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This release from Finnland's well-known metal band Sentenced is actually not as bad as I may make it in the following lines. Love songs, self-pity, oh what the hell... this is their hit album and was also the first Sentenced release to hit my collection. I borrowed it from a friend a couple of years ago and listened to it while taking a walk in summer. After listening to the other releases from Sentenced I have to say that the production has made a vast improvement, which is not necessarily important for a really good record. While not really reaching "Down" in content and substance, this record is my second favorite of their softie material (stuff after Taneli Jarva left). The music itself is solid and at times even majestic. The lyrics aren't as whiny as other releases, which makes this quite enjoyable, if you like "gothic" sound in metal.
The album artwork is a bit strange, looks like some kind of skeletal sliver incased by some kind of red nova or.. ring? Whatever. Weird cover which does not represent the music at all. That itself not being a major issue, I know a lot of people who judge a book by its cover (or an album by its artwork in this context). The only thin silk line that can be drawn throughout Sentenced's becoming is the compositional creativity and talent of the band's deceased guitarist Miika. Again, if lyrics aren't of any concern for you, then Sentenced is the right band to add to your collection.
Musically, the song structures progress with a classical rock approach. Intro, verse, bridge, chorus, with alternating clean and distorted guitar parts cause the music to be on the easy-listening edge (from the heavy metal fan point of view). Occasional soli climax songs on certain songs (ex. Broken) and the universal grooving mood adds to the musical consumption. Songs vary from low-tempo ballads (such as "Killing me, killing you") to mid/high tempo stand outs (Bleed in my arms and No more beating as one). The overall disposition is still sad, mirthless and at times painfully apathic and/or suicidal. This side of Sentenced has always been a hard part to coexist with. There is a great difference between the woeful, majestic mourning sorrow of, say, "My Dying Bride", the depressive/subordinative thematic of "Katatonia" and the cheesy "I don't want to live anymore" topics of half of Sentenced's songs. That's where they (and with they I'm suggesting Ville) fit in with the gothic scene more than with heavy metal.
Still, I like this record. It's fun, has really great moments and if you're in a sorrowful mood, you can easily get through this unscratched (unless of course, you're an emo, which makes you always "scratched"). Hell, just get this if you're into gothic rock, a depressive maniac or in love with Ville, which makes you a wussy faggot. For those of you more into the heavier stuff, check out older Paradise Lost stuff.
"What can I do now except continue
and open a bottle once more"
Good idea guys, time to hit the sack.