Sentry – Sentry

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After Mark Shelton’s passing in 2018, the remaining members disbanded Manilla Road and reformed under the new moniker Sentry. With Shelton being the main and consistent driving force behind this legendary band since the late seventies, it would have been a vain exercise to try and continue under the same name.

To start out with a bold, yet very true, statement: Manilla Road basically helped invent epic metal in the early eighties. Along with the likes of Cirith Ungol essentially every heavy metal band that goes for a grand epic scale full of tales of sword and sorcery owes a creative debt to these pioneers. They may have never come close to the sort of recognition that Iron Maiden or Judas Priest got on this side of the pond, but when it comes to bona fide American heavy metal, forged in epic steel, Manilla Road really were the godfathers. Despite a hiatus in the nineties, they released no less than 18 full length albums which for the most part retained a solid high quality throughout: from the evergreen classics like ‘Crystal Logic’, ‘Open the Gates’ and ‘Mystification’ in their heyday in the eighties to later albums like ‘Voyager’ and ‘The Blessed Curse’.

So now, we find ourselves 6 years later and we have Sentry which consists of the last known active lineup with veteran Bryan ‘HellRoadie’ Patrick on vocals, Andreas Neuderth (Neudi) on drums and Phil Ross on bass. Shelton had been sharing vocals with Bryan Patrick since ‘Atlantis Rising’ after the turn of the century. Therefore, this debut does recall primarily those later 6 albums. It also makes him feel very familiar as frontman of this new incarnation.

On guitars we find Eric ‘Kalli’ Kaldschmidt who had already played on the Mark Shelton Tribute on the Keep it True festival. So it really has become an international German/American hybrid. In many ways Sentry‘s debut album is very much a homage to Shelton, not only to the musical legacy he has left behind, but also to him as a person as is exemplified in many of the lyrics and songs, perhaps most explicitly in the closing song ‘Funeral’.

At the rear end of this record comes a tribute to yet another legend, namely Candlemass in the guise of ‘Incarnation of Evil’.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 7/10

There will never be another Manilla Road album, but amidst a current resurgence and reappreciation of classic heavy metal, it is great to see Shelton’s brethren continuing to carry the torch.

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