Sentenced - The Funeral Album - 2005 - Century Media
1. May Today Become The Day 2. Ever-Frost 3. We Are But Falling Leaves 4. Her Last 5 Minutes 5. Where Waters Fall Frozen 6. Despair-Ridden Hearts 7. Vengeance Is Mine 8. Long Way To Nowhere, A 9. Consider Us Dead 10. Lower The Flags 11. Drain Me 12. Karu 13. End Of The Road
Sometimes its sad to see a band call it quits, but sometimes its for the best. Such is the case for Sentenced, whose creative well has been running dry for a few years. Make no mistake about it, I've throughly enjoyed their last few albums, particularly "The Cold White Light", but you'd have to be deluding yourself if you think they didn't tread the same creative path and weren't showing signs of stagnation. The Funeral Album, had it not been their last effort as a band, would have been seen down the road as the beginning of a downhill slide in their songwriting (then again, many believe the downhill slide came when vocalist/bassist Taneli Jarva left, but thats another arguement altogether). As a swansong, it could have been better.
Everything starts off well enough with "May Today Become The Day". Heavier than what Sentenced have been doing with frontman Ville Laihiala in the past, it goes through familiar territory, being depressive heavy rock that could be mainstream if H.I.M. didn't steal their thunder. After that it turns a bit sour with "Ever-Frost". The anti-religious lyrics to this song are just laughable, sounding like they were written by a 14 year old. "Three wise men came to the north/On their donkeys they rode forth/Whining I'd commited sins/Moaning I'm too everything/Still amazed how a whole trio of men can only have only two braincells" Urgh. The chorus refers to urinating on graves. Classy.
The next two songs see-saw in the same way the first two did. "We Are But Falling Leaves" is Sentenced in top form, while "Her Last 5 Minutes" just plods along, serving as the album's weakest track. The instrumental "Where Waters Fall Frozen" is a bit interesting, for the wrong reasons. Its in the same style as Sentenced's early material, back when they were a death metal band. The band is trying to get across the idea that they can still play vicious death metal, though at only just under a minute it comes across as incredibly pointless.
The rest of the album fares better, the songs maintain an at least above average quality. Songs like "Vengeance Is Mine", "A Long Way To Nowhere" and "Consider Us Dead" are kind of interchangable, being of the same Sentenced stock as so many of their songs but they are memorable which is what I think should count. "Despair-Ridden Hearts" is the album highlight, straying from the mold with an acoustic first half followed by heavy guitars that lead to a good finish. "Lower The Flags" is another good track, doing what the other songs do, just better. "Drain Me's" blatantly misogynistic lyrics always put a smile on my face (I don't need a reason to hate you/I don't need a reason to break you/Just keep that mouth wide open/And drain me my darling, drain me my darling). "End Of The Road" marks the end of the album, and the end of Sentenced.
I bet $20 that they reunite within 5 years.
--Eliud "El Loco Diablo" (Guest) 07.17.05
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