"Sentry" (High Roller; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Mark Shelton of the seminal hard rock/heavy metal band Manilla Road passed away in 2018, and took Manilla Road with him. Mark's death was a blow to the heavy metal community so one can only imagine the effect it had on the remaining band members. Which is why, they explain, it took just about five years before they could re-group and form a new band. And that's where Sentry comes in.

Sentry is a new band formed by those members: Bryan Patrick on vocals, Phil Ross on bass, and Andreas "Neudi" Neuderth on drums. They are joined in Sentry by guitarist Kalli Coldsmith. The result is the self-titled "Sentry," an album containing eight tracks (nine, if you count the bonus track, a nearly nine-minute Candlemass cover).

"Sentry" is what you would expect from former members of Manilla Road. It's not a carbon copy, of course, but the sound is still there. It's an old-fashioned heavy metal album, complete with heavy, cascading guitars, throbbing rhythms and song titles like "The Haunting," "Black Candles" and "Raven's Night." It's a darker album than anything that Manilla Road ever released and, in fact, plays like a tribute to the great writer Edgar Allen Poe.

My favorite tracks were the aforementioned (and eerie) "Black Candles," the atmospheric "Raven's Night," and the spooky "Funeral." Some of the tracks work better than others. "Dark Matter," for example, seems forced and uncomfortable, an unfortunate track to start off the album.

Fans of Manilla Road and that style of heavy metal will find something to like in Sentry's self-titled CD, especially if they've got a horror addiction as well.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2024 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.