Released: 1999, 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)
The bands sophomore effort KINGDOM OF THE KNIGHTS is a big step up from the debut album, three years prior. It seems a bigger budget may have been evident as the production and packaging are superior. First change is the stunning artwork of Ken Kelly (Manowar, Kiss). It’s a big step up from the last album. The album is self-produced by founder john Tzantis and label head Denis Gulbey and their experience shows from the previous album as this one just sounds better. It’s another eight-track album running about 45 minutes and this time they do a decent version of ‘The Ripper’ by Judas Priest. This song has been covered a dozen times, at least, by various Metal bands and Gothic Knights do a commendable version with a some good echo effects on the vocalist and he nails the quintessential opening scream.
The most noticeable change is that the vocal slot is now occupied buy Bryan Avatar replacing Rick Sanchez. I think in that point in time Bryan was a better vocalist than Rick having a bit more range and power in his voice. His performance is very good and I’m surprised he did not go onto a longer career as I believe this is the only thing he has done since. The other line-up change is the addition of Kevin Myers on the drums. It’s hard when you lose 50% of your band since the last album but Gothic Knights managed to maintain their signature sound. That sound is still firmly entrenched in the classic trad/power Metal style and the while album has a bit more kick, bite and punch than the debut. Overall KINGDOM OF THE KNIGHTS is a bit heavier and faster.
As the decade came to a close and the resurgence of true Metal was in fill-swing you could really feel good things on the horizon for this talented band. This album is superior to the good debut and as time would tell, it took them to the next level.