SENTINEL BEAST were formed in Sacramento U.S.A. in 1984. The band was discovered by Kerry King (SLAYER) and Kenny Powell (OMEN) and in 1986 they released through Metal Blade Records their debut album entitled “Depths of Death”. The album is considered a cult classic for the fans of underground metal. Later on the band broke up when Michael Spencer (bass player) joined FLOTSAM AND JETSAM as a replacement of Jason Newstead. Debbie Gunn (vocalist) departed for Chicago shortly after to front ZNOWHITE, then relocated to Europe to join the all female thrash band ICE AGE. The band with the original singer, Debbie Gunn, returned to action in 2007. So, as you can see this is a re-issue of an 80’s album that now you have the chance to discover or purchase in case you have missed it back then.
THE COVER: A friend of mine had a copy of this album and the cover impressed me due to its simplicity and ferocity. It shows a ferocious blue colored 3 headed dog, probably must be Cerberus, the guardian of Hades in the ancient Greek mythology. So, the cover shows its age, but is still nice and above all straight to the point.
MUSICAL STYLE: The band was formed in 1984. This was an era that thrash metal was rising in the U.S. and SENTINEL BEAST belong to the first bands that played this kind of music, although they have never manage to become so known as other bands of the same era. Actually, the band moves musically between the speed and thrash metal sound and they also have some traditional heavy metal elements. Their trademark in my opinion is their raw and yet sometimes melodic sound.
COMPOSITIONS: The re-issue includes the 9 compositions that were included in the original release of the album and here you will find as a bonus their composition entitled “Sentinel Beast” which was included in the compilation Metal Massacre VII. As I said above the main element of the compositions is their raw and aggressive sound, but also the bands throws in some traditional heavy metal oriented melodies. I think they had a sound that distinguishes, although a comparison with bands like EXCITER, early METALLICA and AGENT STEEL is obvious. Finally the cover of IRON MAIDEN’S “Phantom of the Opera” is close to the original and yet the band gave it its own speed/thrash metal character.
CONCLUSION: “Depths of Death” is already considered a classic in the underground metal scene and it is really strange how this band has never earned more attention by the fans since they deserve it and because I think they sounded quite original back then. Now that the 80’s are back for good, Marquee Records gives you the opportunity to discover this quality speed/thrash metal album. If you are into this sound, then you have to buy it.