News: Matt Barlow and Jonah Weingarten Unveil New Project
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Legendary vocalist Matt Barlow (Pyramaze, Ashes of Ares, Iced Earth) and famed keyboardist Jonah Weingarten (Pyramaze, Structure of Inhumanity) have joined forces for an ambitious new project called Sentinels. Combining Barlow’s powerful voice and Weingarten’s epic orchestral style, Sentinels is breaking new ground in metal.
Though Barlow and Weingarten had contributed to Pyramaze’s Immortal album together, the two hadn’t met in person until performing at ProgPower USA 2016. It was after this performance that the duo began discussing doing a new project.
“I actually had a full band of metal tracks that I was looking for a vocalist on, but he was like ‘Ah, you know we’ve done that already. Let’s do something unique and original,’” explains Weingarten.
After discussing Barlow’s idea further, the idea came about to do a band that was simply his vocals and Weingarten’s keyboards in what he described as “heavy metal’s first lounge act.”
As ridiculous as this may sound, Weingarten thought it was a great idea and the project got started right away. A few months in, several tracks have been put together and the band officially announced itself to the public a week into the new year.
“We received a lot of positive feedback from announcing it,” Weingarten says proudly. “We have big plans for it.”
Not a traditional heavy metal band, Sentinels is just Barlow and Weingarten making epic “cinematic trailer music” that’s “very Hans Zimmer inspired” with a touch of Lords of the Rings.
“It’s kind of like heavy metal, like epic metal without the guitars,” says Weingarten, who didn’t want to reveal much more, so not to spoil any surprises for their fast amassing fan base.
As of this writing, Barlow has begun working lyrics to a few tracks that Weingarten has put together and sent his way. In time, the duo will figure out if they’ll record together or separately, but things are still in the early stages of development. Nonetheless, Weingarten believes the project’s debut album will be released in Spring 2017. Of course, he warns that “you can’t rush perfection,” but assures fans they’re “going to get it all together and make great music.”
Though Weingarten was careful not reveal too many secrets too soon, he did mention he’s laying the groundwork for a music video to complement the album and that live performances are not out of the question. As of the present time, however, they’re almost completely focused on making music. Everything else is on the back burner.
As for the sound of the upcoming debut, don’t expect a heavy metal album in the traditional sense. Since the project is something closer to an epic film score with a power metal vocalist at the helm, the music will include percussions, choirs, and piano elements. Guest musicians and vocalists aren’t likely this time around due to the band wanting to stand out on their own.
“This is really our statement. It’s riding strictly on the strength of his and my reputation and history with music….also in our belief that what we’re doing will be well received,” says Weingarten.
For fans of Matt Barlow and Jonah Weingarten it’s going to be tough to sit still and wait for the album. When it does finally hit the shelves, however, there’s no doubt in this writer’s mind that Sentinels will be another fine addition to these two musicians’ epic catalog.