Sentient Horror – Rites of Gore Review

New Jersey is known for many things, few of them good. What doesn’t come to mind when one thinks of the “Garden State” is good olde fashioned Swedeath. The sketchy ne’er-do-wells in Sentient Horror are doing their very best to change that, and third album Rites of Gore is a rowdy celebration of all things Entombed-core. Along with their buzzy HM-2 fetishism, the band integrates plenty of nods to the old-school death metal sound practiced by the likes of Cannibal Corpse as well as some truly beef-brained, meatheaded grooves that would make Jungle Rot proud. In other words, Rites of Gore is brutish death metal utterly devoid of innovation that approximates the sensation of being repeatedly run over by a busted-up school bus with a clacky, whacky exhaust system. Where do you sign up? Right here, actually.

Mere seconds into opener “A Faceless Corpse” you know exactly the kind of album you’ve cracked into. You’ve heard this kind of thing countless times, and yet Sentient Horror bring enough Reanimator fluid to the slab to make it get up and chase you with a bone saw. It’s like something off Left Hand Path running headlong into Massacre and it’s effectively ghastly and brain-pounding in its neanderthal-level tool usage. The riffs are skin abrading and the vocals croak and roar effectively. It’s fun if not paradigm-redefining. Big-boned cuts like “Swamp Burial” and “Splitting Skulls” are impossible to dislike as they d-beat you into a pool of pathetic chud. The former packs several riffs that could have appeared on Death’s Spiritual Healing, while the latter has massive grooves powerful enough to push the Z-horde back to Mother Russia.

Elsewhere, “Descend to Chaos” has a very Cannibal Corpse-esque romper stomp and its own emporium of bludgeoning groove monstrosities. Another highlight is the toe hammering ugliness of “The Grave is My Home” which thunders along like a runaway freight train loaded with radioactive I-beams. Final destination indeed. “The Eyes of Dread” tackles Bolt Thrower-style tank combat riffs with aplomb, and though the song runs a bit too long, the treads are strong and the riffs are explosive. While no track strikes me as an essential piece of death metal for 2022, none are bad/filler and all bring a good amount of hyperactive goonage to the event horizon. At a trim 42 minutes (minus the obligatory cover of Entombed’s “Supposed to Rot”), Rites of Gore is an easy spin full of dimwitted amusements. The sound is good too, with mixing handled by Jonny Pettersson (Massacre, Head for the Dead, ex-Just Before Dawn) and mastering by none other than Dan “the MAN” Swanö. The guitars have real bite and the drum sound vibrates the very core of the cosmos. I like that.

Matt Moliti and Jon Lopez are a potent guitar tandem capable of much enemy crushitude and wanton devastation. They know their way around a d-beat gallop but also bring a goodly amount of nasty OSDM punch to the compositions, which helps make this a wee bit more than just another Entombed/Dismember homage. There are some lethal grooves ladled out like so much street justice, and I’m a sucker for that stuff. Moliti also handles vocals and his delivery sits somewhere between Corpsegrinder and L.G. Petrov, which is good seating indeed. He even adds an occasional retch n’ belch akin to Autopsy’s Chris Reifert for extra infectiousness. The drumming by Evan Daniele is also noteworthy for its artillery-like concussive quality and grind-centric flavors. A solid band all around, and they’re not fucking around.

Rites of Gore is no-frills, highly regressive death metal with a learning disability and a fear of modernity. I relate to that and thus, I’m a fan of what Sentient Horror delivers here. It’s the kind of album that feels fairly generic on first spin but grows with each listen until you’re beaten into bloody fandom. It won’t change the death metal world one iota, but it doesn’t have to for you to enjoy it. You can take the boys out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of their death metal. Thuggish, low-rent death fun awaits the bold and the stupid. Which are you?

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 22nd, 2022

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