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A superlative ending to a treasured band - 90%

Absinthe1979, February 8th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Century Media Records

The post-‘Amok’ era of Finland’s mighty Sentenced is one of gothic metal's greatest gifts. I first discovered the band when ‘Down’ was released in 1996, and their mastery of emotional suicidal rock with swathes of Finnish melody has given me 24 years of musical balm for my existential pains. This, their swansong, is a fantastic album of angst-driven anthems and an apt send-off for the suiciders.

It is, therefore, utterly bewildering to see the series of low scores awarded to this album by the good members of Metal Archives. Can the album that I’ve been enjoying for 15 years actually be terrible? Have I misjudged this release? Have I lost my mind? The answer to these questions is a resounding ‘No’. The album is emotional, engaging and compositionally awesome.

Without a doubt the most impressive element in the rock era of Sentenced is the unique and inimitable guitar playing and songwriting prowess of Miika Tenkula, whose unfortunate death which occurred just four years after the death of his band was a profound loss to the metal community. There has never been anyone in metal who writes riffs like him, and his style is at its best on ‘The Funeral Album’ where he has composed some of the catchiest and most engaging tracks of his life. He will forever be one of my favourite guitarists.

The other elements of the band are also highly effective here. Ville Laihiala’s vocals are not for everyone, but I simply love the gruff singing style that is also deceptively melodic and in key. There is a jagged desperation in his voice that complements the deeper tones of his clearer singing that has always worked well for me. The rhythm section and Sami Lopakka’s guitar are well oiled and united, with the crisp yet heavy production bringing a sonic crunch to the listening experience without losing the melody and rock sensibility that makes modern Sentenced so brilliant.

But all of these elements alone can’t make a great album without the songs, and some of the best tracks ever written by the band are on this album. The opener ‘May the Day Become The Day’ provides an example of why Lopakka is one of metal’s most underrated lyricists, with its narrative of a suicide attempt on the frontline of a war zone. The twist that the soldier’s wish for a “bullet between the eyes” is mistaken for bravery and unrivalled courage is clever and impressive. It’s one of the classic songs in gothic metal. ‘Ever-Frost’ is a great single with its cynical lyrics and catchy chorus, while the understated ‘Consider Us Dead’ contains a haunting suicidal chorus that gives me chills 15 years after first hearing it.

Variety is also present across these tracks, with the fast-paced and anthemic ‘Vengeance is Mine’ replete with a choir that elevates the track into an epic stratosphere, as well as the brief homage to the band’s past with the deathy riffage of ‘Where Waters Fall Frozen’. ‘Lower the Flags’ is led by a simple yet effective piano sequence that perfectly fits the lyrical subject of a fallen friend. The album ends with the haunting acoustics of ‘Karu’ before the grand finale in the profoundly sentimental ‘End of the Road’.

‘The Funeral Album’ is a release that is full of some of Sentenced’s most effective suicide songs and odes to death, and the consistency of the theme throughout is just so effective for a consciously final release. I couldn’t think of a better way to end this band.

Fans of dark emotional rock music should not be put off by the panning this album is receiving from some reviewers. It has nothing to do with the band’s early material, does not pretend to be an extreme metal album and knows exactly what it is and what it’s doing. Like me, you might just find this to be a beautifully depressive monument to the ending of things and a masterpiece of gothic tinged metal that you will love for a lifetime like I have.

Every Band Are Entitled to at Least "One" Bad Album, Right? - 30%

EvilAllen, January 25th, 2020

Well, let's be honest with ourselves, folks... It's easy to see why people hate a deep hatred for this album. Or, something that would appear to be displayed as "deep-hatred", simply because this album really does suck... And I'm sure a lot of people have forgotten about this record. So, let's try to remind people that it exists, maybe it'll gain more traffic again. See, if people still hate it as much as they did when it first surfaced. This isn't even comfortable enough to qualify as a "funeral". I think all funerals should ban this piece from being played, period. It would just ignite rage, not sadness... However, I'll be as fair as I can be with explaining some "good" things about this album. But even that's hard because the album's really sour...entirely forgetable, too...realistically speaking, that is...

