Sentient Horror
Rites of Gore

New Jersey’s Sentient Horror, previously called Sentience, return with their third album-Rites of Horror. Their 2016 debut, Ungodly Forms, is still their finest and I saw them perform on that tour and they killed it. I love American bands who can emulate the classic Swedish death metal sounds of yore and Sentient Horror do it perfectly. The Crypts Below ep and Morbid Realms album which followed the debut, were all solid displays of heavy and brutal Swedish inspired death metal. At this point Sentient Horror has this style down to a science and this 10 song album shows them not slowing down.

I’ll first point out the last song is “Supposed to Rot” (Entombed cover) and hot damn it’s perfect. Sentient Horror, with that HM-2 heavy buzz saw guitar time emulate Entombed incredibly well in this scorching cover. Excellent choice.
“A Faceless Corpse” opens the album starting with a slow buildup before the Holy Shit moment of the isolated guitar riffing starts and a monster blast beat erupts. Ferocious blasts. Halfway into the song a nice atmospheric and melodic moment takes place. It’s excellent how the song picks up speed and the guitar solo is inserted. The blast best comes back and is excellent. One of the noticeable items on this album is the guitar tone. It’s a little noisier than previous releases and therefore not as heavy sounding as previously released material.  So, on the faster moments the guitar riffs are not as discernible as they need to be –  partially the drum mix is to blame as it’s mixed wayyyyy too loud. Regardless; the song is still great.
“Obliteration of Souls” is a great song and when those isolated guitar moments come in they really add to creating a more memorable song. “Swamp Burial” off the jump… well jumps into a blast beat. The classic galloping beat at the 50 second mark will bring a smile to your face. The slower moment at the 1.47 is rumbling heaviness, although the noisier production does detract a bit of hearing all the instruments.  A nice guitar solo comes in and then a groove passage comes in and this is where the album shines. The slower moments because the super-fast sections have a wall of noise feeling.

The title track opens with nice rumbling heaviness and then into a faster moment with great death metal vocals. Then right into that rumbling heaviness. The quicker moments are balanced very well with slower and heavier moments which had me picking up pepperoni pizzas and launching them across the Atlantic. The title track is one of the best songs the band had written. Will be a great song in a live setting.  “Til Death Do Us Part” was the single released for the album and at the 30 second part the boast fest could potentially lop your pathetic head off your body. The tempo shifts are abundant and this is a strong track and a great choice for their single.
I enjoy Rites of Gore by Sentient Horror. It’s a solid death metal album with enough Swedish influence, mixed with their own original ideas, to keep the listener interested. The production drops the ball a bit, as previously mentioned, the drums will overpower everything on the fast sections. When the slower moments come in, take for instance “Splitting Skulls”, the heaviness and production work much better. The faster moments would have sounded better with a better production. I’ll say this when listening to the album with headphones the album sounds much better.
Regardless; I love the album cover and this is another solid album by Sentient Horror. I hope to see them live again at some point.
[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 13th, 2022


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