Pre-listening session and interview with Vesa Ranta of Sentenced at Finnvox Studio for the forthcoming (yet still unrevealed) Sentenced album.
December 21st, 2004
Article and all studio pics Luxi Lahtinen
I received a text message from the drummer of Sentenced, Vesa Ranta, 20th of December 2004 in which he asked whether I could be interested in hearing the band?s latest yet untitled 13-song studio opus in advance. Of course I couldn?t turn such an extraordinary opportunity down and accepted the invitation without hesitations, and went to Finnvox Studio next day straight from my work.
I think I need to point out that I heard the songs for the upcoming Sentenced album only once through and my analysis for the songs is based roughly on my notes that I wrote down while listening to the songs off that record at that time. So it might be better if you, dear reader, didn?t read them too accurately because as I told you already, I had a chance to hear the songs for the new Sentenced album not two or three times or more, BUT just once, and I can hardly remember any longer how these new 13 Sentenced songs sounded like any of that detailed way. So I had to trust to my notes that I managed to write down at Finnvox Studio and if you want to read them through right away, then scroll down to the end of the interview.
For more accurate and detailed info about the new Sentenced album, Vesa Ranta tells in this very interview basically everything from the song writing process of the new songs up to the recording sessions of the new album to the past times of the band, to how and why they even became accused being Nazis (!) by a group of religious people in their hometown Oulu some months ago.
So Vesa, would you tell our readers how this new album sounds compared to your previous album COLD WHITE LIGHT?
I think our newest ?baby? is a more varied album content-wise than COLD WHITE LIGHT even if that album also had quite versatile songs. But I think our forthcoming album is probably a bit heavier when compared to the songs on COLD WHITE LIGHT. Well, I mean, our heaviest songs have gotten heavier and lighter songs have become even lighter on this album. In that sense I would say there?s gonna be more diverse stuff on our new record than what we did on COLD WHITE LIGHT.
Did you try to find rougher and heavier elements for this album on purpose or was that something that came naturally?
All those heavier elements came very naturally on this record. Like I told you earlier, we were accused of having some references to Nazis by a group of religious people when we did this song called Routasyd?n? for Oulun K?rp?t, a hockey team from our hometown Oulu. All those accusations were of course totally bullshit and totally absurd, as we are no Nazis! I think those false and completely pointless accusations fed our anger which can be reflected through some of our new songs on this new album.
When you started writing for this new album, how much did you think about the last album? I mean, it got rave reviews almost everywhere and was received well by your fans, so it must have had at least some effect on you when the band started composing songs for this latest effort of your?
Of course that?s something you cannot avoid because you always try to make better songs and better albums, so some comparisons, either consciously or unconsciously, were made to COLD WHITE LIGHT ? and that obviously was quite natural. I think we made a very good record last time even. When we started the songwriting for this upcoming album, we sort of tried to start with a clean slate. We tried not to think too much about what we did on our previous album. In my opinion the songs on this new record are the best Sentenced that have done thus far and I hope that once people get a chance to hear it they will like it, too. But of course time will tell!
Tell me more…
We don?t discuss the music with each other when rehearsing our new stuff. Most often it?s either Miikka or Sami ? or Ville who brings a new song to our rehearsal. Then we play it and either it works for us or not. If some songs don?t fit us, they just ?fade away?. We rarely have any serious conflicts about our music.
Can you remember when you started coming up with new stuff for this forthcoming album?
Hmm… let me think? I guess the first two songs that we wrote for this album, were ?Ever-frost? and ?May Today Become the Day?. Those songs were written about 1 and half year ago and we seriously started rehearsing the songs for the record sometime around March or so.
When you finally started rehearsing these songs how many did you actually have in all? Did you have more songs than these 13 that you have now recorded for the album?
We had 14 songs altogether, but we decided that we didn’t want to use the extra song for this record because we couldn’t finish it completely. That particular song doesn’t have any lyrics yet either.
Do you have any plans to use it somewhere? Maybe on a Japanese edition as a bonus track or a B-side of your next single?
It may be possible. We may use it for a compilation CD, but I think it?s way too early to say yet what we want to do with it.
I remember hearing or reading from somewhere that Century Media might put out a new Sentenced single before releasing your album in April?