I think it's easy to suggest that this album will never recover from the negative blows that it has suffered from in the last fifteen years that it's been released. Sentenced used to be well-respected, then the end came and nobody even cares about their final efforts, easy to see why... Their ideas, concepts and creativity are exceedingly bland. This album sounds too "commercial" 'n' "mainstream". Basically, "radio" music... However, to be realistically fair, the production isn't terrible. In fact, not anywhere near terrible. The clarity is pretty solid. But I can't say the same for the energy of the musicians themselves.

The guitars might have a nice mix in the album, but I'm not overly-impressed at the style they're played with. The progression of the chords are too "groovy", "high-pitched" and "sloppy". But like, in a bad way. It's kind of like "heavy funk". The riffs aren't created well. Sounds like something that Nickelback would have created (that band are so popular, who hasn't heard them, not a fan, as most people aren't either). The bass has a lot of distortion produced into the mixes throughout this album. The drums aren't very exciting either, it's just a lot of the same patterns at different speeds, it sounds like to me personally. The band also feature...synth-like keyboards on-and-off with some tracks. They add in-depth "chills" and "mysticism" to the roles of their (the band's) music.

The vocals even remind me, but a worse version of that (immature) vocalist from Nickelback. Nothing but a mainstream slimeball, by the way. The singer here, has that...mid-to-lower, deepened, distorted voice, just like the fella from Nickelback (since I'm on the topic of him for this release). Also, the vocalist sounds a bit, well..."whiny". A lazy, depressing voice that brings a lot of "negative" vibes to the listener. It's almost painful enough to suggest it as "ignorance" itself. This whole album is basically for emos who have love-rejection problems in high school... It's for the "weak-hearted" people... It's fucking fragile, weaker than glass and flimsier than paper. Even the album's artwork is lacking badly... It's not even attractive, looks like your everyday, stupid-ass, commercial piece, just waiting to millions of copies, simply because it's shit. Everything that is popular (generally speaking), tends to be shit and sells a lot by the masses, which is fucking sad. Maybe it's for the better that the band quit, because this album was their weakest piece...they would have gotten weaker if they would have remained active, especially going down this (dreadful) path.

Forgottable funeral for a big part - 62%

Lane, July 30th, 2012

Oulu's famous gloom metallers Sentenced decided to kill themselves. They recorded 'The Funeral Album' during the winter 2004 and played their final concert in October 2005. The band's diverse musical treats varied from death metal of the beginning to dark (heavy) metal of the middle of the career, and finally to dark hard rocking metal.

The band wanted to include their progress on 'The Funeral Album'. Main ingredient of the music is the last style for the band, gloomy hard rocking metal (vocalist Ville Laihiala's other band Poisonblack and Charon are well-known examples of that). At best, the songs are very well rolling, damned catchy and generally flawless in their genre. 'May Today Become the Day' and 'Ever-Frost' are fine speedy songs that are on the list of "better Sentenced songs", easily. 'We Are but Falling Leaves' drops in pace, ending up as truly a wistful song. 'Her Last 5 Minutes' tops the previous with its trademark Finnish melancholy, also presenting some doomier stylings. As mentioned, the album includes earlier styles of the band, so there's even death metal, all bloody 58 seconds of it! 'Where Waters Fall Frozen' is the album's death metal piece, and not surprisingly, an instrumental one. It's simply totally out-of-place, being very much like 'North from Here's (1993) material. Western-style harmonica on 'Despair-Ridden Hearts' caused some raised eyebrows here, but the song is another hard rocking hit from the band. The rock goes on until 'A Long Way to Nowhere', which is the album's second limping song and the trend continues until 'Drain Me', the band's frankly rockiest kind of song ever. Acoustic plucking of 'Karu' is truly austere, the song title directly translated. 'End of the Road' with its everlasting, beautiful, so brisk ending lead guitar work is a great... errm, ending! Loppu, the end. Good bye and thank you for the fish. So, the album is new wave Sentenced, that's for sure, and wasn't a big surprise. The thing is that new wave Sentenced is straight rocking songs, there's not much left of that adventurous spirit that ruled on their earlier albums, especially on 'Amok' (1995). Some songs have enough of "it", the "ooomph", some don't (songs 8-11). What did you expect from the music written after (my guess) the decide to quit?

