Sa Sanctuary with Judas Priest 2002

Sa Sanctuary is a thrash band on a Japanese record label 87811 LLC. Formed in 1984 by guitarist Orlando Velasquez in Harris County, Texas. The band currently has musicians from Ukraine, Argentina, and South Texas.

Early HistoryEdit

In the late 1970's - early 1980's metal was on the rise, as was a high school jam band called Redzer.(which became Sa Sanctuary) The initial line-up of the Redzer band was Orrie Velasquez (vocals), Dino Dentin (drums), Tito Garcia (guitar), Jerry Casterlano (bass), and Sheryll Adler (Cleveland, Ohio keyboardist). It was said that Sheryll is Steven Adler's distant cousin. Starting off playing Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Axe, to name a few, they grew in popularity and started to compose their own songs. In 1983, after starting out playing back yard parties as a cover band, Redzer was now opening for the bands, of whom music they were once playing, in large venues. During spring of 1984, Tito and Dino joined the Air Force, and Sheryll got married and left to start a family.

Sanctuary in San AntonioEdit

The band relocated from Houston to San Antonio Texas, while Jerry and Orrie decided to go on as a new named band. The name Orrie arrived at was Sanctuary in 1984. While writing new music, Orrie moved to the guitarist/vocalist role and Jerry went from bass guitar to lead guitar. Raul Gomez, a drummer who was better known as 'Stixx', was brought in from a past heavy metal band of Orrie's. Raul was not quite the style Orrie was needing, but being a great drummer and friend, he got the job. A few months later, Overdrive keyboardist Eddie Correa joined the project. It would not be till 1985 that Tony Ramirez would fill the longtime vacant bassist spot. Orrie composed several tunes during this time, including Force of Darkness, Sacrificial Lamb, The Elite, and The Battle.

First RecordingEdit

The band's first release (The Battle EP) was certainly nothing highly produced - it was just a demo recording done at Edit Point, a local San Antonio studio. However, it was this first tape that earned the band some notoriety. Fans, mainly teens and 20-something metal heads, would copy the tape and hand it around amongst their friends. This 'tape trading' in the 1980's was the first "Internet Networking" in action that we all share music with now. Their tape started to surface in places far from the SW United States, eventually into other Countries. In 1987, a band from Seattle WA, also billed as Sanctuary, was starting to cause confusion as to who was who. Orrie slapped an SA (abbreviation for San Antonio) on the front of Sanctuary becoming Sa Sanctuary from then on.

Sa SanctuaryEdit

1988 Angel Fuentes enters the band as vocalist. Angel, the front man of Sa Sanctuary's rival bands IBM and Mercynary, became acquainted with Orrie earlier from various 'run-ins' and exchanges of 'sabotage' that would happen within the local San Antonio metal scene while bands were competing for opening slots on all the major metal shows that came through town. So, rather than compete, they banded together. While Loudness (Japans premier metal band) was in San Antonio, Sa Sanctuary opened the bill. Akira Takasaki (Loudness guitarist) caught part of their show and met afterward to have Sa Sanctuary accompany them back to Japan as the supporting act on their 1988 Jealousy EP tour. After the response Sa Sanctuary got in Japan on that tour, they decided to relocate to Japan, resided and toured there for nearly 5 years before returning to live Texas.

A Decade Of AggressionEdit

Still unsigned, Velasquez and Fuentes started to write music that was heavier, faster, and more aggressive than before. From day 1 with Angel Fuentes, the current members were not accustomed to thrash metal and years later by 1998, it started to show. Around this time, a drummer from New England would get a copy of The Battle EP from Texas. Mykill Aresco, original drummer of Lost Soul, relocated to Texas in 1998 and just happened to move to the exact neighborhood that Orrie Velasquez lived. In May 1999, Mykill attended auditions for the band and got the full-time drummer slot. That year, Sa Sanctuary went to West Hollywood to record their first release, Abandon In Place and had a distributor press 250,000 copies that were all sold and/or given out at shows around the 'States, Japan and in Europe and had landed then a deal with Roid Rage Recordings, a Seattle WA record label. Another 250,000 CD's were sold while on that label. (This album is currently only available as MP3 downloads on By mid 2000, bassist Tony Ramirez decided to leave the band. He had been feeling for some time that the musical style of the band didn't match his tastes and playing style. After his departure, a "revolving door" of bassists played with the band, including:

  • Rick Florers
  • Danny Jamimenz
  • Ted Waryzniack

Eventually the bassist spot in the band was dropped.

In mid 2000, Jerry Casterlano left the band, due to tensions over the departure of Gomez in 1998 and the arrival of the new drummer, which is when the musical direction of the band completely changed. Casterlano was quoted in a PIT Magazine interview as saying "It just got too damn fast." After much shifting around of band members, the final line up became:

  • Angel Fuentes - Vocals / Lead Guitar
  • Romeo Vallejo - Keyboards
  • Orlando Velasquez - Rhythm Guitar
  • Mike (Mykill) Aresco - Drums

Japanese LabelEdit


Orrie(r) with Garek after signing at Studio Coast

Sa Sanctuary parted ways with Roid Rage Recordings in 2006 and were signed to 87811 L.L.C in winter of 2008. The band was on a 4 month tour of Europe and Japan when Garek Ehenders (owner of 87811) saw them at Studio Coast in Shin-Kiba, Kōtō, Tokyo, Japan. After the show, they talked and later signed on the dotted line. Garek had the intent to sign them, so he went to the show with the 'deal' in hand. Abandon In Place has since been re-recorded and set to be released on 87811 L.L.C. sometime in early 2010. Some sample tracks have been posted on the bands official site, Their second CD is titled Territories, and will be released that same year. Territories was originally called Download Humanity when they were on Roid Rage Recordings. It was never released on that label for unknown reasons.


Orrie Velasquez Edit

  • (2) ESP LTD FM-408 (8 string electric)
  • (3) ESP LTD M-207 (7 string electric)
  • (4) Carvin XB812 100W FULL-STACK AMPLIFIERS
  • Curt Mangan picks and guitar strings

Angel FuentesEdit

  • (3) ESP M-II NTB
  • (2)ESP M-II w/EMGs
  • (2) ESP LTD M-207 (7 string electric)
  • (4) Carvin XB812 100W FULL-STACK AMPLIFIERS
  • Curt Mangan picks and guitar strings

Romeo VellajoEdit

  • (1) Korg TR Workstation
  • (2) Korg M50 Workstations

Mykill ArescoEdit

  • Paiste Cymbals and Gongs
  • Tama drums
  • Pellwood Drum Sticks

External LinksEdit

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