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Reviews

SENTENCED - STORY: A RECOLLECTION - CENTURY MEDIA
My issue with this compilation is not its existence or the music recorded on it, but rather the biography that accompanies it. The piece is written by someone obviously ignorant and clearly stupid because it manages to be nothing more than a protracted insult to extreme metal. While the bio, at least, confirms the official Century Media view that there is nothing extreme about Sentenced (except perhaps its degree of wimping out) assertions like extreme metal being dated or that any band which plays fast is stagnating are utterly delusional and the handiwork of someone who is obviously oblivious to the quality and quantity of the extreme metal music of today. Let us get a couple of things factually straight. First, Sentenced has wimped out. Second, seeing that commercial sell-out and poppy bands like Metallica and Paradise Lost are the norm, it is in fact Sentenced that has joined the herd and stagnated. Finally, were there no death metal fans, there would be no Sentenced today and if Century Media's biography writer insists on staying this retarded, then one hopes that by next year when the trend changes and death metal or grindcore becomes trendy again, this person has finally found that coveted job he longed for at a major multinational corporation where every cubicle is so efficiently designed for maximum conformity. - Ali "The Metallian"

SENTENCED - CRIMSON - CENTURY MEDIA
Long of no interest to metal listeners, these Finns' only claim to fame nowadays is that their albums go gold in Finland (which given the size of that country probably means sales of 250 units). Still, as if sharing honours with pop bands is a matter of pride, these dinosaurs additionally rip off the vocal phrasings of Paradise Lost, Amorphis' rhythms and the album title from Edge of Sanity to conclusively prove that this unit is sentenced to oblivion. - Ali "The Metallian"

SENTENCED - THE COLD WHITE LIGHT - CENTURY MEDIA
Gathering elements from their previous three albums, Crimson, Frozen and Down, Finland's Sentenced has returned with their seventh album The Cold White Light. Despite a two year absence there are no surprises here, something which will surely please their more recent fans. The music is catchy and sophisticated and the album is blessed with an appropriate production. The vocals are articulate and the backing vocals quite correct. The drum sound is full and the bass phenomenal in tone and distortion. This is where things get monotonous. There is only so much of this stuff one can take before taking a look in the mirror and noticing that it's truth or dare time and a man has to make a decision. How commercial is too commercial? Is a ballad like Aika Multaa Muistot a reflection of an artist's inner-most yearnings or a sign that someone, somewhere has sold out and dispatched his soul in the same envelope? Crossing the line from hard rock to commercial rock, do not be surprised if this band hits the charts all over the place. So akin to Paradise Lost circa 1995, and hardly relevant to metal fans, Sentenced anno 2002's art is to take a simple rhythm and extract dismal emotions from them. The question is to whom will this art appeal? After all, who can say they have heard from Paradise Lost recently?

SENTENCED - THE FUNERAL ALBUM - CENTURY MEDIA
Sentenced has joined the ranks of several other European bands, like The Crown, Emperor and Immortal, which have voluntarily resigned from the scene while at or close to their peak commercial potential. For one reason or another Sentenced and its select brethren have decided to throw in the towel while the going is good instead of seeing their stars fade or delivering albums without real inspiration. Kudos to them. Of course, in the past these farewells have also been used as cynical ploys to avoid forced retirement (Gorefest and its nose-diving sales figures, for example) or simply to catch one's breath (Crematory and its ridiculous comeback last year, for instance), but reading through Sentenced's biography it seems likely that this departure is permanent. In that case, the band's choice of a cover and album and song names is most befitting and speaks to the wisdom of a band choosing its own retirement rather than being forced into it by market forces and inspirational imperatives.
In this context, it is interesting to see what the Sentenced boys have come up with in terms of music and lyrics. For The Funeral Album is not working towards anything following it or is not meant to cement a future career. Given that, the band's last lament has turned out to be a triumphant goodbye. The Finns' depressed tuning and gloomy disposition remain of course, but song after song is listenable, interesting or catchy. This is a band with no one left to satisfy but itself and does just that. Except with creativity unleashed, everything veritably comes together. Songs like Drain Me and End Of The Road are mesmerizing, while the minute-long Where Water Falls Frozen is one last nod to the old death metal days before the band wimped out. Ever-Frost and We Are But Falling Leaves are wretched of course and, by now, the listener has noticed the intentional significance that has worked its way to the choice of lyrics and song titles.
Praise again to Sentenced for picking the manner of its funeral. Apparently, the group has more to teach many a band than its much-copied musical style. - Ali "The Metallian"

SENTENCED - BURIED ALIVE - CENTURY MEDIA  
The band that became one of the biggest (Finnish) symbols of changing styles or wimping out is no more and has released this 26-song double CD of the farewell concert. Ironically, one of the heavier moments of this live recording is a one-minute long instrumental that follows the Funeral intro and to make it even more perplexing Where Waters Fall Frozen is taken from Sentenced’s 2005 The Funeral Album. Following the nostalgic start, the band plods along through the 'suicide metal' songs with each having more depressing and melancholy moments than the one before. The former vocalist Taneli Jarva also makes an appearance as the band covers some of the not so recent part of its career in The War Ain't Over!, Nepenth, Northern Lights, The Way I Wanna Go and Dance On The Graves (Lil' Siztah). As with every other live recording a DVD version is being released and the visual version should offer more and will showcase more of Sentenced’s final day. - Anna Tergel




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