I just heard from our guitarist Sami Lopakka that those plans may have changed already. It looks like there won?t be any single from us before the album. What we may do is put up some excerpts from some of our new songs on our website.
Some so-called ?teasers…?
Yes, exactly. Some ?teasers? for our fans just to give them an idea how our new stuff sounds.
Last time when we were talking here at Finnvox Studio with you guys, more than 2 years ago when you guys had just finished both mixing and mastering for COLD WHITE LIGHT, Ville was telling me that you needed to take a break right after you had recorded the CRIMSON album. You toured a hell of a lot for it, basically becoming exhausted so you had to take ?a little 2-year-break? from everything while concentrating on writing COLD WHITE LIGHT. Now the situation with your newest album is pretty much the same. So what?s been going on with you; what have you been doing?
We have been doing some gigs. We spent the whole summer doing lots of gigs both around Finland and outside of Finland. Also, both Ville and Sami got additions to their families, so it always good to take some time to be with your families. Now when,for example, Ville has two kids in his family, it?s just natural he wants to spend some time with his family as well.
Did your label Century Media push you back to the song writing table at all as regards this new record of yours or did they let you work with this album in peace?
No, they didn’t push us with this album at all. Probably they already know us that well that it?s a complete waste of time to start pushing us to write anything because we basically start doing new songs for the band when we feel like doing them. There is no sense forcing yourself to sit down and write new songs if you’re not in the right mood to write new songs for the band, y?know. We simply write songs as long as it takes to get an album full of good songs, then commonly accept them inside the band and enter a studio. Writing new songs is not something you can force yourself to do if you are not in the writing mood. If we did like 1 album per each year, I?m certain the quality of the songs on our records wouldn’t be that good at all. Also if we tried to record one album each year and even tour for each new album we did, it would certainly kill this band eventually. It’s not for us.
By the way, when and where did you play your last gig?
I think it happened in Slovenia at Metal Camp festival 20th of August this year.
After that gig you didn’t play anywhere for quite awhile?
Nope, it?s been quite a long while since we played live. We have been concentrating on working with this album and I don?t think we will play any gigs before this new album is out. Now when we have finished with the recordings with this new album, we will have a two month break and right after that break, we?ll start rehearsing a live set, including songs from this new album to it.
Like including a half of the new material and the other half of old songs into your setlist?
Yeah, something like that, I suppose. However, like it has always been with our previous albums, we have some songs on our old records that kind of not work out too well in a live situation. So it is with our latest album as well. I think 6 or 7 songs off the new album we may possibly play live, but of course that remains to be seen.
And what might those live songs be then…?
Well, at least the two 1st songs from this new album, ?May Today Become the Day? and ?Ever-frost?.
Those most guitar-driven songs on this new record?
Well… yeah, you could kind of say they are the most ?guitar-driven songs? indeed. Any song that has lots of acoustic guitar parts in them, isn?t probably the best material for a live situation as it?s kind tough to make them work and sound good in a live situation
So how do you believe your fans will receive this latest album of yours as it?s however a bit different musically than let’s say, your previous album COLD WHITE LIGHT; I mean, more diverse content-wise, having a few new elements that you haven?t had in Sentenced’s music before like this child choir, some samples taken from some radio channel of Irak and stuff like that? Do you believe that the Sentenced ?fans are smart enough to accept some of these new elements in your music, too? This new album, however, very much sounds like Sentenced even despite of these few particular ?unusual elements? on the album?
Yes, I strongly agree with you. This album still sounds very much from us. If we only stuck to one certain format musically, and never even bothered to try out a bit different elements in our music, it would have killed the band a long time ago already, I believe. As you have noticed, our music has taken many shapes during our history, going to different directions and developing all the time. I?m glad we had enough time to work with the album this time, and try out a few different things in our songs because we have always dreamt about having enough time really to think our song structures and experiment with different for them like we did on this record. And I believe all those ?experiments? came out really nicely in some of our songs on this new record.
Can you tell where you get some of these ideas from to experiment with them a little bit within your music?
Well, of course those things happen naturally to us like f.ex. listening to different types of music you may get some influences and ideas from there. That?s something which you cannot avoid as you surely know.
How much did you actually make compromises with your some of new songs that some of you thought this or that part fits to this or that part of some certain song, but others didn’t seem to think that way about it?
