It can be no coincidence that both the title of this the third album from New Jersey’s Sentient Horror has not only an album title but a none-more horror themed album cover imagery that could be from Morbid Visions/Beneath The Remain era Sepultura back when the band were a death metal outfit. It’s certainly not a coincidence but who better as a musical totem to align yourselves to than the Brazilians? Aside from comparisons with Max Cavalera et al, this is certainly more aligned to SweDeath genre musical stylings and that in itself is enough to send chills down my spine…but not in a good way. In my opinion, this is an overcrowded genre where, most of the good albums/music have already been released and bands that were leaders in this field, have either segued off into other musical territories or have disbanded. Anything else is a mere parody, standing on the shoulders of giants, peddling two bit carbon copies of HM-2 driven riffs from a better time… BUT…it is with immense pleasure that the music pouring into my ears as I type this review, is fresh sounding, invigorating and well played slices of plump, succulent death metal.
As with most bands in this genre, the standard, DM genre tropes of buzz saw/HM-2 ceviched guitars, are present but are augmented up by a huge production job, that renders everything here crisp, clean and clear which isn’t something that is normally associated with this genre but it also extends to the vocals. Although Matt Moliti’s vocals are gruff and gargled at times, you can hear the lyrics, propelled front and centre in the mix. It’s not un-similar to the production values heard on a latter era (Heartworks/Surgical Steel) Carcass full length efforts. It’s precision guided Death Metal that’s buffed to a high sheen, where you can virtually hear the click of the drum pedals, the scrape of a plectrum on a fret board and the vocal discharge and squelch from the spit covered microphone. It’s all highly produced and clinical.
The tempo swerves a little from song to song, but mostly keeps itself in the fast line with some mightily impressive drumming from what is an unnamed drummer. Subsequent investigation suggests that it may be all of the work of a drum machine although I can’t confirm that at the time, I am knocking this review together. Certainly, the hammer from the god’s precision of the playing could suggest that is the case. This is certainly an impressive album, it’s technical in the sense where this genre often isn’t, the songs are well crafted and whilst the songs don’t stray too far from the Carcass DM playbook, there is enough in here in, in terms of originality and an ability to segue the tempo within songs, that will keep you engaged for the majority of the album’s running time.
This is a pretty decent effort to be honest and whilst it could be considered a little formulaic in terms of its tone and song structures in places as well as it’s adherence to the genre tropes as referenced above, the overall feel, sound and playing on ‘Morbid Realms’ is enough to level this up from a mere curiosity to something that I would recommend to friends and fans of the SweDeath genre as well as those that like it like a over-cooked poppadum in a getaway car… fast, heavy and crisp.
(7/10 Nick Griffiths)