Mr. Lopakka's lyrics are partly awesome. I like the war song 'May Today...'s lively words, 'Ever-Frost's sarcastic style, but then it hits: Death, and later, suicide. Okay, 'We Are...' is a slow song, and the lyrics fit in, but... Us Finns, we like to sing about death and suiciding just like power metal bands wanna sing about dragons and heroes, so for me these are way too old news. 'Despair-Ridden Hearts' is about dying mankind, thanks to its self-destructiveness. Some of the lyrics are a bit naive, but there's also funny naive moments like "Beaten numb, I didn't see you sneaking 'round the corner, how could I? There is no sight in my third eye" from 'Vengeance...'. Frustration, suicide 'n' death topics can be found on songs 8 to 10, which are the music-wise the lame part of the album, too. Naughty 'Drain Me' has the worst ever Sentenced lyrics, easily. Booklet photography is very beautiful. The pictures from Northern Finland are simply amazing. Sound-wise this is heavy, but also muffled in lower frequencies. Pretty much organic, except for the bass drums, which must have been triggered. It all feels kind of rushed. Mr. Laihiala really got better year after year with his deep-ish voice. "Baby Lemmy" was long gone and a singer arose pretty much after 'Down' (1996).

The band released their best work, in my opinion, already in 1995. The band covered diverse styles of metal and that was both positive and negative thing. In my opinion Sentenced did well during all of their styles, more or less, but they did well. The death metal era wasn't groundbreaking, but others were, at least to some point. Anyway, three quarters of 'The Funeral Album' is good, partly excellent, but it feels that the eagerness of the band didn't last for the whole work. And the aforementioned adventurous spirit was lost years ago. A must for Sentenced fanatics, others will probably forget it pretty fast. It's just too "snacky", not "meaty". It might fill you up, but one fart and you're hungry again.

(originally written for in Autumn of 2008)

Goth pop for depressive kids. - 53%

Shadespawn, March 20th, 2009

"Dear cruel world,
It's may 2005 and we are all very sad that Sentenced are going to call it quits. We are so sad that we are crying rivers of tears and listening to every song from "Down" upwards, mourning in despair, clutching our handkerchiefs, blowing our noses, scratching our arms and sobbing. The emotionality of the band's lyrics hits us like a cold stone on our swollen faces. We feel that with Sentenced dying, also a part of us is passing on. We have no strength, lying feeble on the floor without any hope for the future. The agony!"

...and so on. Too many people make too much fuss about this band calling it quits. The band themselves, make a huge theatre out of their breaking up, making it as cheesy and tear shedding for little girls as possible. How nice. I remember back then when everybody was so terribly sad that this was going to happen. While looking forward to listening to (hopefully) a great good-bye album, I was a little disappointed, hence there was no back to the energetic sound of the previous decade. A small exception exists, as a vocal-less one minute track called "Where Waters Fall Frozen". With a craving for the more fast and desperate sound this track presents, the hope disappears after the above-average "End of the Road" dies away from the speakers, leaving you unsatisfied. Their goodbye album simply lacks the last nail they wanted so desperately hammered into their departure.

"I'm amazed,
how damn low people can go only by being themselves."

Musically speaking, Sentenced have packed a lot of nifty parts onto their last piece of work. Amongst the typical clean/semi-distorted guitar parts, straight riffage and every once in a while solo, one can also find harmonica passages, children choirs and occasional keyboard/synth patterns. The synth work itself is not too cheesy and fits well on tracks, such as "Her Last 5 Minutes". A big relief, since one could await over-exaggerated orchestral work, but that is luckily not the case. The album is overall very quiet and feeble and has some variety on the songs. But the one thing that is frightfully boring is the meek thematics that overshadow this poor album. Pop is just written all over this album. Take "Lower the Flags" or "Consider us Dead", for instance. The opener is also a pop song with even weaker lyrics.

"They all think that I am brave,
the strongest link of our chain,
but really I... just want a bullet between my eyes".

But weak lyrics seem to have become a trademark for Sentenced the past decade. The only thing that saves a couple of songs is the contrast and ambiguous nature of their concept. A very confusing concept, as the lyrics sometimes really stand out, such as those of the mid-tempo apathic balls-out "Vengeance is Mine", that simply is not aggressive enough to do the deed. The cute love-theme song mustn't of course be left behind, so "Drain Me" struggles somewhere near the end for a place on this album. The real atrocity still remains in the short guitar instrumental "Karu", which is by far, the worst artificial insertion in any album in filler history. The recording is also very loud, making it even more horrible. Imagine a sad drunk clown playing a guitar.