Hmmh… as I told you a bit earlier, when we rehearse our songs together, either they work for us or not. We hardly make any compromise with our songs. I think it?s just pointless to try to find some sort of a mid-way through a song that could please all of us at least a little bit. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work for us. It?s actually as simple as that.
Would you say that every member in Sentenced has got a certain type of understanding how a standard Sentenced song should sound like in the first place? I mean, you obviously have similar views about the Sentenced?s stuff inside the band how your songs should be built up and how they should sound like in the end?
Yes, as a matter of speaking we indeed do. Our opinions about our own music luckily don?t differ from each other too drastically at all which is a good thing, of course.
Ville also had his ?project band? called Poison Black which is completely different type of stuff musically compared to Sentenced?s music; Poison Black being more like a Gothic Rock band musically. I was just wondering did Ville try to bring in some of those elements into the new Sentenced songs ? either consciously or unconsciously that they had in Poison Black?
No, he didn?t. In fact, I have even heard that Poison Black?s next album is going to me quite different stuff compared to what they did on their debut album; having more like Thrash Metal influences, with lots of riffs and shit and it shouldn’t have anything to do with either Gothic Rock or Gothic Metal. As for Ville?s songs he has done for this album, I wouldn’t say these particular songs have anything to do with any Gothic ?influenced stuff. They sound more like plain Sentenced ?tunes to my ears at least.
As for my opinion based on just one spin of the album, I didn’t hear any Gothic ?influences on your newest album either, so I guess you are on safe waters according to that, ha-ha!! Anyway, do you have any favorite songs off this album at the very moment that sound slightly better for some reason or the other than the rest of the songs on the album?
A tough question, but, well…, actually right now the first two songs on this record, ?May Today Become the Day?, ?Ever-frost?. Then of course ?End of the Road? off which I already mentioned to you. Also ?Vengeance Is Mine? and ?Despair-ridden Hearts? sound good to me at the moment, but I may have a whole different favorite songs tomorrow, you just never know, he! It?s even very much likely that my favorite songs from this album may change on daily basis, depending on certain feelings I may have at a time.
Was this new album of yours somehow easier and more relaxing to do when comparing it to your previous album COLD WHITE LIGHT, having less pressure involved through the whole song writing process?
Yeah, you could say so because we had enough time to compose the songs for this album and we didn’t rush them to get them finished before we entered the studio. Lopakka, Tenkula and me, the founding members of Sentenced, first started composing the songs for our new record and Ville and our bassist Sami Kukkohovi joined us a bit later to give their own input for the songs. This is the way we have basically always been working with our songs for quite long time already, the first three mentioned from us build up a basic stem for a song; with some melody lines, riffs and stuff, and right after we just add the lyrics, solos and spice up our songs a bit more and that?s basically it. I feel like doing this album was pretty painless thing to do after all.
If I can remember correctly, you recorded the drums here in Helsinki for this album and the rest of the instruments in your (current) hometown Oulu…
Yes, exactly. We used Tonebox Studio in Oulu for recording all the guitars, vocals, bass and synth parts for this new album and then we came here to Finnvox Studio for mixing the album. As for Tonebox recording studio, it?s a relatively new, but a very good studio in Oulu. For example Sacred Crucifix used the same studio for the recording of their debut album. The owner of that studio is a friend of ours, too. Hiili Hiilesmaa, the guy who also produced our previous album COLD WHITE LIGHT, traveled to Oulu and spent 5 weeks with us at Tonebox studio.
And right after you had finished the recordings at Tonebox Studio, you traveled to Finnvox Studio for mixing and mastering the album…
Yeah. Also we did this acoustic song called ?Karu? in the very last minutes. One of the our main song writers Miikka has had this idea in his head for many years already and he has never forgotten to remind us that he would like to use that particular song for one of our forth-coming albums. So we took it for this album as he had enough time to work with it for its final shape. I think it works out just fine on this new album of ours and really fits to the wholeness very well.
Now I have to be a bit curious about the producer of this new record. I was just wondering whether you ever went through any conversations between the band members only, pondering some alternative producers to take the task as a producer of the album? Did you have any serious talk going on at some point of this whole recording process who else might have been good candidates for Sentenced to produce this album, besides Hiilesmaa, of course?
