February 1, 2023

Rock projects seem to come thick and fast these days and in any other market then we could possibly be talking about over saturation but the music business is and always has been about excess and maximising the market and the band’s potential. Let’s face it, these special ventures will always find favour with fans looking for the next big thing.

Highway Sentinels was put together by the musician, author and journalist Steven Rosen and keyboard player Jimmy Waldo who is real rock royalty being a founding member of Alcatrazz and New England as well as associations with bands like Quiet Riot, Vinnie Vincent, Blackthorne, Pretty Maids, WASP, Skull and The Scream. Both used the unreal lockdown periods in 2021 to write new material and sharpen up songs that were written more than 20-years ago and then the search began for like-minded musicians to bring everything to life. Vocal duties are handled by the exceptional David Reece known for his work as a solo artist and with Accept, Bangalore Choir and Bonfire and he was also entrusted with adding lyrics and adapting the vocal harmonies so there is a real band feel about the album rather than someone just coming in, singing the songs and then passing onto the next project. Steven Rosen supplies guitar, Jimmy Waldo is on keyboards with Donnie Van Stavern on bass and Mark Zonder on drums with a sensational list of guitarists to add their individual solos to the album. Given the involvement of such high-profile musicians and the stellar list of guests then it is very safe to boldly state that Highway Sentinels is every bit a supergroup! Zonder, as we all know built a huge reputation with Fates Warning and Warlord and is now involved with the stunning A-Z alongside the Fates Warning vocalist Ray Alder and this is a must have album so get those wallets out again. Van Stavern cut his teeth with Riot which means that this guy plays bass and then some; certainly no one sleeps while he is on stage! With an already ‘A’ list of musicians and then add in guest guitarists including Joe Stump (Alcatrazz), Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns), Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Sons Of Apollo), Mike Flyntz (Riot V), Joe Satriani, Herman Frank and Paul Gilbert and if that lot does not excite then may I suggest that you consider artists like Katy Perry!

The older material on the album is Afterlife and We Won’t Be Forgotten’ which Waldo wrote for Blackthorne and Victim Of The Night from Reece’s time with Bangalore Choir. It’s great fun to hear these veteran tracks and they slot in seamlessly with the newer songs which is testimony to the band and the simple fact that classic music never ages. The Waiting Fire is very much a cultured classic rock release with a definite melodic harmony running throughout but it truly rocks and is totally timeless as the core values that went into this record have not changed much since those early days of the ’70s when Hard Rock took the world by storm. The album is full of superbly written songs that are delivered to perfection with amazing vocals and thrilling musicianship and some guitar that will literally blow your socks off.

If you find yourself bemoaning the fact that they do not make music like they used to then give this a listen and you will find that they still very much do. Hopefully, the guys will have enjoyed the process so much that they will make the project into a real touring band and if they have more albums in them like this then we are all going to be so much the richer.

The Waiting Fire

  1. I’m A Loser (3:28)
  2. Face In The Crowd (4:02)
  3. Afterlife (4:55), Love And Hate (4:33)
  4. Victim Of The Night (4:10)
  5. Tortured Soul (7:06)
  6. We Won’t Be Forgotten (6:21)
  7. All Comes Crashing Down (4:18)
  8. I Don’t Care Anymore (4:26)
  9. Not Too Late (4:36)
  10. How To Be Real (5:18)
  11. Hell In A Handbasket (4:07)