Never to Be Freed
CoC interviews Sentenced
by: Adrian Bromley
It's said that through time, we work things out. That is true when many think of the career of Sentenced, Finland's depression ambassadors. It has been a career of working things out.

Like the darkened tales they tell, the music of Sentenced is intriguing and effective for the most part. It has always been that way, brooding emotions within its vocal arrangements, detonating powerful riffs and rhythms that deliver a stellar drive of emotions for us all to digest. Their current music, though a far cry from the early death metal days of the band's beginnings, is extremely effective, with its memorable choruses and well-orchestrated song structures. The band's latest effort, _Frozen_, continues where the band left off with the last great recording, _Down_. With new singer Ville Laihiala, Sentenced steams forward, digging deep into the blackened sorrows of depression as they did with earlier efforts like _North From Here_ (1992) or _Amok_ (1994), yet yielding to the creative energy that allows the band to change over time.

On the phone is singer Ville Laihiala, calling to talk to Chronicles of Chaos about the band's new effort: "Right now, Sentenced is more of a band than it has been in years," he starts. "Everything seems to be working out great right now. We tried a lot of different song ideas and material to work on this record. It was a great learning experience for us all. Like most of the past Sentenced work and _Down_, the most important aspect of Sentenced was for the music and the lyrics to go hand in hand. To be able to work together. This time we really wanted to concentrate on working the sound, aiming to make the sound of the music sound a lot stronger. There was a lot of effort from all band members to make this record come out a success sonically."

He adds, "This record feels very current for the band. Right up to speed with where we are headed as a band. You can hear on the record that we had a fun time working the songs. Everybody gave 200% while making this record and it shows up in a big way. There is nothing I would change with the end result of _Frozen_."

And how have things been with Laihiala as lead singer? Everything all right in the Sentenced camp? "There was never really any doubt for the guys in the band [who are guitarists Miika Tenkula and Sami Lopakka, bassist Sami Kukkohovi and drummer Vesa Ranta] that I couldn't do the job. They believed in me and what I would be able to do as singer for the band. With me joining the band, Sentenced has lost some stuff, but also gained some new ideas for what the band is about. The reactions from the fans have been great. I was very surprised on how I was received when I joined the band. I thought I was in for some kind of trouble, but it's worked out great."

He adds, "It was a great time doing this record, this being my second time around with the band. When I started out with working with the band on _Down_ I had only been in the band for three weeks. For me, I was just in the phase of getting to know them and sing the songs. I was worried about just doing my job. Now I have been in the band for a while and going into album number two for me I felt very at home, 'cause I had known everyone and had become a definite part of the band."

Building upon their sound from years back, Sentenced has managed to strengthen their musicianship over the years. It only seems fitting that a band that has worked as hard as they have to be able to do stuff like the material found on _Frozen_ in their sleep. It's built on character and a willingness to exceed at what you do. Where does Laihiala and the rest of the band believe Sentenced fits into the fold as a metal band nowadays? "We never really aim to try to fit into a certain category when we were making this record, the last record or their older stuff. Sentenced has always been about doing what you believe in and being creative. I think we fall under the category of gothic/rock or maybe suicide rock. It's hard to say where Sentenced has fit in over the years, seeing how much they have changed. I think with the next record, the follow-up to this, you'll see a definite change in where Sentenced goes. It doesn't sound anything like you have heard from Sentenced before."

Does Laihiala see Sentenced as a successful band? What is success for him? "I think album by album it has been increasing, but realistically it's not about putting out records that sell. It's about putting out records and being happy with them. That's success. Ask any musician, putting out a record is great accomplishment. It feels good. The reaction of the fans also adds to how we feel. It's hard to judge the ways of success, but being able to do this for so long does mean the band has been successful to some degree."

Labelled by many as suicide rock, the music of Sentenced has been known to be very dark, damaging and downright blunt. It holds no punches. This is the dark depths of depression for people to be witness to. Why would Ville want to be a part of this band of musicians who mask their metal music with terrible doses of depression? "I dunno, man. It's a tough issue, what we do. I think this is a definite form of therapy for myself or the other guys in the band. We deal with serious issues and instead of carrying them out, we write them down and work them into songs. It's very personal and allows us to get off a lot of steam."

Doing press before a tour starts up, I ask Laihiala about touring. He responds. "Touring is very fun for us. Tiring but a great time for us to get out and expose the band to many people. Playing live is what it is all about. It has always been. But we do have problems on tour. Drinking problems always seem to arise. Not drinking problems for us in the band, just the fact that people take our liquor. <Laughs> We put our foot down and really come down hard on people taking our stuff. Sure we make enemies, but we earned that liquor. It's ours. We're not assholes. We're musicians and in this business you take what you can get as your career goes along..." <Laughs again>

(article submitted 1/10/1998)

3/5/2000 A Bromley Sentenced: Living on the Edge
6/7/1997 A Bromley Sentenced: The Changelings
5/13/2005 P Azevedo 6 Sentenced - The Funeral Album
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 7.5 Sentenced - The Cold White Light
3/5/2000 P Schwarz 8 Sentenced - Crimson
9/1/1998 P Schwarz 9 Sentenced - Frozen
3/10/1998 A Bromley 8 Sentenced - Story: A Recollection
2/4/1997 A Bromley 8 Sentenced - Down
12/13/1995 G Filicetti 7 Sentenced - Love and Death
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