever.  It took literally, from the time we started talking and went into negotiations, it took a year to happen.  So, we’re happy that the record is finally here.

DB:  “Mirror Black” has received many accolades over the years.  Loudwire called it one of the 40 Best Metal Albums of 1990 and it has been featured on MTV, Decibel, AllMusic and Rock Hard.  I can imagine that any band would covet making a record that remains poignant all these years later.

SanctuaryLR:  It really was a great time for us.  Honestly, this has been talked about a little bit but, it was a good time for us because, as a band we were coming into our stride.  But at the same time, there was a lot of tension in the band – there always has been.  I’m not sure I can put my finger on it or explain it but somehow, we all got through it and created this record.  There is something about this group of people.  I think we wrote some really great songs.  It’s almost like it was fueled by some of the tension.  You know, we were just a bunch of young guys.  I don’t think we knew what was going on.  But we were really trying to make a record that wasn’t just a thrash record.  We were big fans of thrash.  That was where some of our roots came from.  But we wanted to make sure we made a record that was different.  We wanted to show people that we could do more.  We wanted to keep it heavy and energetic at the same time.  I think that was something that we accomplished with this album.

DB:   I agree.  I think you accomplished your goal in spades.  And speaking to the tension in the band, a wise friend once told me that if you’re not in a band that is on the verge of killing each other every day, you are probably not in a band. (laughs) 

LR:  That’s probably true, I’ll tell you what.  I know that in 2010 when we got back together, we were a lot more tolerant.  We were older guys and just more tolerant.  But eventually, tension returned and I think that helped write another record – “The Year The Sun Died.”  Maybe that is just part of it.  Look at the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  There has been tension there for years! 

DB:  In the press release there is talk of returning to the road in the fall of 2021.  It sounds like a U.S., European and South American tour.  Have you guys toured South America before? 

LR:  No.

DB:  This should be exciting. 

LR:  We’re looking forward to it.  We had something that we were getting ready to do here in December this year but, of course, we had to postpone that.  We are hoping that everything works out.  The tour in Europe doesn’t start until about this time next year.  So, we are hoping that everything will be OK.  The hope is that we get past this pandemic and everybody is OK and we’re allowed to tour along with all the other bands that are on the sidelines.  I feel really bad for a lot of these bands that this is their livelihood and can’t tour.  All the venues and promoters, this has been really rough on all of the music business. 

DB:  Yeah, this pandemic has decimated the music industry.  There are so many layers that people don’t consider.  You’ve mentioned the promoters but also the roadies and people who worked security, the bartenders.  This industry touches many people.  This has been really bad for the industry and we are all looking forward to the return of touring and the celebration of the music that so many bands are still creating. 

LR:  I really hope that everyone can hang on and this works out for everyone.  I feel really bad for all the layers of people this touches.  We are concerned about crew members and everything.  This trickles way down. 

DB:  So, let’s transition just a little.  You have teased that you’re working on some new music.  Last February I was up in Seattle and had dinner with your bass player, George Hernandez and his wife Susan.  I heard about the new music and I know how excited they were.  Can you talk a little about the new music that you’re working on? 

LR:  We have a lot of songs that we’ve been working on.  We have a lot of ideas.  We have worked on some of this music, on and off, for about 5 years now.  Recently Joseph (vocalist Joseph Michael) has come into the picture because of the passing of Warrel.  So, it has been a little bit of a different approach for us.  You get used to a certain way of doing things and Warrel and I had a different way of writing.  So, it’s a little bit different for us now but I think it’s working out fairly well.  We have a lot of ideas but we are also being very careful.  Sanctuary has a legacy that we are trying to respect and so we have to make sure that we do things right.  And we want to make Warrel proud as well.  So, we are taking our time.  We have a lot of ideas but we are also very picky.  And that’s the way we’ve always been.  We tend to overanalyze things a bit much.  (laughter) We are hoping to finalize a lot of these songs.  We have a lot of good ideas and I know people will be pleasantly surprised. 

I want to thank Lenny Rutledge foe sharing a moment with DaBelly.  Check out this classic album along with the live music.  And be sure to follow Sanctuary on all the socials. 

 The “Into The Mirror Black (30th Anniversary Edition)” will be also available as limited lilac vinyl (200 copies, exclusively available through and limited grey vinyl (300 copies).

No. Title  DISC 1 (60:53) Length
1. "Future Tense" 5:07
2. "Taste Revenge" 5:03
3. "Long Since Dark" 5:06
4. "Epitaph" 6:03
5. "Eden Lies Obscured" 5:23
6. "The Mirror Black" 5:06
7. "Seasons of Destruction" 4:51
8. "One More Murder" 4:20
9. "Communion" 5:38
10. "Future Tense" (Demo 1989) 5:16
11. "I Am Insane" (Demo 1989) 4:04
12. "Mirror Black" (Demo 1989) 4:56

Into the Mirror Black 30th Anniversary Edition 
No. Title  DISC 2 (49:26) Length
1. "Eden Lies Obscured" (Live 1990) 5:15
2. "Seasons of Destruction" (Live 1990) 5:01
3. "Die For My Sins" (Live 1990) 4:05
4. "Future Tense" (Live 1990) 5:15
5. "White Rabbit" (LIve 1990) 5:37
6. "Taste Revenge" (Live 1990) 5:09
7. "Long Since Dark" (Live 1990) 5:08
8. "Sanctuary" (Live 1990) 4:25
9. "One More Murder" (Live 1990) 4:13
10. "Battle Angels" (Live 1990) 5:18

Release:  October 9th, 2020
Century Media Records

Line-up (on this recording):

Warrel Dane – Vocals
Lenny Rutledge – Guitars
Sean Blosl – Guitars
Jim Sheppard – Bass
Dave Budbill – Drums

Line-up (current):
Joseph Michael – Vocals
Lenny Rutledge – Guitars
George Hernandez – Bass
Dave Budbill – Drums

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