Well, in fact, we had some producers? names in our minds, but after some serious conversations we ended up having Hiilesmaa to produce the album. Of course we could have taken a risk and try some other producer for this album, but if a co-operation between the band and this unnamed certain producer had failed, we would have blamed us for it only. Hiili did a great job with our previous album C.W.L., so we decided to stick with ?the safe and secure choice? instead and I think we made a right decision.
And like you said there already, as he did so splendid work on COLD WHITE LIGHT already, he obviously had a very strong vision how both the band and the album should sound like, so the choice was pretty damn easy for you to make after all…
Yes, absolutely! What I like about him is that he?s a quite demanding guy, trying to get the very best out of us all the time and not leaving anything to a half-way. Also, he?s not afraid of trying out different types of sounds in order to find out whether some certain sound fits better to us than let?s say, some other type of sound, y?know. So all in all, he?s a very creative person in so many ways as far as his production skills are concerned.
Also as he succeeded in creating such a top-notch sound for COLD WHITE LIGHT, I bet choosing him to produce this forth-coming album of Sentenced, wasn’t that hard decision to make in the end…
Yes, you?re right. Hiili has become so familiar to us as a person that we can call him a friend to us. It’s very easy and relaxing to work with him even if like I told you a bit earlier, he may also demand quite a lot from us from time to time, he-he!!
What were those things on this new album for what he wiped your asses most ruthlessly and mercilessly then?
Hmm… let me think for a moment. Well, I cannot think of anything special right now as doing this album with him, was so kind of easy yet quite painless indeed. He pretty much knew already in advance how we wanted this album to sound like, so everything clicked right from that moment when we entered the studio to record the songs for the album.
So can you Vesa already reveal what?s gonna be the title for this album? We haven?t talked about the title yet, haven?t we?
Nope, we haven?t and I unfortunately cannot reveal it to you right now as it’s still kind of secret, y’know. We still wanna keep people curious about the title of our next record and I think that we?ll reveal the title for it little by little, piece by piece, by bringing some pieces of it into our website.
So there?s the cover artwork fully ready for your next album already?
Yes, there is…
And as it can be assumed you have done everything from the front cover to layouts and stuff?
Yes, I have. We will use quite a lot of photos for the layout of this album that I have taken from the Finnish nature. The final makeup for the layout is still under work, but everything else is ready to go for it. The front cover, however, has already been finalized and fully ready.
Do you have any idea when Century Media will send the first promos out for the media?
My rough guess is that sometime around in February 2005, but it?s a bit too early to say when exactly. The master tape (-s) will be sent to Germany after X-mas, so who knows, maybe it won?t take that long from them to get some promos ready for it. But that of course remains to be seen…
Have you had any talk with the Century Media staff about making of any videos to promote this album, too? It?s actually much easier to promote certain releases if there?s also a video involved with a release of a new album that could come along with it at the same time.
I definitely agree with you. But for a possibly video shooting for a song off this new album, we honestly haven?t given that much of thought for that thing yet. But I hope we will make one eventually. I think it?s not that necessary tool of promotion for the Finnish music markets, but for a worldwide circulation its importance cannot be denied.
Getting your videos spread through the web has perhaps become the most common way to get some exposure for your band(-s), so have you thought of putting it available that way through your own website where people could go and simply download it if they wanted to see it?
Yes, that of course one way to do it, but in my opinion it would be even better if these types of things were included for the actual CD so that when people buy the album, a video could come along with the album already as some sort of a spin-off, y?know. Also it would be nice to include some other multimedia extras for our forth-coming album as well, and not only a video.
Pasi Paunio directed one of your songs off your CRIMSON album titled Killing Me Killing You some years ago already. Do you think he might use his skills as a video director, for your next video possibly? The Killing Me… video was quite pro-looking thing all in all anyway, and I suppose you also were pretty happy how that particular video turned out eventually, correct?
Yes, he did great job on that video indeed!! But also Petri Veijalainen did a really splendid job when directing a video for our song ?No one There? off COLD WHITE LIGHT, so we even might consider using his services as a director of our next video for this new album. But of course it?s too early say anything else ?bout our next possible video. Let time will tell again…
Would you say that both guys had a clear vision for what kind of elements you wanted to include for both of those two particular videos then?
Well, I would say so…
Did you have some sort of a fully-made script available from the band to offer in advance to the directors of those two videos or did they, more or less, come up with all those elements for them?
