SENTIENT HORROR are a relatively new addition to the death metal scene; hailing from New Jersey they formed in 2014. Don’t let this fool you though, on their first ever full length album, Ungodly Forms, their sound is exceptionally polished and tight.
Ryan Cardoza on drums pounds out blast beats and rolling fills as on-point as the most veteran drummers in the business, and Ian Jordan provides depth to the riffs with his beautifully heavy bass lines. The star of the show though is undoubtedly Matt Moliti (Previously of DARK EMPIRE) who provides us with searing fast solos, harsh and heavy riffs and brutal death growls akin even to Mikael Åkerfeldt.
To begin the album, Into The Abyss, an introductory instrumental which is slow and relaxed by comparison to the rest of the album. It seems to serve as a shot across the bow, a warning of what is to come, a short lived warning. 50 seconds in the music seamlessly morphs into the beginning of the second track.
Abyssal Ways begins with a heavy melodic riff which is joined quickly by a blast beat, and shortly after Matt Moliti appears to scream our faces off. From here on out long-time fans on death metal will be in comfortable and familiar territory. Much of the album is very reminiscent of the old school of Scandinavian death metal (think DARK TRANQUILITY or AT THE GATES) so although not necessarily ground breaking, there are a lot of sounds we perhaps haven’t heard for a while.
Die Decay Devour is a stand out track, the guitar and bass work is incredible, from hellishly fast riffs to melodic and technically brilliant licks every second is a joy to listen to. The drums are perfectly placed, mirroring the guitar and bass when needed or providing exceptional fills and rolls between vocals, this is one to look out for.
Halfway through the album the title track Ungodly Forms comes on and it is definitely a crowd pleaser. From the outset we are treated to lightning kicks from Ryan Cardoza and thirty seconds in, perhaps the most infectious riff on the album. We’re talking the kind of riff that will have you closing your eyes and forgetting where you are, only to wake up head banging for all to see on your morning commute (don’t lie, you’ve done it too). The grand pause two minutes in will get you all over again, with Matt Moliti screaming “Ungodly Forms!” down your ear holes just before the instruments kick back into gear again.
The album is a real throwback to the good old days, anyone who has been around the scene for a long time will love it. If you haven’t though, then you might find something here you haven’t heard before, something which harks back 20 years to the earlier years of death metal as a genre, so listen up and take in that history. A great album all around, nothing new, but that’s no bad thing when old school death metal has always been so solid.
Ungodly Forms is set for release on December 9th via Testimony Records.
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