Formed in late 2008 by bassist Ben Yaker and guitarist Jan Kimmel, Sanctus Bellum plays doom and classic metal with influences such as Sabbath, Maiden, and Pentagram. The band, including vocalist Justin Waggoner and drummer Cory Cousins, recorded their debut album, Return to Dust, with Joe Omelchuck at RBI Recording in Houston. Upon its release in April of 2010, the album, which featured cover art by Santos (High on Fire, Shrinebuilder, Lamb of God, Kylesa, etc.), was hailed as “so good that it gives you that fabled doom rush of happiness” (Kevin McHugh, Hellride Music), and “truly epic in its scope, … the music of an ancient, timeless race … [The] multi-ton slabs of granite at Puma Punko got nothing on the weight of the riffs here. Small nations could collapse under their mass.” (Racer X, The Ripple Effect).
Following the recording of Return to Dust, the band recruited 2nd guitarist Maurice Eggenschwiler and took to the stage in 2010 with appearances at the Born to be Doomed Fest in Baltimore, MD with Iron Man, Earthride, Black Pyramid, Apostle of Solitude, and more, and the We’re All Doomed festivals in Houston, TX. The band also shared the stage with doom legends Pentagram, The Gates of Slumber, Cauldron (ex-Gammacide), Las Cruces, Stinking Lizaveta, Rotor, Orthodox Fuzz, and many more.
As 2011 approaches, the band is hard at work in preparation for its sophomore release. Thus far, the new material, including metal epic The Shining Path and the doom and NWOBHM influenced Ephaniah, is decidedly more complex than the songs on Return to Dust, featuring a noticeable increase in guitar solos and harmonies while retaining the group’s strong and focused songwriting.
What they’re saying about Sanctus Bellum:
“Think of the best of Orange Goblin mixed with Valkyrie and Pentagram.” – Lucifer Burns.
“…feels like being shoved around in a classic heavy metal mosh pit … an appealing starting point for the band and a quality listen for anyone looking for something heavier than your typical stoner fare without going total doom. It’s classic metal on multiple levels, well executed in a modern context.” – H.P. Taskmaster, The Obelisk.
“Sanctus Bellum remind me of Corrosion of Conformity or Solace … they’re a band that can seamlessly meld classic and more contemporary metal influences.” – Andy Beresky, Stonerrock.com, Black Pyramid.
“Seriously rousing … Sanctus Bellum have some very solid songwriting chops.” – Michael Ballue, Hellride Music.
“…doom metal for the 2010s (with a foot--and maybe an elbow--in the 80s).” - John Brenner, Revelation, Against Nature, Bland Hand Records.
“…one of the cooler metal discs I’ve heard in a while.” (Gary Hill, Music Street Journal).