Actually they have decided from start to finish what types of sceneries they wanted to build up around those two songs. I have to say that it?s a bit unfortunate thing that we, as a band, haven?t had or found enough time to think so much what type of elements we really would like to put into those scripts so that a video would look more like from us, y?know. Honestly I think that we should find more time and enthusiasm for thinking the actual scripts for our videos in the future. Don?t read me wrong because those two previous videos we have done, look good and all that, but to find some more time from the band members to really sink their teeth into the scripts of them, would be of course way cooler in my opinion.
I guess to see Sentenced to be placed in the middle of a huge metropolis environment in a video wouldn?t be that much of Sentenced what you represent musically these days. Scenes of nature and wilderness would obviously fit much better into your videos than anything else really…
I have to agree with you that. I suppose the elements you just mentioned will always be a part of our videos in one way or the other.
Once your new album has been released this spring, you assumable should start preparing to hit the road again and make tours to support it. So have you had any talk with your gig agency when you?ll start touring for this forth-coming album and from where exactly?
Yes, we have already gone through some conversations about this matter with our gig agency in advance. I think our new album will be released on the verge of summer festivals, so we will obviously do a plenty of those first before doing in-door gigs. It also may be possible that we might do some club gigs here in Finland later this spring before those bigger summer festivals, but nothing has booked us yet.
Do you miss these long tours at all now when you have had this 2 year break from touring?
These long tours are quite tough to do for the band nowadays for a number of different reasons, but I think that we are ready to hit the road right after we have taken a break from everything for a while. Doing the songs for this album, rehearsing them and finally recording them, has taken lots of our effort to get everything together for this album, so it will only do good for everyone of us to concentrate on completely other areas in life for a moment.
How many times did you basically rehearse in this tiny local studio in Oulu before you entered the other studio to actually record the songs for the album?
Around 4-5 times in a week at first, but when the studio time drew nearer and nearer, I think we were rehearsing the songs for this album every day together, for the last two weeks or so. Our situation to rehearse together has changed drastically toward a better direction during these last few months because nowadays we are able to rehearse in a small local studio in Oulu and record demos on daily basis if we would like to do so. It really is a big help in a song composing process all in all because now we are able to record the whole song during our rehearsal session by pro-studio equipments and listen to it right after we have played the song even if our songs tend to change and take new shapes quite much during these rehearsal sessions. It?s good to hear anyway how our new stuff sounds on demos already as like I already mentioned, we are able to hear right away whether song arrangements sound good or not; or if there?s something that needs to be changed or improved in a song arrangement. I remember when we were rehearsing songs for COLD WHITE LIGHT, we always recorded our songs to a normal cassette tape and sent those shitty rehearsal sounding tapes to our producer Hiili Hiilesmaa with some sort of a tiny piece of paper being enclosed with the tape and saying: ?Here?s a couple of new songs from us again. Take a listen!?
Sounds like quite undergroundish way to make demos out of songs, ha-ha!!
I admit that we tended to be quite lazy back then, but we thought that recording them that way was enough to get an idea for us how our new stuff sounded like at that time. Of course I?m glad that we have become a bit more professional since those days as far as recording songs for a demo type of format is concerned. In the same breath I can reveal a little secret from us. Back in the day when we were still recording our songs by using that little tape recorder in the middle of our rehearsal place, we simply covered that tiny recorder by one of our leather jackets in order to get ?the best possible? sound for ?demos? of the new songs. That pro type of ?studio musicians? we were for not that long time ago…
What about single-off gigs or tours outside of Finland? Can you already reveal what?s gonna happen in that department for Sentenced?
Some bigger European festival organizers have already shown their interest toward us and we should settle rather soon already. One of these festivals that have been interested in having us to play at their own festival, is Wacken even if we haven?t made our mind with them yet.
I?m very well aware of the fact that you don?t write the lyrics for this band at all, but do you have any idea what kind of topics your main lyric writers have dealt with in these new songs on the album?
Well, when the vocals were recorded for this album, I was hardly spending any time in the studio, so to be honest with you, I don?t know much about them at all.
But I assume you have seen at least some of them in a written format, haven?t you?
