Sentenced - _Down_
(Century Media, 1997)
by: Adrian Bromley (
Managing to shapeshift its sound and direction over the last few releases (_North From Here_ in 1993 and 1994's _Amok_) Finnish metallers Sentenced return to the new year with their exceptional and stunning release, _Down_. Much different than past incarnations of their extreme and black style metal music, _Down_ signifies the changing of the band - in sound and members. Gone is longtime singer Taneli Jarva and in comes new singer Vile Laihaila, an addition to the band that helps produce some memorable song arrangements and allows a comforting yet powerful onslaught of vocal styles. Lost to some extent is the rather harsh elements of the bands music (i.e. hard riffs, growls) and in return comes a rather smooth array of rock n' roll infested material. The technical and dark elements of the band are still present, which allows us still to be intrigued by the way the band assembles their music and the way it has been worked on in the studio. While much different than the material the band brought forth on their debut album (_Shadows of the Past_), I can honestly say that I was not at all disappointed with Sentenced's latest effort. It grows on you. Standouts: "Keep My Grave Open", "Ode to the End", and "Crumbling Down (Give Up Hope)".
(article published 4/2/1997)
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