ALBUM REVIEW: Opponent – Sentinel


Openly born from adverse circumstances, Seattle’s Opponent is the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist Andy Maier. Following the news of Maier’s father’s cancer diagnosis, Maier set the precedent to make Opponent a full-time endeavour and set work on their sophomore full-length Sentinel (Solid State Records), a title which knowing the circumstances offers arguably two contrasting meanings. Whichever is meant, the album itself is one that is meant to deliver a positive, uplifting message.

Self-described as “inspired by everyone from Metallica, Megadeth, and AC/DC to At The Gates, Soilwork and Killswitch Engage”, it is the latter two of these where the bulk of their sound comes from with its balance of muscle and melody, with little to no deviation throughout. One slight exception is the introductory ‘Overture’ which is a largely instrumental piece which attempts at bringing atmosphere, yet feels entirely detached from the rest of proceedings.


Fortunately the following brace of songs in the title track and ‘Betrayed’ land a lot better; the former as a groove laden, stompy and impactful affair and ‘Betrayed’ showcasing their melodic streak more overtly. It becomes apparent from here on however that Sentinel is very one dimensional from here on in and, sadly, the remainder is far from as memorable as its opening high points; the likes of ‘Reflection’ bringing to mind their previously stated influences.

One thing that cannot be mistaken in this is the sense of sincerity behind its motivational messages. This is an album that is clearly born from the necessity within trying circumstances and that is a sense that is captured well. Otherwise there are a couple of strong moments in a piece that is, ultimately, in the shadow of a lot of its clear influences. Its strong points are enough that it warrants a listen however, especially for fans of such bands and perhaps would work better in a live setting.

Ultimately, however, this is a largely forgettable affair.


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5 / 10