The Finnish heavy metal band Sentenced released its debut album, Shadows of the Past, in the early '90s on a small French label. They started off as a generic death metal
band but evolved into a more melodic heavy metal band with each album. Their early style has been labeled the "Gothenberg Sound".

Sentenced - Amok (Century Media) 1995

1. "The War Ain't Over!" (4:18)
2. "Phenix" (5:33)
3. "New Age Messiah" (4:28)
4. "Forever Lost" (7:15)
5. "Funeral Spring" (3:54)
6. "Nepenthe" (3:52)
7. "Dance on the Graves (Lil' Siztah)" (4:27)
8. "Moon Magick" (4:45)
9. "The Golden Stream of Lapland" (4:58)

After releasing one brutal death metal album, that generally was praised by most fans, Sentenced totally changed their style. While many death metal fans complain, I applaud. "Amok" is a transition album that still has some elements of death metal, but for the most part is just a killer mixture of rock and power metal. Imagine a Euro-death band playing Rush and Queensryche material with a singer that can manage to be be both brutal and melodic. On top of this, "Amok" features crisp, crunchy production, killer songwriting, and well-thought-out Scandanavian themed lyrics. "Amok" is just one darn fine heavy metal album.

Sentenced - Down (Century Media) 1996

1. "Intro - The Gate" (1:22)
2. "Noose" (4:01)
3. "Shadegrown" (4:36)
4. "Bleed" (3:40)
5. "Keep My Grave Open" (3:53)
6. "Crumbling Down (Give Up Hope)" (5:26)
7. "Sun Won't Shine" (4:17)
8. "Ode To The End" (5:21)
9. "0132" (1:42)
10. "Warrior Of Life (Reaper Redeemer)" (3:41)
11. "I'll Throw The First Rock" (3:26)

I know many Sentenced fans prefer the band's early death metal years, but I prefer these more melodic, progressive metal CDs with new vocalist Ville Laihala. "Down" is just a fantastic album. From the "Noose" to the upbeat "I'll Throw the First Rock " to the awesome "Bleed" this one is solid from beginning to end. Oddly enough there are not a whole lot of guitar solos, but the music doesn't seem empty without them. Where there are guitar solos they are more concentrated on melody than on anything shredding. (thanks for the trade Jani Boutellier)

Story: A Recollection Sentenced - Story: A Recollection (Century Media) 1997

  1. "Noose" (4:03)
  2. "Nepenthe" (3:55)
  3. "Sun Won't Shine" (4:18)
  4. "Dance on the Graves" (4:27)
  5. "The Way I Wanna Go" (4:14)
  6. "White Wedding" (3:27)
  7. "My Sky is Darker Than Thine" (5:47)
  8. "The Trooper" (3:19)
  9. "New Age Messiah" (4:31)
  10. "Desert by Night" (6:32)
  11. "No Tomorrow" (4:38)
  12. "The Truth" (6:25)
  13. "Awaiting the Winter Frost" (5:50)
  14. "Crumbling Down (Give Up Hope)" (5:27)
  15. "In Memoriam" (5:25)

After picking up Sentenced "Frozen" and thoroughly enjoying it, I found a used copy of this cd. What better way to check out more of the band's material than this compilation cd. The music ranges in style from the bands primitive death metal beginnings to their more recent doom/heavy metal sound, which I actually prefer. There are two cover songs on this disc, both of which were originally released on an EP that went out of print long ago. (The other 3 songs from that EP are also included here - "Desert by Night", "In Memoriam", "Awaiting the Winter Frost"). The cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" is quite good. The Iron Maiden cover, on the other hand, is not spectacular, mostly because the vocalist doesn't have the range and charisma of Bruce Dickinson. However, what I really got out of this disc is that I have to find and purchase "Down".

Moonflower Lane Sentenced - Frozen (Century Media) 1998

1. "Kaamos" [instrumental] (1:33)
2. "Farewell" (3:44)
3. "Dead Leaves" (5:26)
4. "For the Love I Bear" (3:28)
5. "One With Misery" (3:36)
6. "The Suicider" (3:43)
7. "The Rain Comes Falling Down" (6:18)
8. "Grave Sweet Grave" (3:55)
9. "Burn" (2:46)
10. "Drown Together" (5:09)
11. "Let Go (The Last Chapter)" (4:24)
12. "Mourn" (4:44)

Many years ago I borrowed a Century Media compilation and discovered three great bands. One of those bands was Sentenced. Unfortunately, the other two were Iced Earth and Nevermore, who both became some of my all time favorite bands. Because of that I sort of forgot about Sentenced until I stumbled across thie copy of "Frozen" for a mere $5.99, still sealed. So I snagged it up immediately. "Frozen" is a phenomenal, melodic, atmospheric heavy metal platter. The closest comparison that I can come up with is perhaps Paradise Lost's "Draconian Times". It's not even that the two bands sound the same, but that there is a certain quality to the music that kept me pushing the play button over and over again. Grand metal grooves just cover this album from the opening track through the end. Imagine a mix of Paradise Lost, Iron Maiden and Metallica. That is about the best I can come up with. Can't wait to get some more of ths band's discs. They are destined to become another favorite.

Crimson Sentenced - Crimson (Century Media) 2000

1. "Bleed In My Arms" (5:09)
2. "Home In Despair" (3:48)
3. "Fragile" (5:56)
4. "No More Beating As One" (4:15)
5. "Broken" (4:32)
6. "Killing Me Killing You" (5:26)
7. "Dead Moon Rising" (4:56)
8. "The River" (4:50)
9. "One More Day" (5:13)
10. "With Bitterness and Joy" (4:43)
11. "My Slowing Hear" (5:57)

It's hard to believe listening to "Crimson" that Sentenced began life as a death metal band. I know many metalheads that hate these later day Sentenced albums, but I find them to be absolutely spellbinding. OK, they are no longer ultra-heavy death metal, but there is no denying that these guys are good songwriters and excellent musicians. "Crimson" is a bit dark, relatively slow, dark and melodic, but it's also retains an aggressive edge. At times I would even describe the music as somber, eerie, haunting and even melancholy at times. I know these are not adjectives usually ascribed to a metal band, but there is no better way to describe the music on "Crimson". Lyrically the band expresses a range of emotion, most of which is centered around darker themes of sadness and despair. I suppose the lyrics fit the somber mood of the music. Personally I found this album to be very enjoyable. Those who have their criteria for what any band should sound like will probably be disappointed, and to some extent I can understand that. When you like a band's sound and they change drastically from that sound, it's hard to appreciate the new sound. However, with Sentenced, I actually apppreciate their more melodic side moreso than their angry, aggressive side.

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