SENTENCED

Gothic Metal / Death Metal • Finland
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Sentenced was a Finnish metal band, formed in 1989 and disbanded in 2005.

Sentenced was originally formed in 1989 in the town of Muhos, Finland as a death metal band. The band produced their first album "Shadows Of The Past" in 1991 with singer/guitarist Miika Tenkula. The next two albums "North From Here" and "Amok" and the following EP "Love & Death" had bassist Taneli Jarva as singer, but in 1995 Taneli decided to take a few years off to rest before starting a new band, The Black League. Sentenced recruited Ville Laihiala in 1996 and put out the album "Down". Taneli's deep rumbling voice was replaced by Ville's warm and clear delivery. The dark-maned Finn immediately put his own touch to the new, melancholic and pain-ridden songs.

The band put out an album almost every 2 years. Following "Down" in 1996 came "Frozen", "Crimson" and "The Cold White Light".
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SENTENCED Discography

SENTENCED albums / top albums

SENTENCED Shadows of the Past album cover 3.44 | 4 ratings
Shadows of the Past
Death Metal 1991
SENTENCED North From Here album cover 3.92 | 9 ratings
North From Here
Death Metal 1993
SENTENCED Amok album cover 3.67 | 3 ratings
Amok
Death Metal 1995
SENTENCED Down album cover 3.57 | 7 ratings
Down
Gothic Metal 1996
SENTENCED Frozen album cover 3.25 | 4 ratings
Frozen
Gothic Metal 1998
SENTENCED Crimson album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Crimson
Gothic Metal 2000
SENTENCED The Cold White Light album cover 3.19 | 4 ratings
The Cold White Light
Gothic Metal 2002
SENTENCED The Funeral Album album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
The Funeral Album
Gothic Metal 2005

SENTENCED EPs & splits

SENTENCED Cronology of Death album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cronology of Death
Death Metal 1991
SENTENCED Violence, Terror & Depravity album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Violence, Terror & Depravity
Death Metal 1993
SENTENCED The Trooper album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Trooper
Death Metal 1993
SENTENCED Love & Death album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Love & Death
Gothic Metal 1995

SENTENCED live albums

SENTENCED Buried Alive album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Buried Alive
Gothic Metal 2006

SENTENCED demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SENTENCED When Death Join Us... album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
When Death Join Us...
Death Metal 1990
SENTENCED Rotting Ways to Misery album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Rotting Ways to Misery
Death Metal 1991
SENTENCED Journey to Pohjola album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Journey to Pohjola
Death Metal 1992

SENTENCED re-issues & compilations

SENTENCED Story: A Recollection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Story: A Recollection
Gothic Metal 1997
SENTENCED Story: Greatest Kills album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Story: Greatest Kills
Gothic Metal 1997
SENTENCED Greatest Kills album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Kills
Gothic Metal 1997
SENTENCED North From Here / Shadows of the Past album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
North From Here / Shadows of the Past
Gothic Metal 2001
SENTENCED Amok / Love & Death album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Amok / Love & Death
Gothic Metal 2001
SENTENCED The Coffin album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Coffin
Gothic Metal 2009

SENTENCED singles (4)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Killing Me Killing You
Gothic Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
No One There
Gothic Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ever-Frost
Gothic Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Glow of 1000 Suns
Gothic Metal 2008

SENTENCED movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Buried Alive
Gothic Metal 2007

SENTENCED Reviews

SENTENCED The Trooper

EP · 1993 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"The Trooper" is an EP release by Finland, Muhos based death metal act Sentenced. The EP was released through Spinefarm Records in October 1994. It bridges the gap between the band´s second and third full-length studio albums "North From Here" (1993) and "Amok" (1995). The material was recorded in 1992 prior to the release of "North From Here" (1993) (except "Awaiting the Winter Frost", which is culled directly from said album), but not released until two years later.

The EP features 4 tracks and a total playing time of 21:02 minutes. The title track is a cover of the iconic Iron Maiden song, delivered here in an energetic and faster blackenced death metal fashion, with lead vocalist Taneli Jarva delivering his snarling aggressive blackened growling attack. The next track is probably the most interesting song on the EP for most people as it´s a non-album track appearing here for the first time, and it´s also a pretty brilliant track to boot. "Desert by Night" is just one of those tracks where you wonder why the band didn´t find a place for it on an album release.

"In Memoriam" is culled from the March 1992 "Journey to Pohjola" demo, and features Miika Tenkula on vocals. It´s a bit of an odd choice for this EP, as it´s the most old school death metal sounding track on "Journey to Pohjola" (1992) and the track on the EP farthest from the style on "North From Here" (1993). The fourth track is as mentioned above "Awaiting the Winter Frost" which appear here in the same version as it appears on "North From Here" (1993).