Now while pop doesn't necessarily have to mean bad music, as there are (were) some pop acts out there who are great to listen to, but the problem is simply in the whole circus this album represents and how frightfully boring the whole scheme has become. Ville is a loathsome vocalist, because he simply is a hypocritical scene-stud and little goth girl magnet. While the music itself is overall dull and lifeless, it could be more with a better vocalist, a less suicidal songwriter and a more music-oriented label.

Get this only if:

- you love Sentenced
- don't mind pop music
- use make-up as a guy
- cry everytime it rains
- all of above

Ahhh, the sounds of contractual obligation! - 0%

grimdoom, October 24th, 2008

One of the symptoms of a suicidal person is the loss of interest towards the things you love to do. In this case the overwhelming amount of apathy shines like direct sun light to the eyes of the waking. Its more than apparent that the band's less than graceful exit could be seen as a joke akin to their self parodied song 'Excuse Me While I Kill Myself' with the biggest difference being that song was great and this album is the shits.

As all who loved the band knew that they constantly flirted with self-loathing and self-destruction (at least from a lyrical standpoint) and as such their inevitable demise shouldn't have been such a surprise. The bands quality was steadily going up and/or down depending on your view point and they sounded nothing like they did in their earlier days. Of all the parting gifts they could've left their fans with one would have thought that their proverbial swansong would've been more than a bunch of B-sides.

The production is easily the best the band ever had which makes this travesty even more outrageous. The guitars return to their heavier ways chugging their way through the bulk of the album. The leads are adequate but expected. The solos are blazing however and somewhat of a breath of fresh air in an otherwise foul smelling wind. The bass is simple and plodding. The drums have never been brilliant in this band but they do a good enough job of keeping the pace.

The vocals are more inline with what we heard on 'Frozen' with Ville use his more gruff vocals throughout the whole of the material. The lyrics are very clichéd and amateurish, there is very little thought in them.

Over all, the album sounds like a contractual obligation to Century Media more than anything else. All the songs sound like throwaways from 'Frozen'-'Cold White Light', and while yes, the music is tight and well executed, there is no originality, no passion and no soul to any of it. This is a band going through the motions. Any saving graces at all are lost to the bland nature of the music. This album is arguably less relevant then most background music at a frat party.

If there are any "high points" to be found they would be tracks 1-3 as they are easily the most listenable and bare the closest semblance of decency. As if teasing the listener with the promises of better things to come, they are the lone dying survivors of this nuclear cesspool. This album contains all of the bands hallmarks but with nothing new thrown in to jazz them up they do little more than further tarnish the bands once brilliant shine.

This album should have been better. To follow up the near masterwork of its predecessor with this and then to end their careers with a live album comprised of mostly this slop is just insulting. Even the completest will have issues keeping this release in their collection. Lastly, the album title itself is completely retarded. Once again, lack of subtlety, going through the motions and contractual obligations make for lousy, half hearted wastes of air space. Avoid this garbage like the plague. If it were possible to rate this lower than 0, it would've been done.

An Enjoyable, But Heavily Flawed, Closing Chapter - 66%

Crank_It_Up_To_666, April 13th, 2008

Everyone, I’m certain, has heard a ‘last cough’ album some time in their tenure as music fan. This is the album a band in its agonised death throes has forcibly patched together in an attempt to leave some kind of mark before disappearing, or because if they fail to deliver the record label will sue them through the nose and out the arse twice over, or else because the misguided notion that they have something of artistic relevance left to impart is clogging their brains.
It’s happened to the best, across the board with music – from Black Sabbath’s ‘Never Say Die’ right the way up to Carcass’ ‘Swangsong’, with many a band producing dismal works contrasting cloyingly heavily with the mighty work of their glory days. So gothic metal mainstays Sentenced’s idea of basing an entire record explicitly and specifically on their own impending dissolution is a guaranteed disaster, right?

Surprisingly, no.

Of course, this is not the greatest gothic metal album in the world. No one can imply that and get away with it, as this in an album pockmarked with shortcomings. Riffs are not even a concern here – while some may make a mark on the memory for a short time, ultimately they are as unremarkable as the flair-deficit, exceptionally straightforward drumming. Ville Laihaila’s vocals, gravel-throated and emotional, will put off many a metalhead on first hearing, and certainly this is not the most varied album around, concentrating solely on melancholic tone throughout its run time rather than any considerations such as musicianship.

