New Jersey’s Sentient Horror first changed their name from Sentience back in 2016. Since that mutation they have been one of the most consistent crushers in the underground. Band mastermind and vocalist/lead guitarist Matt Moliti openly reveres old school Swedish death metal. As I wrote when premiering the band’s The Crypts Below EP: “While they’re not fuckin’ close to being a derivative worship band, Sentient Horror ain’t afraid to wear their influences loud ‘n’ proud.” There’s a colossal difference between mimicry and the way Moliti so convincingly conjures the wild blood of Stockholm circa 1992. Over thirty years might have passed since Edge of Sanity released Nothing But Death Remains. But Sentient Horror keeps that impulsive necroplasma alive on their third LP, Rites of Gore.
From the first foreboding stare of “A Faceless Corpse,” Rites of Gore has an even meaner streak than its 2019 predecessor (Morbid Realms). Sentient Horror remain devoted to Swedeath and the buzzsaw assault favored by Entombed. But this album has the stamina of a tireless predator hunting prey. When people talk about “all killer, no filler” albums they’re referencing records like this. The Stockholm stomp of “Swamp Burial” drags the listener through bogs of blood. There’s a sly rock ‘n’ roll vibe beneath the rotting flesh and cranium shards of “Splitting Skulls.” Album closer “The Eyes of Dread” nails a balance between cob-webbed atmospherics and the album’s ruthless death-sprint tempo. Sentient Horror earned their place among the most promising death metal bands of the twenty-teen decade. Rites of Gore delivers on that potential with an album that wipes the bone dust off old school death metal for a fresh take.
Sentient Horror’s Rites of Gore will be released April 22nd from Redefining Darkness and Testimony Records. Descend into chaos and succumb to your swamp burial by pressing play below.