SA Sanctuary, Abandon in Place (2011, Butchered)
An under-achieving piece of cover “art” on every single level: the skull image is not only dull, but has been used before (skull366); the band’s name is one of those clunky territory-staking ones (is Sanctuary such an amazing name that you have to hold onto it at all costs?); and the album title makes absolutely no sense. Regarding the latter, I amuse myself by imaging this as a square dance call in some highly surrealistic alternate universe: “Swing your partner round and round / heads promenade around the town / gentlemen, abandon in place!” as the gentlemen perform difficult contortions that look like something from a dada dance troupe. The original cover did not feature a skull, but for god-knows-what reason it was reissued 10 years later with this masterpiece of artwork announcing to the world that SA Sanctuary are not to be forgotten!!!
SA Sanctuary play forgettable thrash. But first, the name: what is it with San Antonio bands and their unflagging loyalty to their name? First it was Slayer, who changed their name to SA Slayer, then it was Sanctuary, who changed it to SA Sanctuary when the Seattle Sanctuary got signed to a major. Is it worth all the fuss? No, it is not. SA Sanctuary sound like Acrophet. Or a Bizarro World version of Forbidden, where great bands in the real world are mirrored by lesser, failed facsimiles of themselves. Lots of gang vocals too. Typical of many Texas metal bands on the thrashier end of the spectrum, they have a fair amount of traditional metal melody creeping in. Seattle’s Sanctuary are way better. I hear SA Chozzen Phate have a new reissue set coming out, although no one is even sure if there’s actually another Chozzen Phate that forced this addendum to their name. We suspect they did it because it’s just what San Antonio metal bands do.
— Friar Wagner