Although British, Horrified wasn’t a name known to me either through recordings or live appearance. I discovered that “Sentinel” is their second EP to go with three full albums in their seven years of existence.

Complex riffage with a certain melody matches the essentially death metal of “The Pessimist”, the opener. The vocalist sounds like he’s had too many cigarettes. “Awaiting Restitution” borders on bombast as a rhythmic line strikes up. The riff becomes more static. As a piece, there’s power and soul behind it, enhanced by guitar intrusions, but it’s not very exciting. I didn’t really get the theme of this one, but I did enjoy the short post metal section towards the end. There’s a bit of Agalloch or While Heaven Wept about all this. The vocalist’s desperate croakings don’t really work with it, as the colourful instrumental layers belie the harshness in the voice. The riff is constant. The guitarist appears to spice things up a bit. “Celestial Tears” is a nice guitar interlude. It conveyed more than what had gone before in its simplicity. The familiar twisty pattern resumes with “Forgotten Thrones”. Progress is as ever pedestrian. “The Perceiver” finally picks up the pace. It drops back but finally it expands and the band’s undoubted technique leads to something tangibly atmospheric. To this point the album had been lacking this element for me, and now it was over.

I felt that “Sentinel” was a series of unfinished ideas. I sensed that there was supposed to be something epic about this, but while inundating us with technical twists, it was as if Horrified didn’t know where to go. There was little or no build-up, and the endings were flat. I sense there’s a lot more to this band than tight musicianship, but I was disappointed with “Sentinel”.

(6/10 Andrew Doherty)