Sentry – Breakin’ Free

Breakin’ Free
1988 (no label)
Poughkeepsie, New York, USA

Dave McCreary – Lead vocals, guitars
Tim Knepper – Keyboards
Steve Knepper – Bass
Jeff Stewart – Drums, vocals

  1. Shout the Word
  2. Real Love
  3. To Go My Own Way
  4. Shattered Lives

This is the debut demo (as far as I can tell) from Sentry, a year before Sick of Darkness. This one seems a bit heavier on the keyboards than the later demo – even going into a power ballad at the second track. I love how the picture of the band on the cover above features each one of them in different metal eras. The guy on the top left is a “mid-80s Bon Jovi/Europe” look. The guy on the top right is “early 80s metal pre-Quiet Riot” mode. Bottom left is late 70s Van Halen/Scorpions dude. Then the bottom right is “early 80s / thought he was in an AOR band” guy. The top left and bottom right guy are probably the ones that got the sound most right at least.

Sentry – Sick of the Darkness

Sick of the Darkness
1989 (no label)
Quincy, Massachusetts, USA

Dave McCreary – Lead vocals, guitars, and backing vocals
Jeffrey Stewart – Drums, funny face, and backing vocals
Tim Knepper – Keyboards and hair flips
Steve Knepper – Bass and thuds

Side 1:

  1. The Choice
  2. Passing Moments
  3. Living in a Lie

Side 2:

  1. Sick of the Darkness
  2. Hope for You and I
  3. Heaven Bound

Slick, syrupy sweet hair metal with a heavy dose of keyboards. This sound was all the rage back in the late 80s. Some of the songs here seem to bring in a slight mid-80s progressive rock slant in places (especially in the keyboards and song lengths), making this an interesting combination. But the layered, soaring background vocals keep it grounded in commercial metal. This is well played, written, and packaged music. The vocals do sound a hair off in places, but nothing too major. You can tell from the pictures and extensive liner notes / thank yous (including a weird swipe at people that used stage names in metal bands) that these guys probably had a size-able following back in the day. This is the second demo, following 1988’s Breakin’ Free. After that – I can’t find much more about the band.