SENTIENT HORROR UNLEASH 'UNGODLY FORMS', THEIR DEBUT ALBUM
'Ungodly Forms' came as a double surprise to me, firstly because it's only the debut release from Sentient Horror and secondly, despite delivering a classic Swedish style Old School Death Metal that made me think they were Swedish, they actually hail from northern New Jersey, USA.
But I'm not the only person to have that opinion. Swedish mastermind Dan Swanö (ex-Edge Of Sanity, ex-Bloodbath, Witherscape) also said that Sentient Horror are "One of the best 'SweDeath' projects I have come across in twenty years, the perfect blend of all the highlights from the Swedish scene from 1989 to 1991. Truly awesome!" Praise indeed from such a Metal legend.
Sentient Horror were formed in 2014 by lead guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Matt Moliti (ex-Dark Empire) his goal being to record Death Metal in the vein of the early 90s Stockholm scene, originally as a solo project called Sentience, then music instructor Matt recruited the perfect musicians to expand into a live band, his former students Ian Jordan (bass) and Ryan Cardoza (drums), the line-up completed by Jon Lopez on rhythm guitar and with a name change to Sentient Horror they were ready to unleash the blistering debut full length, 'Ungodly Forms' onto the world.
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I can't fault this album. It's superb on all fronts, addictively catchy yet still delightfully brutal, great riffing, an abundance of superb lead work and excellent rasping vocals that are harsh, well intonated, with a clear delivery. The construction of the songs is also excellent and made all the more listenable by the addition of a subtle progressive edge. Matt's professional expertise shines through on all the tracks as does his vision for this album and band.
It's an album that is enjoyable in its entirety and also has a lot of standout moments right from the start with the opening intro 'Into The Abyss', a superb, dark haunting piece that grabs your attention before merging into 'Abyssal Ways' which is rapid, crushing and brutal with an addictive repeat and stunning solo. The lead work really has a wow factor to it, particularly on 'Die Decay Devour', 'Splinter The Cross', 'Beyond The Curse Of Death' and 'Of Filth And Flesh'.
Although excellent across the whole album the vocal delivery really stands out on both 'Blood Rot', where it is powerfully drawn out on a riff fest of a track and then takes on a tortured intonation on 'Celestial Carnage', the final track which also boasts one last chunk of stunning spiralling lead work.
Even when the pace drops as on 'Ungodly Forms', a crushingly sinister feel is still maintained alongside a crunchy dirty edge and showing a more reflective side on the penultimate track, 'Mourning', a brief but beautiful reflective instrumental, the calm before the final storm.
'Ungodly Forms' was mixed by Damian Herring (Horrendous) and mastered by Dan Swanö, the album artwork was created by Patrik Tegnander (Chainsaw Design) and is out now on Redefining Darkness Records (N.America) and Testimony Records (Europe). If you like Swedish Death Metal you will love this album - it's a stunner!