And yet...

‘The Funeral Album’, despite all these flaws and pitfalls, remains a resolutely listenable and very enjoyable closing chapter to the near two-decade long career that Sentenced have plowed on through. Assisted by a solid production allowing every instrument and vocalisation to ring out clear and true, the album is characterised by a dark, tragic tone; Sentenced pull off a difficult trick in imbuing the material itself with the sense that the melancholy end is close at hand. This is the stated goal of almost all goth metal, one could argue, but few succeed in the attempt to create such a feeling of despair. Sentenced are one of those few on ’The Funeral Album’.
Opening with the almost power-metal bombast of ‘May Today Become The Day,’ a fast paced, fist raising anthem with fantastic, trench warfare-inspired lyricism (the chorus here is amazing), and a truly spellbinding solo, the album dives headfirst into the heaviest material – a good use of dynamics on Sentenced’s part, remembering throughout the record’s course to position the more aggressive material at points in the album where a respite may be needed from the dark, depressing vibes that compose most of the record. Placing an acoustic driven ode to crushing misery such as ‘Despair-Ridden Hearts’ alongside the driving, graphic revenge fantasy of ‘Vengeance Is Mine’ is a simple technique, but the contrast between more introspective material and more aggressive material works well to steer the album away from descending into repetitive or boring territory.

The more aggressive material is certainly not at such a level of violent force as to satisfy fans of more extreme fare, but certainly, fans of good old fashioned gothic heaviness in the vein of Charon and Paradise Lost will find enough here to chew on.
Certainly, Sentenced prove more adept in penning doom-laden, soaring testaments to death, despair and loss, a talent exemplified in the album’s standout track, the astounding ‘We Are But Fallen Leaves.’ Laden with lyrical metaphor equating the passing seasons to the life span of a person, both gone in the blink of an eye, the song is a grim funeral march with some of the most epically mournful guitar work you will ever hear – certainly a track to check out whether you purchase the album or not.

This is the best example of the brand of maudlin gloom Sentenced wrap their career up with, and while the sentimental ‘Lower The Flags’, ‘Karu’ and ‘End Of The Road’ are more likely to repel anyone out for a bout of headbanging, the band’s excellent handling of the gothic aesthetic and sound ensure this album will remain an enjoyable experience for many. This may not exactly be the high note that Sentenced no doubt hoped to end their time on, but ‘The Funeral Album’ is a far more interesting and engaging work than many would ever let on.

Ordinary Story - 32%

PazuzuZlave, October 29th, 2005

So, here’s the last album from Sentenced, the band who drastically changed their death-metal style songs to heavy, finally recording some all-doom-metal albums. Now, the journey has come to an end, and where they should have retired with their noses high in the air, they failed miserably instead. Just refer to the title.
Sound wise it has the same heaviness and tightness as the previous album. The drums sound a little bit weak, but you can’t quite hear every beat as clear as you could. A little bug in the sound department then, but that’s just a small problem compared to the song material.

The material, the vocals, the style, the drum patterns… simply ALL that is offered here has been offered on their previous albums. There’s really little new stuff, and everything sort of has the familiar cling to it. They’ve obviously bet on the safe card here, but it’s just that it feels neither safe nor comfortable. As good as “The cold white light” was, you’d think they at least would try to top that one.
The one great thing about this album is track nr. 5. The 59 second long “Where Waters Fall Frozen” is a kind of tribute song to their roots. This is an instrumental death metal song, written in the vein they used to construct their more extreme songs. There are only two riff, but they’re quite excellent, and since it’s so short, they manage to pull it off.

Sentenced always go on about despair, sadness and loss. Despair? No, listening to this album makes me angry. Angry because one of my favourite local bands went down in the grave wounded, instead of calling it quits earlier. Sadness? A little bit yeah, since the last album from these guys sucked… Loss? Not really, and that’s sentenceds’ fault! Shame on you, Sentenced, for letting this happen. Still, maybe someone who really digs shitty boring music can dig this… But the rest of you are much better off with the earlier albums. Trust me!

