Released: 1996, Sentinel Steel
Once in a while I’ll come across a band that we haven’t reviewed for Metal-Rules.com and this case that band is Gothic Knights. Frankly, it embarrassing to me that I haven’t noticed that we had no Gothic Knights CD reviews in our database before because I love this band. Ever since Denis Gulbey of Sentinel Steel introduced them to me back in 1996 I’ve been a fan and have all their albums and they are perfect for this site. So as an indirect apology to the band and the fans for my oversight, I’ve decided to do quick review feature of their entire catalogue, you know, just to get caught up. Feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this feature of this wonderful band; namely GOTHIC KNIGHTS (1996), KINGDOM OF THE KNIGHTS (1999), UP FROM THE ASHES (2003) and the new one REFLECTIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE (2012)
Gothic Knights are the kind of band I would actively seek out and champion when the mainstream masses were proclaiming Metal to be ‘dead’. There debut self-tilted album also happens to be the very first album released on Sentinel Steel Records. It was a potent of great things to come for the respected label. This New York based traditional Metal band was formed in 1990 by guitarist, John Tzantis. The debut is eight cuts and quite well produced for a young independent type band. The CD itself has a cool cover of a wizard casting some sort of enchantment on a monster as his assistant (?) looks on. I’m not super thrilled by the pink colour scheme but the artwork itself is great. The booklet is a little thin, no lyrics and a black and white photo.
In terms of music it is a classic 80’s American Metal album with a good euro (ie. Priest/Maiden) influence. The vocals of Rick Sanchez are in the higher register and sings well enough to engage the listener in these classic metal tales. The performances are decent with a high level of skill and there are certainly some very strong songs, with ‘Nightmare Of The Witch’ being my favourite. The classic Metal sound is fully intact, soaring vocals, pounding drums, lots of good guitar solos are the basis of these conventional Metal songs.
The self-titled debut although a bit short at 33 minutes, is impressive and they were doing a style that was supposedly unpopular at the time but deserve recognition for keeping the flame alive. It caught my ear enough to make me a fan of their classic American Metal.