An EP release like "The Trooper" should be listened to a reviewed in the context of how and when it was released, as today it´s more or less redundant as the material has been included on reissues of albums and on compilation releases and as a result have become more readily available to the fans. Back then only "Awaiting the Winter Frost" was a track that most people knew, and although Sentenced´s cover of "The Trooper" appears a little rushed and sounds like something recorded in a good demo quality, you still get "Desert by Night", which is quite the brillant track, and of course "In Memoriam", which is a great doom/death metal track too, although it maybe feels a little out of place in this EP. A 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.

SENTENCED North From Here

Album · 1993 · Death Metal
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"North From Here" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Finland, Muhos based death metal act Sentenced. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in June 1993. It´s the successor to "Shadows of the Past" from December 1991, although the two studio albums are bridged by the March 1992 "Journey to Pohjola" demo. Sentenced only landed a one-album deal with Thrash Records for the release of "Shadows of the Past" (1991), and as they had already moved on to a new sound and style, when the debut was released, they felt the need to record a demo showing fans and labels their new direction. Spinefarm Records eventually payed attention, and signed the band for the release of "North From Here".

Since the release of "Shadows of the Past" (1991) and the "Journey to Pohjola" (1992) demo a rather significant lineup change has taken place. No members have left and no new members have joined, but lead vocalist/lead guitarist Miika Tenkula very suddenly and without notice informed the rest of the band (on the way to play a gig), that he would no longer be performing vocals for Sentenced, as he wished to solely concentrate on playing lead guitar. Bassist Taneli Jarva had previously performed some backing vocals, and it was quickly decided that he should step up and be the band´s new frontman in addition to playing bass.

The change on the lead vocalist spot is audible as Jarva has a more blackened growling delivery compared to the more traditional growling vocals of Tenkula. Both are great vocalists though, and Jarva was definitely a good choice to take over from Tenkula. While the change on the lead vocalist spot should arguably be the greatest change since "Shadows of the Past" (1991), it´s actually the instrumental part of the music which has changed the most. Coming from playing a doom/death metal oriented old school death metal style, to playing a melodic, aggressive, and highly technical blackened death metal style like Sentenced play on "North From Here" is so major a change, that you probably wouldn´t have guessed it was the same band releasing the two albums if you didn´t know it (and the same main composer writing the music).

"North From Here" features a sharp, raw, and intense sounding production, which helps make the material shine even more than it already does. "North From Here" is loaded with killer riffs, blistering melodic guitar work, the above mentioned well performed blackened death metal vocals by Jarva, a cold and dark atmosphere (I´m slightly reminded of Dissection and their ilk), clever use of atmosphere enhancing keyboards, and intriguing and memorable songwriting. The pace is generally high and it´s very energetic and technically challenging music. If the early releases by Sentenced featured a strong late 80s Death (the band) influence, the technical playing and sometimes the riffing style on "North From Here" owe a lot to the more technical early- to mid 90s death metal output of the Florida band. it´s all just influences though and Sentenced have created quite an unique sound on this album. It´s through and through a high quality release and occassionally even a jaw-dropping one and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

SENTENCED Journey to Pohjola

Demo · 1992 · Death Metal
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"Journey to Pohjola" is a demo release by Finland, Muhos based death metal act Sentenced. The demo was independently released on cassette tape in March 1992 and bridges the gap between the band´s debut- and second full-length studio albums "Shadows of the Past" from December 1991 and "North From Here" from June 1993. It´s a bit unusual for a band to record a demo so shortly after releasing their debut album, but Sentenced´s deal with Thrash Records was only for one album, and they felt the need to record a demo which showed their development, since most of the debut album featured re-recorded demo material written in their formative year(s), and the band had more or less already moved on to another sound when the debut was released. Out of the 3 tracks on the 14:24 minutes long demo, only "Wings" would make it unto "North From Here" in re-recorded form.

Right from the opening notes of "Wings" the stylistic change is heard. Lead vocalist/lead guitarist/main composer Miika Tenkula sings in a slightly higher pitched and more aggressive growling register, and the track features a more cold sound borrowing heavily from black metal, while still being a death metal track. The guitar riffs are now also more melodic and the material are generally faster-paced (although there are also doom/death metal parts found here) and more technical in style compared to the old school death metal sound of the debut album.

In terms of production values "Journey to Pohjola" is a professionally recorded demo, and no one would have objected if the demo had been released as an EP instead. That´s how well sounding the material is. Powerful, intense, and detailed are words which are valid to describe the high quality sound production. This would be the last Sentenced release to feature Tenkula on vocals, as he very suddenly and without notice informed the rest of the band (on the way to play a gig), that he would no longer be performing vocals for Sentenced, as he wished to solely concentrate on playing lead guitar. Bassist Taneli Jarva had previously performed some backing vocals (which he actually does on this demo), and it was quickly decided that he should step up and be the band´s new frontman in addition to playing bass. So in many ways "Journey to Pohjola" is a transition release from the band´s old school death metal releases to the more technical and melodic sound of "North From Here" and the lead vocalist change was just another development of the band´s sound in those years. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved. Through and through a high quality demo recording this one...

