1. Future Tense
2. Taste Revenge
3. Long Since Dark
5. Eden Lies Obscured
6. The Mirror Black
7. Seasons of Destruction
8. One More Murder
Release Date: 1990 – CBS Records
Into the Mirror Black was the second of two albums that Sanctuary, the band that Nevermore came out, released. So…now we are back in 1990. After a short bass intro and an elegian part “Future Tense” is held in midtempo. Warrel Dane, thats the first impression, doesn’t sing as high as on the debut Refuge Denied. His vocals are more like it is now in Nevermore. A great refrain makes this song an alltime classic. A long guitar solo in the middle and lots of breaks complete this opener. “Taste Revenge”, the second track, begins with a speed guitar lead. The band plays with solo vocals and choirs. A trademark that they are still keeping. Sometimes this song remembers me to Mercyful Fate. A weird scenery packed in a weird theme. Brilliant acted by the band. “Long since dark” could be also a song of a Nevermore album. Variable vocals, from shouting to high parts. A big touch of progressive metal in that song. Lots of breaks with brilliant guitar work of Jeff Loomis. Warrel Dane at his best. The song ends straight like it began. The next song “Epitaph” starts with a slow guitar intro and silent vocals of Dane that seems he would be miles aways from the mic. Epic stuff…for sure. After 2 minutes the song taking tempo, but only for getting back to slow down. The band is showing all their facettes in songwriting and playing in one song. This is big, this is fantastic, this is what it is worth to listen if you plug your speakers in. Growing guitar sequence at the beginning of “Eden lies obscured”. In this song the drums do the talking. For me a song near to Jag Panzer. Spoken words before the guitar solo sets in..this is what we hear often from Progmetal bands in our time. So we can say that a lot of bands were influenced by Sanctuary who played that kind of music 20 years ago. Up next the title track “The Mirror Black”. Furious start with a guitar solo stopped by classical guitar and whispering vocals of Warrel Dane. This is a sad, a tragic song. Interrupted by a weird, hard guitar solo. The vocals also getting more hectic as longer the song runs. The song stops and leaves the listener confused.
“Seasons of destruction” is the banger of the album. Straight guitars, straight vocals. Breathes the NWOBHM in arrangement and speed. Oh..do I hear elves singing in the background? Anyway…this is the straightest song of the album. Powerful start in “One more murder”. Aggressive Warrel Dane in an aggressive song. Again straight forward played. The progressive parts are missing. Definetely not the best song of the album. Not bad, but there is not enough stuff to be remembered. Slow drum start in the last song of the album – “Communion”. Riff is coming up. Dangerous…very dangerous. Twisted minds. Dane’s psycho vocals underline this scenery in an awesome way. Is this progressive ? Yes, I think that is what we can tell it. After this whirlwind the song slows out with guitar harmonies.
This album is proving that the sound of todays Nevermore was definetely founded in the ninties, not at least cause of the voice of Warrel Dane, by this band…Sanctuary. If you like the Nevermore albums you will love this masterpiece.
Review by Kerb