For Fans Of
If you didn’t know Sentinel and judged their music simply by the cover of their new EP, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were an epic power metal band or melodic death metal outfit straight outta Scandinavia (which would still be fucking awesome, let’s be honest) with an emphasis on abstract concepts. Well, no, this Melbourne quintet are a progressive metalcore band, who are not only heavier than most of their peers, they also have this whole song-writing thing down pat too.
‘The Primordial Ruin’, a tale following on from their first EP, ‘The History Weave’, is about two cosmic forces, Life and Death, whom both betray one another and ultimately fuck shit up (Go here for a far more lengthy and far more eloquently put description of the EP’s concept) But, while it’s a far cooler narrative then most other bands have, you’re probably more interested in the music, and when compared with prior work, the quintet have gone above and beyond.
This is the heaviest and most technical Sentinel have sounded into their short life-span, and, as they’re still a young band, that can bode well for where they could go in the future. The influences of Sumerian Records’ best artists are clearly evident, yet the band gives the acts they look up to (your After The Burial’s for example) and fellow Aussies like Northlane a real run for their money, car, and all of their treasured valuables.
The post-rock influenced guitar layers do wonders for the textures of the songs like on ‘The ‘Terrible Lie (Hope‘, opener ‘Hubris‘, the beautiful instrumental that is ‘Revelations‘, and the soaring riffs in ‘The Horrible Truth (Failure)‘. They are great examples of what you can do with some truly beautiful layers, and while there are no clean vocals, the leads usually stand in place of a clean singer, to help balance out the sound. Yet in contrast, the sheer brutality of the heavier moments are insane, whether they’re produced via guitar, drum or throat. We repeat: IN-FUCKING-SANE! Take for instance the entirety of ‘Odium‘, which is a banger and a half, or how about the end of the title track, which has the sickest and strongest rhythmic drive of all of the songs, and those mid-song breakdowns are seriously next level. Oh, and how about that breakdown at the end of ‘Nadir’, which is only made all the more hectic with Aversions Crown vocalist Mark Poida laying down his beastly voice over. It’s not just Poida who features, as it seems the band has flashed their Batman-inspired Sentinel signal in the sky and allies have come a running to help out. Ergo, Mason Bunt of Pridelands lends his voice alongside the title track, and Glorified’s Chris Millward pops up on ‘The Terrible Lie (Hope)’ for one solid guestie.
The vocals, in particular, need a special mention as they’re not only, you know, good, they have some diversity to them. They switch between a metal-inspired guttural growl and a raw, modal scream, both of which have a distinct sound, which will aid the band in standing out from the crowd. Which shouldn’t be too hard, as while ‘The Primordial Ruin‘ is similar enough to their prior releases, it shows a stronger conviction, it shows improvements in both the song-writing and musicianship and as such, there’s no filler to be found on this super solid seven-track EP.
This reviewer must admit that he was wasn’t fully taken with ‘The Primordial Ruin’ at first, but multiple listens yielded the admiration and respect pointed out above, as this release will grow on you. The contrast of the more typical heavy, metalcore moments and the melodic parts are done very well. In fact, we would go as far as to say that very few do it as well, perhaps the only other Aussie bands who do it this well are fellow Melbournian’s Incentives and Perth’s Surroundings. With only their second EP, Sentinel have really shown off massive potential, and have delivered on their end. Let’s hope they don’t go the way of bands like Sierra and throw in the towel after dropping such a banging EP.
2. The Terrible Lie
4. The Horrible Truth
7. The Primordial Ruin