SENTENCED Shadows of the Past

Album · 1991 · Death Metal
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"Shadows of the Past" is the debut full-length studio album by Finland, Muhos based death metal act Sentenced. The album was released through Thrash Records in December 1991. Sentenced was founded in 1988 under the Deformity monicker and played thrash metal, but changed their name to the current one in 1989, and with the name change also the musical direction from thrash to death metal. The "When Death Join Us..." demo from November 1990 was the band´s first release and the "Rotting Ways to Misery" demo followed in June 1991. Both cassette tape demos which showed a very young band (15-18 years old when recording the demos) with both great playing skills and a good understanding of composition. There have been one lineup change since the demo days as bassist Lari Kylmänen has been replaced by Taneli Jarva.

"Shadows of the Past" was recorded and mixed at Tico-Tico Studio, Kemi in October 1991 with producer/engineer Ahti Kortelainen, which is where the band´s two demos were also recorded. All 6 tracks from the "Rotting Ways to Misery" demo were re-recorded and included on the album. Although the "When Death Join Us..." demo actually features a track titled "Shadows of the Past", no songs from that demo appear on this album.

Stylistically the material on "Shadows of the Past" is more or less the epitome of old school early 90s death metal. Not just the Scandinavian sort, because the music features a lot of different influences. I hear a lot of late 80s Death (the band) influences, maybe a bit of contemporary Morgoth, and also quite a few early Paradise Lost influences, as well as influences from the late 80s/early 90s Swedish scene. It´s actually a great strength to be able to create an album with so many different stylistic elements and make it work. Sentenced are an incredibly well playing band though (the oldest member of the band was 18 years old at the time of recording this album) and they deliver a heavy (even doom/death heavy at times), brutal, yet still occasionally melodic tinged death metal attack with both great passion and conviction. Every member of the band deserves a mention for their strong musical performances, but lead vocalist/lead guitarist/main songwriter Miika Tenkula does deserve a special mention for his intense and aggresive growling vocals, and for his strong and intricate lead guitar work.

While the Finnish death metal underground was very active in the late 80s/early 90s, producing quite a few demos, splits, and EPs, "Shadows of the Past" was one of the first full-length studio album releases from the scene, along with the 1991 debut albums by Xysma, Funebre, and Convulse. In that sense Sentenced are arguably one of the pioneers of the scene, and would also grow to become one of the most successful Finnish metal acts of the 90s along with Amorphis. While the band would never again release anything resembling the sound of "Shadows of the Past", as they had already moved on to other musical styles at the time of the album´s release, it´s still a high quality old school death metal album, and it´s highly recommedable to fans of the genre. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

SENTENCED Rotting Ways to Misery

Demo · 1991 · Death Metal
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"Rotting Ways to Misery" is the 2nd demo by Finland, Muhos based death metal act Sentenced. The demo was released on cassette tape in June 1991. It´s the successor to the "When Death Join Us..." demo from November 1990.

Although the same quartet lineup from the first demo remains and there are only little over 6 months between the two demo releases, Sentenced evolved at a rapid pace in the early years. The high level technical playing skills are even more pronounced on "Rotting Ways to Misery" and the songwriting is more varied and slightly more unique. It´s not more unique than that though, as you can still hear a strong late 80s Death (the band) influence in the music, but now Sentenced have also incorporated an audible death/doom metal influence from especially early Paradise Lost. The melancholic lead guitars and the heavy riffs and rhythms point in that direction, while the up tempo sections are more technical in style and influence, and are closer in style to he sound of the "When Death Join Us..." (1990) demo.

The 6 tracks on the 34:33 minutes long demo are old school death metal to the bone though, so the word technical should not be misunderstood, as this is in no way technical death metal. The high level of playing and skill involved are just amazing and Sentenced are an incredibly well playing unit...especially considering their young age (16-18 years old when they recorded this demo). Everyone in the band deserves a mention, but lead vocalist/lead guitarist/main composer Miika Tenkula does stand out with his intense growling vocals and skillful lead guitar work. Especially the latter is high class and deserves attention.

Recorded and mixed at the TICO-TICO Studio in Kemi, Finland, 8th-9th of June 1991 (the same studio where the band recorded the first demo) with producer/engineer Ahti Kortelainen, Sentenced have achieved what I would characterize as a professional demo sound quality. It´s both raw and brutal, but also clear and detailed enough for all instruments and vocals to be audible in the soundscape.

It wouldn´t be long before Sentenced were contacted by French label Thrash Records, who signed the band for the release of their debut full-length studio album "Shadows of the Past" (released in December 1991). An album which features all 6 tracks from "Rotting Ways to Misery" in re-recorded versions. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating it warranted.

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