The End of the Road - 10%

the_black_heart, June 9th, 2005

The final Sentenced album is now upon us, and what does this fan have to say? I'm disappointed. Very, very disappointed. Given, I'm not a hardcore Sentenced fan, and I'm rather new to their material. I first found Sentenced after the release of "The Cold White Light". It looked like an interesting album, so I bought it, and gave it a few listens. The amount of atmosphere and sorrow on that disc really stuck with me - it was catchy, yet sad and it had a lot of mood. But that doesn't seem to be the case with "The Funeral Album".

As I understand, Sentenced were once a Death Metal band, so they must have come a long way to end up at an album like "The Funeral Album". While this CD does have a few cool elements on it, most of it is just very boring Gothic Rock stuff, that follows a pretty simple formula. You can tell that the songs were meant to be catchy, but none of them really stick with you. The chorus on "Ever Frost" is kind of catchy, but at the same time, it's very bland, so to speak. One of the huge backs of this song is the fact that the lyrics are really poorly written. They don't seem to convey the same feelings that the songs on "The Cold White Light" did, although they generally have the same theme. The album starter, "May Today Become the Day", also suffers from poorly written lyrics and failed attempts at catchy choruses.

One of the cool things, though, was on one of the slower songs, "Despair Ridden Hearts", and that's the intro, which seems to be a harmonica of some kind. But that doesn't last very long, before the rest of the song starts. The rest of the song is rather boring, even when it gets to the part where it tries to speed up into a cool guitar solo - but the guitar solo is lacking, so it all seems kind of pointless.

A lot of the songs are pretty upbeat and "quick", sometimes focusing on a more violent side of the band. This is best demonstrated by the snooze of a song, "Vengeance is Mine". The lyrics for this song are, as you may have guessed, based around the topic of vengeance, which is a pretty popular subject. But the song, while not outright bad, simply fails to interest the listener. The lyrics are, once again, quite bad, and the hooks simply aren't catchy. This is one of the songs that, if I did listen to this album more than once, I would probably skip over every time.

But then there are two quick instrumentals, "Karu" and "Where Waters Fall Frozen". "Where Waters Fall Frozen" is a quick, heavy song, which seems really out of place on this album of mid to semi-fast paced Goth rockers. But it's pretty simplistic, and just goes back and forth between the same riffing for about a minute. I suppose a lot of people would be surprised by the sudden change, but I was just bored by it. It didn't seem to add much to the album, and certainly ruined any kind of atmosphere that could have been built up at this point.

"Karu" is one of the last songs on the album, and has a very sad feel to it, even though it's only a single guitar. The only problem is that the guitar doesn't really play anything interesting. It seems more like a, "Hey, look at what I can do", or, "Let's make this album a minute longer" sort of thing. It doesn't really add to the album and just seems like filler, or like a small intermission before the final part of the album. Which then leads into the song, "End of the Road", which starts off with some kind of cool vocals, but mostly stays rather boring. It has some chorus parts in it which are kind of cool - though it sort of reminds me of that old movie, "The Lost Boys". The album ends with this song, which closes out with a kind of catchy guitar part and solo - a pretty cool way to end an album, at least.

Overall, this last album by the Finnish band seems to be trying too hard to mix in too many ideas, between the fast instrumental, the "rocker" songs, the slow songs, and the variety of different "moods" in each song. Rather than seeming like one, single, strong album, it feels more like a collection of songs, like you would find on a "Greatest Hits" CD, though none of these songs sound like hits. There's absolutely no atmosphere on this album, like it's predecessor, and there's no really catchy parts, also like it's predecessor. I can't judge Sentenced's entire career based on the only two albums I've heard, but I'd have to say that this album is really poor. I give it a 10% because of the few cool parts it has, but other than that, it's a waste of money. Stay away from it if you can.

A Funeral Album Indeed. - 0%

b3rt, June 3rd, 2005

Wow, where to begin.

This album really defines what a band should not sound like when they want to go out. I don't understand what there is to praise here..

The vocals in this album are complete shit, and ruin the whole mood of whatever it's supposed to be getting at. At times, they even sound a bit whiney. The variation is little and it creates some of the most uninteresting chorus lines to be heard. Not a bit of it is catchy or memorable. After listening to songs like " Ever Frost", I am unable to remember any catchy lines. It all sort of runs together.
The lyrics on this are pretty uninspired and dull. Songs like "Vengeance is Mine", which you think will contain something kickass, fail to deliver. The lines seem so angsty and don't give you that impact that should be felt from a song with such a name. The impact I'm talking about goes something like "Hey, this dude is really pissed off and has a well thought-out plan to take vengeance on those bastards that killed his wife, 4 children, and pet goldfish." Not shit like, "I'm gunna hammer your fukn' heads off and think about bashing your brains, vengeance is myne!"

