Sentenced - The Cold White Light

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8146-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:30:00

Sentenced were formed in Northern Finland in 1989 and the three founding members of Miika Tenkula (g), Sami Lopakka (g), and Vesa Ranta (d) still dominate the band, although it was the addition of vocalist Ville Laihiala who really added the extra bite to take them into worldwide recognition and success. Of course they are no longer playing European Death/Doom metal and have mellowed out a lot since those early days with their last few releases having a more melodic approach to music whilst still hanging on to a lyrically depressive attitude.

It's hard to know what to make of the new album, which is called The Cold White Light. Similar to Paradise Lost, Theatre of Tragedy, and fellow Finns Amorphis, Sentenced have managed to change their sound throughout their whole career. With their albums Down, Frozen, and Crimson, Sentenced bore through the doom melodic metal scene like no other band and those three albums were, in my opinion, the height of their career. Now they have a new album and, in many ways, a new sound. And a new sound that has managed to keep most of their doom metal lyrics, but this time capturing a modicum of sarcasm and cynicism.

For the most part they keep their heaviness and this is definitely their most daring and creative album, but one that will not please all fans, in particular those of their most recent offerings. It's a very moody album but the songs aren't as one dimensional as they have been in the past. Usually they took a theme and ran with that theme in the one song but today it's more likely you'll hear many themes in the one song - and that takes a bit of getting used to. Sentenced also include a few ballads which have a heavy, mature feel to them, although it's not traditional Sentenced. The guitars are still there, strong and moody, and you can hear that it's Sentenced - just a different Sentenced. And a Sentenced I'm still getting to know.

Ville's vocals, on songs such as "Brief Is The Light" and "Excuse Me While I Kill Myself" hark back to the days of Down but with a better production from which we hear the solemn lyrics. There are some abstract numbers on this album such as the melodious, piano-led "Guilt And Regret," the straighter traditional Sentenced numbers albeit with added enthusiasm (read: pop-ish) "Blood & Tears" and "You Are the One," and the amusing duo of "Excuse Me While I Kill Myself" and "The Luxury Of A Grave" which sees the band at it's most exploratory lyrically (a very "funny" song).

The Cold White Light is album number seven for these Finns and whilst this won't capture the attention of past albums, it certainly adds and develops the band to an extent. They are not as miserable as past albums but those elements are still there - although you may have to search a little harder.

The band split up in 2005. In February 2009, guitarist Miika Tenkula passed away. - ed. 12/2009

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Konevitsan Kirkonkellot (1:40) / Cross My Heart And Hope To Die (4:07) / Brief Is The Light (4:24) / Neverlasting (3:34) / Aika Mutlaa Muistot (Everything Is Nothing) (4:34) / Excuse me While I Kill Myself (3:48) / Blood & Tears (4:14) / You Are The One (4:30) / Guilt And Regret (3:45) / The Luxury Of A Grave (4:41) / No One There (6:14)

Ville Laihiala - vocals
Sami Lopakka - guitars
Miika Tenkula - guitars
Sami Kukkohovi - bass
Vesa Ranta - drums

Shadows Of The Past (1992)
North From Here (1993)
Amok (1995)
Love And Death (ep) (1995)
Down (1996)
Story: A Recollection (1998)
Frozen (1998)
Crimson (2000)
The Cold White Light (2002)
The Funeral Album (2005)
The Coffin - The Complete Discography (2009)

Buried Alive (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Dark-Doom Metal

Origin FI

Added: February 20th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 861
Language: english


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