Some things go together so damn well, like meat and potatoes, sushi and soy sauce, and vegetables and hummus. Two things that continue to work wonders together are death metal and Dan Swanö. The Edge of Sanity mastermind has proven himself to be one of the best death metal engineers around, as records with his touch just sound incredible. Much like another Swanö special, Deserted Fear, New Jersey-based riff-mongers Sentient Horror are masters at the death metal basics. The guitar tone is clear in its buzzsaw ferocity; the preferred pace is two ticks below hyper-speed, and something akin to melody breaks through the surface just enough to give each song its own personality.
This effective and efficient EP highlights the band at their most ferocious, as this is far from a mid-tempo Entombed clone. The moments of respite in a well-placed Edge of Sanity cover highlight Sentient Horror’s acumen and possibly foreshadow a more progressive edge to future recordings. As it is, The Crypts Below is more Mammoth Grinder than Gatecreeper, but with top-notch riffs and more musical violence than even the most liberal parents would be comfortable with, the group have offered up an excellent batch of retro death metal to tide us over between full-lengths.