There must be something in the water Down Under. Australian bands have been releasing album after crushing album these past few years, and the m8s in five-piece Sentinel are no exception. This summer brought the release of Sentinel’s second EP, “The Primordial Ruin”, and they have since played alongside the likes of Chelsea Grin, Boris the Blade, and I, Valiance.
Offbeat breakdowns, soothing interludes, duh-jent tones, brutal highs and lows, soaring leads, and erudite lyrics all combine to form a masterpiece containing everything one could expect from a self-labeled progressive metalcore crew. Thankfully, they never descend into the all too common trap of cumbersome and unnecessary cleans, holding an urgent and dismayed mood throughout. With song titles like “The Terrible Lie”, “Nadir”, and “The Horrible Truth”, this comes hardly unexpected. Cleans obviously have their place, just not in albums with artwork like that.
TPR explores a search for balance between gods Life and Death as both seek full control over the universe. Brilliant lyricism includes the seven deadly sins subtly influencing the downfall of man, piercing dialogue between Life and Death, and more! Earth’s last moments are devastatingly blasted through your brain by another stellar performance from Mark Poida of Aversions Crown, one of three guest vocalists. In the end, Death realizes that his brother Life’s murder rendered the world’s balance impossible to maintain, and kills himself to bring final peace.
Just when you think the key and tone is set, a huge chug completely changes the mood and drops out of nowhere. Keep your toes nimble, in true metal fashion one never knows what’s about to happen at any time. “Revelations” is a break from the chaos of apocalypse while Death contemplates his newfound freedom to roam unhindered. Otherwise, a heavy groove prevails at the foundation, avoiding pointless 10bpm breakdowns and focusing on the relentless, impending triumph of the Void.
Sentinel improved vastly over the first EP, and have created material that should not be missed by anyone bored of the typical nonsense bombarding us these days. As one reviewer states: “Look at the album cover. Lightning tornados around some ghoul holding a dying person. Add to cart.” Go forth, keep balance alive.