Now on to the instruments. These guitar melodies are quite mediocre and uninspired. It's mostly simplistic, uncatchy riffs that run together to create something boring. The solos lack anything epic and powerful. Definately nothing that can amount to older Sentenced classics like those from "North From Here", when this band actually had talent for that sort of thing. You should expect to something incredible like that, if this is the band's final release. Nothing else in the music sticks out... the drumming isn't too great, stupid chorus parts are thrown in to REALLY ruin things, and it seems like no effort was used to create something to leave a lasting impression of the gothic-era band.

Complete and Total Garbage - 0%

OfWintryDeath, June 1st, 2005

Chances are, if you're into Gothic Rock/Metal, you've heard of the band Sentenced. Since their humble beginnings as a Death Metal band, Sentenced have grown into a widely known and appreciated depressive music outfit, mostly due to the inclusion of catchy hooks and fine melodies within recent years. Each album seems to be a progression over the preceding one, and many people appreciate such progression. Naturally, it can be expected that "The Funeral Album" will be different from Sentenced's past works, and since the band has announced this to be their final album, many would probably be expecting a swansong of some sort.

So, what is there to say about this, the final Sentenced album? It's garbage. Complete garbage.

In all honesty, I was a Sentenced fan. All the way up until around "Crimson", really. The album which preceded this one, "The Cold White Light", was hailed a masterpiece by many chronically deaf folks, despite it's boring songs and whiny lyrics; this was the album which lost me. There's a fine line between being depressive and being angsty, and Sentenced have long since crossed that line.

That's enough about Sentenced's history, though. Many people who seem to adore this album are surely wondering my reasons for calling this album "complete garbage". Well, it's simple - this album is absurdly boring. The band even manages to make a song with the title "Vengeance is Mine" into a completely dull piece of garbage. The vocals on this album are monotonous and dull, the lyrics are hackneyed and bitchy, and the guitar work is far below the quality which this band is capable of producing. When people speak of this album, you'll often hear mentions of the band using elements from previous albums. While this is true to some extent (there are some guitar parts on here very much so similar to the "Frozen" album), the band fails to make this album anywhere near as interesting as the old albums.

Laihiala's vocal performance is so incredibly bad on this album, it's almost disgusting. Most of the songs feature the same exact style of vocals with little variation, and they sound so uninspired. The least they could have done was attempted to put genuine atmosphere to these cliché ridden songs. The vocal hooks aren't catchy at all, and mostly come out sounding very stupid and almost laughable. Most of the guitar solos are short and simplistic, or simply not even interesting. There are essentially absolutely no memorable guitar parts on this album; hell, there aren't any memorable parts on this album at all. The guitar riffs are incredibly dull, and between the guitars, the lyrics, and the monotonous vocals, it's difficult to tell the songs apart. Deep, singing vocals (such as on previous albums) are few and far between; most of the album is spent with Laihiala "screaming", in what I assume is an attempt to sound "tough" and "heavy", and he even struggles at that. The production prevents you from even really noticing the other instruments, really. At certain moments, the guitars will be a bit more prominent (usually only when Laihiala shuts the hell up), often just to throw out a crappy solo.

You may have noticed I didn't mention the drumming or bass. Well, guess what? The drumming and bass just isn't even worth mentioning. There's nothing interesting about either. It's just the same, dull songwriting.

Lyrically, you can expect the same, tiresome shit that this band has given you dozens of times in the past - comparing life to leaves, talking about things being frozen or cold, and an assortment of whiny, almost emo, "I wish I was dead" songs. If you took some of the lyrics / song titles from this album, slapped them on a black background with pictures from some "cult" movie classic, and added a frowny faced emoticon after them, you would have an Emo kid's Xanga. Not a single lyric on this album is creative or clever; it's the same old shit. As I said earlier, even the "aggressive" song ("Vengeance is Mine") features stupid lyrics, boring music and shoddy vocals. Hell, the lyrics sound as if it was rejected from a Cannibal Corpse album or something. Though, given Sentenced's recent lack of creativity, I can't say I'd be very surprised if that's where they picked the lyrics up from.

