Wednesday, 3 November 2010

CD Review: Down, by Sentenced (1996)


A distinctive blend of swirly Gothic metal, Down is a high quality album from Finland's Sentenced.

Dominated by slowish to mid-tempo songs that emphasize mood and melody above all else, Sentenced can sometimes sound predictable and risk averse. But they more than make up for the lack of adventurism by maintaining a remarkably consistent level of excellence -- every track has something to offer, and many of the songs achieve haunting levels of beauty.

Down creates an atmosphere of dread, wandering in the darkness with mysterious mansions in the distance, candlelight in the far windows offering hope of a perhaps dangerous respite from the incessant blackness. Keyboards, eerie female vocals, curvilinear melodies, controlled delivery and polished, confident performances combine to create and maintain the necessary ambiance.

Noose and Bleed are excellent and easily accessible tracks. Sun Won't Shine, Ode To The End, and I'll Throw The First Rock are just slightly more complex and equally as good. Very much a group, no individual member or instrument stands out in delivering the songs. The solos are short and to the point, the keyboards add spice without dominating, and Ville Laihiala's vocals achieve the right amount of anguish without unnecessarily dramatic agony.

Down is, ironically, very much an uplifting listening experience.


Band:

Miika Tenkula - Lead Guitar and Bass
Sami Lopakka - Guitar
Ville Laihiala - Vocals
Vesa Ranta - Drums

Keyboards by Waldemar Sorychta


Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Intro - The Gate - n/a (short instrumental)
2. Noose - 9
3. Shadegrown - 7
4. Bleed - 9
5. Keep My Grave Open - 7
6. Crumbling Down (Give Up Hope) - 7
7. Sun Won't Shine - 9
8. Ode To The End - 9
9. 0132 - 7
10. Warrior Of Life (Reaper Redeemer) - 8
11. I'll Throw The First Rock - 9

Average: 8.10

Produced by Waldemar Sorychta.
Engineered by Siggi Bemm and Waldemar Sorychta.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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