February 25, 2022

Now this is a blast from the past and will, no doubt, have some old timers screaming in delight! Sentinel Beast is a band that was formed in Sacramento, California in 1984 with Depths Of Death coming out in 1986 and was the bands one and only album which is quite a pity although there does appear to have been a two track demo released much later in 2009.

The band was led by female vocalist Debbie Gunn and she has a tremendously deep register almost verging on a growled vocal and many could almost mistake her hard hitting, gravelly voice for that of the typical male bare-chested, stage strutting metal god that were so archetypal of the time. Well done to her for taking on such a role and making her mark and, no doubt, becoming an iconic vocalist when metal was still pretty much a man’s world, Neanderthal times indeed! Gunn was joined by Mike Spencer on bass and Scott Awes on drums and when this album was recorded the original twin guitarists had departed to be replaced by Barry Fischel and Mark Koyasako.

Depths Of Death features just the nine tracks for 35-minutes which is short by today’s standards but pretty normal for the 1980s but it would have been nice if a couple of extra bonus tracks could have been found. The band has a definite thrash approach although they seem to have been very greatly inspired by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and all things NWOBHM with aggressive vocals and absolute twin guitar metal mayhem with as many riffs and crazy guitar solos as you could ever wish for. The band was discovered by Kerry King of Slayer and was often to be found opening for bands like Slayer, Megadeth and Mercyful Fate so there was obvious potential there and Depths Of Death is a fine heavy metal album. It’s a little rough around the edges as this adds to the charms and the bands pays homage to its influences by closing the album with a fairly faithful version of Maiden’s Phantom Of The Opera.

I’m not sure what happened to the band but there is more than enough skill and talent shown on this album to have warranted at least a couple of more releases. Great fun but be warned that this album will definitely have you reaching out for your trusty old air guitar!

Depths Of Death

  1. Depths Of Death (2:51)
  2. Mourir (2:48)
  3. Dogs Of War (3:16)
  4. Corpse (4:09)
  5. Evil Is The Night (2:36)
  6. Sentinel Beast (5:00)
  7. Revenge (4:25)
  8. The Keeper (3:08)
  9. Phantom Of The Opera (5:49)