Sentenced are a four piece band from Finland with members who have played in Impaled Nazarene. Their albums are metal ranging from elemental but melodic and dark death metal to progressive death metal with a black metal melodic feel to NWOBHM modernized and made technicalish and oddball.

Shadows From the Past

Production: Murky and clumsy, boxy reverberating mess that meshes with the organic aesthetic of this music.

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)
Length: 50:36

sentenced shadows from the past 1992
Copyright © 1992 Thrash

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.

North From Here


Production: Clear and distinctive, enough bass without sacrificing clarity between other instruments.

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)
Length: 43:58

sentenced north from here 1993
Copyright © 1993 Spinefarm

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.

The Trooper


Production: Flat but somewhat metally; bass stands out.

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)
Length: 21:05

sentenced the trooper EP
Copyright © 1994 Spinefarm

"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.

1. The War Ain't Over
2. Phenix
3. New Age Messiah
4. Forever Lost
5. Funeral Spring
6. Nepenthe
7. Dance On The Graves (Lil Siztah)
8. Moonmagick
9. The Golden Stream Of Lapland
Length: 21:05
Amok (Century Media)
The restrained Iron Maidenism of past albums, with a penchant for bass rhythm and guitar harmony, has become a dominant force on this album, bringing with it some of the cliche and cheese of the hard rock/proto metal genres. Atonality slides into the harmony of the guitar at times, and black metal esque flowing rhythmics and melody work their way through recognizably rock solos. Song structures are complex, but "weird," loving to violate their own rules, and worshipping the six-string beast each moment. At least a challenging/interesting listen, even it eventually becomes negated on aesthetic grounds.

1. Intro - The Gate
2. Noose
3. Shadegrown
4. Bleed
5. Keep My Grave Open
6. Crumbling Down (Give Up Hope)
7. Sun Won't Shine
8. Ode to the End
9. 0132
10. Warrior of Life (Reaper Redeemer)
11. I'll Throw The First Rock
Length: 41:30
Down (Century Media)
Sentenced, claiming to be "tired" of death metal stylings, have progressively unravelled their death metal core into more conventional rock-metal, leaving behind the chaos that made their melodies exceptional and slowly losing themselves to the emotional overload of modern society. In the absence of the nihilistic violence of their classic "North From Here" their "evolutionary" style has slowly moved closer and closer toward a mainstream version of emotion, tuned on a fundamentally inherent depression which is not native to human hearts. Although each tactical piece of this is executed well and this is some of the most varied heavy metal in this style to come about in the last five years, it remains simple music that does not advance the cause of metal and allows this band to regress from accomplishment to emulation. We the listeners can see the tortured fragments of a heavy metal dream beneath this aesthetic of misery but mostly feel the victimlike appeal of its easy emotional answer to hopelessness and in horror at this cop out, pull away

1. Kaamos
2. Farewell
3. Dead Leaves
4. For the Love I Bear
5. One With Misery
6. The Suicider
7. The Rain Comes Falling Down
8. Grave Sweet Grave
9. Burn
10. Drown Together
11. Let Go (The Last Chapter)
12. Mourn
Length: 48:46
Frozen (Century Media)
Although structures remain for the most part basic variations, layering of additional instrumentation augment them enough to give context to the glimpses of underlying structure granted by Black Sabbath-style epiphanies built into the apex of each song's evolution. Expert blues lead guitar gives way periodically to some cliché-ridden complexes of tangential riffing but mostly articulates a careful path of manipulation of the vital emotions encoded within the blues. A reasonable comparison might be drawn to later Iron Maiden. While the essence of this music is not necessarily any massive deviation from the historical capacity of rock n roll, and while it is far from death metal, Sentenced's "Frozen" still manages to wrest some quality heavy metal from the background of cheese into which it could easily be absorbed, and for that gets credit from this reviewer as an attempt at continuation hidden within the mundane.

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