Released: 2009, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
What happened to Sacramento´s metallers Sentinel Beast, some of you have been wondering for all these past years, right? DEPTHS OF DEATH, the band´s only but yet so excellent debut album was released through Roadrunner Records way back in 1986 already – and since then…nothing. Nothing at all. They just seemed to vanish from the face of the earth without none of us even noticing it.
As it´s been informed, the band was working with new songs for their follow-up album between 1986 and 1987, but they never got a chance to finalize their big plans to get their 2nd album out back in those days. What happened, Sentinel Beast unfortunately ceased to exist. A true pity for the fans of the bands that were hoping another release from them back in those days…
In 2009, however, we got blessed by a new band, carrying a mysterious name Fischel´s Beast, which is a solo project of the ex-Sentinel Beast guitarist Barry Fischel. COMMENCEMENT, this 6-track opus from Barry´s new project, contains actual material entirely written for that 2nd Sentinel Beast album that never came out. What we get on the COMMENCEMENT is 6 songs of a classic sounding US pre-power/speed/thrash metal that is loaded with intensity, amazing dynamics, aggressiveness and lots of great melodies.
Even if there´s only 6 songs on COMMENCEMENT – clocking in at no more than a bit over 34 minutes of playing time, it´s still got a nonstop rotation in my CD-player lately. As much as I loved Sentinel Beast´s debut album, I honestly gotta admit that I do enjoy this EP nearly as much as DEPTHS OF DEATH. This kind of vintage, US classic metal has always had a special place in my heart; packaged with stylistically made, easily flowing song arrangements that every metal fan can surely respect and appreciate in their daily dose of metal. Especially songs like “Forbidden Territories” and “The Phoenix” really caught my undivided attention; both songs containing some great Maiden-like melodies, awesome solo work, strong vocal parts, beautiful harmonies – and basically all that which makes you give more credit to some other songs than others.
COMMENCEMENT will naturally appeal to the fans of Sentinel Beast – as well as I can imagine it to appeal to all the fans of a relatively technical and melodic pre-power/speed metal (the fans of such bands as Heathen, Vicious Rumors, Griffin, Agent Steel, Savage Grace, etc. - take an attention!). I am really hoping right now that Barry could keep this project of his going on – somehow… somewhere… and some way. It´s a true waste of talent if Mr. Fischel cannot keep his own beast ready for its 3rd attack, which will hopefully happen sooner than anyone of us can actually expect. Great stuff here nevertheless!