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Carl Sentance - Electric Eye Award winner

Carl Sentance
Electric Eye
by Mike Peacock at 21 February 2022, 7:48 AM

Continuing his legacy of producing top-tier melodic hard rock, NAZARETH front man CARL SENTANCE is back with another musical masterpiece in the form of his latest solo album, “Electric Eye.”  Released via Drakkar Entertainment on November 19, 2021, his latest effort proves that even with over 3 decades of material behind him he is showing no signs of slowing down or letting up. In fact, he continues to display remarkably progressive musicianship while never sounding directly derivative of any other band he’s played with. And that’s saying a lot, since he’s played with some heavy hitters.

I’ve been familiar with NAZARETH since the early days, and their sound has evolved many times over the years with the revolving door of vocalists and other members. When I heard Carl on their 2018 album “Tattooed on My Brain,” my first thought was “Woah, this guy’s got some pipes.” And as a result, it is my opinion that he once again took the band to new heights and gave them as close to a “metal” edge as they have achieved thus far. And a shiny new coat of vocal polish.

Having not heard his first two solo releases, I expected this project to be a total NAZARETH clone, a cash-in of sorts. But I was pleasantly surprised that was not the case. And while fans of “Tattooed on My Brain” will definitely find some familiar feeling here, there are so many different and cool elements on “Electric Eye” that you’ll know for sure you’re listening to an entirely different band.

Sonically, “Electric Eye” falls somewhere between melodic hard rock and heavy metal. Not quite edgy enough to be true metal, but with a modern heavy guitar sound that borders on progressive. Carl showcases a wealth of vocal diversity, and his singing seems almost effortlessly perfect. The album’s opener, “Alright,” grabs you immediately with a Bowie-esque lower-register vocal passage to start it off before soaring into flawlessly smooth higher-register melody that is somewhat reminiscent of the “Promised Land/Q2K/Tribe” era Geoff Tate.  In fact, I couldn’t shake the comparison to Tate’s vocals throughout much of this work, though he never really attempts to go for the true falsetto ranges. You’ll be singing the chorus of this song all day; I promise you that.

From there, we go right into “Overload” with its rockin intro and some tasty double kick drums. I thought the use of double kick on this track was genius: It’s mid-paced and heavy over a subdued guitar track, showcasing some awesome musical dynamics. Follow that up with another awesome vocal hook and a killer harmony break and you’ve got another killer track. The anthemic track “Judas” is stadium rock at its best, with a ridiculously catchy guitar lick that’s sure to get stuck in your head and a driving back beat that gets the blood pumping. This song sounds like it could be in a commercial or the soundtrack to a motivational video.

You ever what would happen if LOS LONELY BOYS and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS had a threesome with the BLACK CROWES that resulted in a musical child of awesomeness?  You’d have the track “Nervous Breakdown,” with its not-so-subtle TexMex blues-meets-funk approach. The guitar work in this song is really cool, and Carl’s vocals take on a whole new character. It’s upbeat and funky and is probably the most unique song on this album.  My favorite tune here is “Young Beggars.” This dynamic and emotionally expressive song has (perhaps) the catchiest chorus on this album, and you’ll be singing this quasi-ballad so much you’ll be tempted to put it on repeat.

I did have a “huh?” moment with one song: “California Queen.” It was a little too “pool party” for me, and its punk/grunge/rock mishmash left me a bit confused. Clearly, they were trying to showcase musical and stylistic diversity, which I feel they achieved with “Nervous Breakdown,” so this track not only felt conceptually unnecessary to me, but it really just didn’t work. That being said, they close it all out with a bang and bring the metal for the final track, “Exile.”
Complete with some heavy riffing, epic solos, and fantastic vocal range this is the perfect tune to leave you wanting more and entice you play it all over again.

The production on “Electric Eye” is amazing. Each instrument rings out with clarity, and this is truly a standard to set recording quality by. That being said, those who like their rock a little rawer and more stripped down will no doubt find this effort a little too “producer-y.” I do feel the vocals have too many effects on them. Carl’s voice could easily stand out in the mix without so much processing, and his obvious talent does not necessitate that much help. Still, the vocals sound great and the overall product is professional and easy to listen to.

At times, this album wants to be hair metal, but it never quite goes there. It’s the perfect blend of catchy melody and hard rockin’ rhythms that fans of NAZARETH, DEEP PURPLE, NIGHT RANGER, DEF LEPPARD, BON JOVI, JOURNEY, and BLUE OYSTER CULT will definitely want to check out, as will those wanting an ever-so-slight hint of 90’s nostalgia. Upbeat, energetic, fun, and catchy this album is definitely worth a listen.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Alright
2. Overload
3. If This Is Heaven
4. Judas
5. Nervous Breakdown
6. Young Beggars
7. California Queen
8. Battlecry
9. Electric Eye
10. Exile
Lineup:
Carl Sentence – Vocals/Guitar
Don Airey – Keyboards
Bob Richards - Drums
Wayne Banks – Bass
Record Label: Drakkar Entertainment
     


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Edited 27 November 2022
 

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