The only thing sad about this album is seeing a once great band crash and burn in an abysmal performance of the same trite shit. This can hardly even be considered a Metal CD, and even so, it's albums like this which give Gothic Metal a bad name. This album is painful to listen to; not because it's sad, or because the band breaking up is sad - just because it's so incredibly crappy that it isn't even funny. This band's day has long since passed, and they should've called it quits several albums ago. Either way, good riddance to bad rubbish.

They left the best for last.. :( - 100%

Virella, May 31st, 2005

I can't believe this! I simply can not! Of course they have their reasons to do this, but ...oh well, guess it's better to quit at a high point. Well, done with the drama, and onto the review.

First of all, this album rules!! It's just perfect for when your depressed or just wanna hear some depressing tunes. Although I have to admit that from the first listen I wasn't totally captivated. But repeated listens just burned this album in my brain. It's that good!

The vocals are really emotional, they haven't changed at all, and if they have, well, it's for the better. They fit the music so well, just when your adrenaline is going out of control, he just screams his lungs out with anger or sadness, whichever applies. The vocals really carry this album. The guitars are just heavy as Hell! The solos they pull off are done at the right moment, at the right speed, and when the guitars are coupled with acoustic guitars, in my opinion, they create an even better experience. One instrument that helps give form to some of the songs has to be the piano, it's very moving, just listen to the opening of "Lower The Flags".

I liked the whole album, but my favourites have to be: Ever-Frost, a little fast, of course I mean "fast" for a Sentenced song, Vengeance Is Mine, although that title has been used numbers of times, it's one Hell of a strong song, Consider Us Dead, and End Of The Road are really fucking great!
The lyrics deal with suicide, love, loosing love, getting revenge, death (wao that's odd!), just pure depressing stuff, just perfect!

Thanks for all the great music guys, may you rest in peace!

Buy this, download it, or whatever, just get it anyway you can!

It's Better to Burn Out then to Fade Away......... - 100%

Deaths_Design, April 30th, 2005

They have done it. They have not left without one final fight. The newest offering of melancholic masterpieces from Finland's Sentenced has surpassed all expectations and gone above and beyond exceptional.

Sentenced started in 1988 as a death metal act and have since turned into the leaders of the gothic metal/depression rock genre. 'The Funeral Album' has proven to be the best offering Sentenced have ever put out, which makes it particularly hard to let them go.

Sentenced's last album is full of amazing guitar solos and lyrics that just get to you. The opening track "May Today Become the Day" is a true 'get up and move' song. It has great vocal melodies that you will catch yourself singing along to, as well as a catchy drum beat that will have you playing air drums as your car goes flying off the over-pass. "Despair-Ridden Hearts" opens with a saddened harmonica riff and starts off as a slow melodic piece with lyrics that really get to you. It then progresses to a faster paced more upbeat track and becomes one of the 'stand-out' tracks of the album. I cannot say enough about "Vengeance is Mine", which as far goth metal goes is probably the best song to beat someone to. The simple guitar riffs and powerful lyrics make it an anthem for all that have been mistreated and demand revenge. Sentenced have also shown that they have not forgotten their roots. The under-one-minute track "Where Waters Fall Frozen" is an instrumental as brutal as a fist to the chops, showing that they have definatly not gone soft. I could go on and on about this album and detail every single track but I will leave some surprise to you. But, I cannot go without saying something about the final track on the final album aptly named "End of the Road". If there was ever a last track that you could say tied up all the loose ends and left you with a feeling of satisfaction it would be this. The riffs and vocals are very powerful and give you a true feeling of the 'end' of the album. It then progresses to an amazingly emotional few solos accompanied by the perfectly complimentary beat on drums and riffs on guitar and bass. This track will not only give you the feeling of coming to terms with a death but also give you the feeling that they did not go without a fight...

I cannot say enough about this album. It is a masterpiece that will leave us all feeling saddened by their split-up but at peace that they did not fade away. I feel 100% is too low a score to give this album as I hold it in the highest regard. A small final tour is to follow that I'm sure will prove to be an emotional one for band and fans alike.

Good-bye Sentenced... we're sad to see you go.