Review: Where Sentenced are known for their delicate melodies and intricacy of song structure, this is more conventionally styled death metal with the object being heavy rhythm with a sublime harmony in the style of thunderous Swedish bands. Not as complex as "North From Here" this music languishes more in the style of "Left Hand Path" from Entombed or any of the older Swedish gods (Therion, Carnage, Dismember) as if done by a younger and less experienced version of Sentenced.
1. When the moment of death arrives (6:04)
2. Rot to dead (3:45)
3. Disengagement (5:17)
4. Rotting ways to misery (5:50)
5. The truth (6:23)
6. Suffocating beginning of life (6:07)
7. Beyond the distant valleys (6:00)
8. Under the suffer (5:19)
9. Descending curtain of death (5:51)
Percussive power chord instantiations of riffs from heavy metal and before, stretched to fit a narrow yet intricate space of arrangement, resound throughout the traditional structures and songwriting of popular music to emphasize central tone and the enduring breakdown of distorted sound. A good portion of this material shows its age, both in the time and the musical maturity of the group. This is most evident in the phrasing, which, like many contemporary death metal phrasing, builds a pattern and then either repeats it backwards (three intervals up, same three back down) or creates a recursive response to it, inverting the structure and adding a harmonic resolution. The complementary nature of riffing in this work gives it a calming aura but often too much symmetry to generate motion other than an undercurrent of tides.
Underground death metal of the time utilized extremely basic divisions of rhythm and scale and Sentenced at this stage are no exception, weaving their melodies within variations of seemingly trivial level to produce an overarching phenomenon of phrase shape and tonal equivalence. Often when they do this, too much of the heavy metal influence bleeds through and promising death metal lapses into pop music, yet for the most part it maintains a relevance through the consistent dynamic of rock with the sliding textures of metal covering it. In this pursuit the evolutionary work of Sentenced from rhythmic death metal to a fuller implementation of their melodic ambitions is chronicled.
Review: The flowingest melodic lines and harmonies traced through adversarial declensions of cyclic variable sound, this is pure melodic composition within the hybrid of death metal and Iron Maiden styled harmonizing NWOBHM. Emphasis on motion and intricacy in riffing with speed metal touches such as picked-up riffs and tumbling structures build a secure backdrop to this unfolding scene.
In these songs straight black metal phrasing combines with complex death metal structure and gains just enough of the stop-slam architecture of speed metal to come up with a powerful and almost delicate, yet not effete, sound. Lead guitar descends from neoclassical hard rock and blistering late 1970s heavy metal with solidly chosen notes and figures avoiding the repetition and contextless circularity of most metal soloing. Deft drumming invoked on the previous album folds itself into music here with a tacit purpose of being unnoticed except as consistency of background detail to stage the scene for appropriately more varied tones and textures in lead instruments.
1. My Sky is Darker Than Thine (5:48)
2. Wings (4:32)
3. Fields Of Blood, Harvester Of Hate (6:18)
4. Capture of Fire (6:37)
5. Awaiting The Winter Frost (5:51)
6. Beyond the Wall of Sleep (3:35)
7. Northern Lights (5:16)
8. Epic (5:59)
Flesh of living music in the creative redirections and alert fingering of lightning riffs imbues the album as a whole with spirit and makes it a listening experience that more than the sum of its parts, is the abstraction of intent arising from the amalgamation and in that a direction unseen by many in metal. True enough: the genre of "melodic Swedish metal" exploded after this release and continues strong with its heavy metal/melodic death metal hybrid, but few have touched the start that these deranged Finns gave to the style.
Review: This EP came out between albums and contains one song from "North From Here" plus two older songs, one in the style of the first album and another in a slightly different take of the style of the previous album. The centerpiece of the EP however is the cover tune for which it is named, in which Sentenced show off their technical competence and play a confident and rational cover which does not attempt more stylistic increase than vocal and guitar aesthetics.
1. The Trooper (3:16) Iron Maiden cover
2. Desert By Night (6:31)
3. In Memoriam (5:29)
4. Awaiting the Winter Frost (5:49)
"Desert By Night" leads after the Iron Maiden cover, and similar to the band covered, is of melodic neo-classical heavy metal roots and aspirations to grandeur, yet renders an ornate, gothic, romantic and NWOBHM-influenced style into the chaos around it. A piano sweeps romanticism in resonant tones throughout structure. The next song, "In Memoriam," is the lead-footed clamp-handed death metal of "Shadows from the Past" with improved technical ability and more focused study of tempo. It is communicative but little else and the excellent "Awaiting the Winter Frost" from "North From Here" closes the EP, suspending an ambience long after the speech of music.