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SENTIENCE
Beyond The Curse Of Death Demo (2014)

Another sigh of frustration escapes from my lips as once again I’m bombarded with a formulaic slab of death metal that one would’ve thought had been spewed from the murky realms of Sweden. But no, Sentience are an American death metal band – formed in January 2014 by Dark Empire mainman Matt Moliti (vocals / guitar) – who clearly haven’t read the instruction manual when it comes to creating death metal, because this demo is simply a Swedish death metal-by numbers tale of generic chainsaw riffs and vocals plucked straight from those older Entombed / Dismember albums.

Fair play to any band that is influenced by such a scene, but to mimic it from beginning to end is not the ideal package this reviewer was hoping for. Completely bereft of ideas, Beyond The Curse Of Death is just another same old, same old grind that became stale by the mid 90s when Entombed veered off into a more mainstream groove of black ’n’ roll. Yep, it’s catchy and the guitars should please anyone who hasn’t been exposed to this sort of sound over the decades, but to think that bands are still so obsessed with paying homage to the extent of ripping it off entirely just doesn’t sit well with me.

The scene is currently bogged down with bands of this ilk and I’m drowning in the sea of mediocrity, because Moliti seems to be trying to fool us into thinking that we’ll be bowled over by this. Oh so quickly does this demo grate; in fact, just one listen may leave you dehydrated from the generic nature of it all.

Three tracks on offer, a trio which seems to melt together as one long bore except for the interesting keyboard addition to ‘Dusk’, but why oh why should an American band set its stall out to sound so bloody Swedish? It’s a question I cannot answer. While some of the leads hold my attention for the duration of this demo, there is just the archetypal Swedish belligerence to go by.

If New Jersey’s Sentience does reach the album stages then they are going to have to try harder at not being so formulaic, but when something of this ilk sets out to do what it wants to do then this obstinacy can sometimes be rather tiresome. Beyond The Curse Of Death wouldn’t have got a look in had this been the mid 90s, and I see no reason today why it should turn heads with so many similarly-styled bands doing the rounds. Maybe I’m missing the point, but I can only be honest; for me, this to be slotted under the banner of “heard it all before”.

For those of you interested, the Beyond The Curse Of Death demo can be downloaded here.

Neil Arnold

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