Yes, of course… of course, I have!! There?s now more less of this, let?s say ?typical? suicide shit involved with the lyrics of this album this time around and according to the words of our guitarist Sami Lopakka, the lyrics of the album have more depth this time than what there was on our couple of previous albums, still maintaining to have a certain kind of a sarcastic vibe in some of them, however.
So can you tell where and when will be arranged an official kick-off party for this new album of yours?
I don?t know yet, but we actually may have two of them; one in Oulu and another one in Helsinki as we have had sometime in the past. Those dates will be announced later this spring for sure…
Let?s talk about more widely known Finnish (mainstream) metal bands a bit next. The whole year of 2004 has been a success for a band called Nightwish who have been awarded many gold ? and even platinum records all over the world this year for their latest album ONCE and everywhere they have toured their gigs have been sold out. Sentenced have been around since 1989 and even though you have created many successful albums and tours, but you still haven?t got the whole world on its knees the same way that Nightwish has done. Can you find reasons for why you haven?t succeeded on that large scale like some other (Metal) bands from Finland have managed over the past few years (bands like Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and the likes come to mind first)? What does it require for a band to have global success?
Huh, that?s a kinda tough question all in all. Well, first off, I think we are quite a big name in our own home country Finland. As for Nightwish, of course Nightwish?s concept is so unique and highly original in the whole world. There?s no other band in this world doing similar stuff to theirs, so they are in a totally different position compared to us. Secondly, I honestly think this is also the timing question. Trends come and go and being in the right place at the right time has its own role to play in a bands success. Also, what is also a very important thing is how well certain bands get promoted. All this is basically a question of money, how much people in the music business are able to do and invest in bands to get them more known amongst those people who are buying albums. It?s a sum of many things actually. Of course the bigger a record label is, the better chance they have to invest money for promotion and things like that to help their bands get noticed. A well-done marketing program has a lot of to do with the success of many bands.
Thinking of your label Century Media, I strongly believe Sentenced is one of the most important bands on their roster these days. Do you agree with my statement?
Yes, I also think we may be one of their top priorities at the moment. As far as I know, Italian Lacuna Coil is probably the best selling band for Century Media these days. Their albums have been sold very much almost everywhere worldwide. Tiamat used to sell a lot of albums in the past, but I guess they are not doing that well for Century Media nowadays.
Also, Century Media has got some of the old bands back they used to have on their label for many years like Grave and Unleashed and I assume both of these two bands are selling doing pretty good for the label as well…
I?m sorry, but I haven?t followed what?s going on with these bands for many any more. Anyways, I wanna send a friendly message to our record label: Let?s make some burn for us, ha-ha!!
How many albums do you still have to do for your current label Century Media?
I?m not sure, but I think either 1 or 2 albums more after this forth-coming album. Hmm… was it one or two? Nah, let’s say two as I really cannot remember 100%, he-he!!
Alright, I think we have both done our share for this interview. As the last thing I ask you to do is to rate your ?newest baby? between 4 and 10, so go ahead Vesa…
Hmm… obviously this album feels the best album we have done thus far song-wise, but rating it may be a bit hard. But I?d give it 9,99 out 10 anyway, ha-ha!!
It?s a good rating for the album, no doubts, he-he!! Thank you Vesa for your time and have a safe trip back to Oulu…
Thanks Luxi & Metal-Rules.com again!!
A rough analysis for the songs on Sentenced?s yet untitled album, based on a mish-mash of almost unreadable notes written by Luxi…
“May Today Become the Day”
A kinda straight-forward, guitar-ridden song? heavier than any of the songs on the band?s previous album COLD WHITE LIGHT. A damn great opener for the new Sentenced record in my opinion, too. Liked it a lot indeed?!!
This song had some hints from the times of Sentenced?s DOWN and FROZEN albums, having basically very catchy guitars riding through the whole song from start to finish and a chorus that undoubtedly sticks in your mind easily right from the very first spin. The song sounded pretty darn heavy as well compared to the songs on their previous album COLD WHITE LIGHT. Probably one of my own favorites on this forth-coming Sentenced record? One of the parts in the lyrics says: ?Jesus saves? We piss on your grave?. You just gotta love these guys? twisted sarcasm, ha!
“We Are But Falling Leaves”
Starts off with some melodic yet a bit sorrowful guitar lines; a relatively slow tempo, ballad-like tune that basically doesn?t offer any ?miracles? in terms of a creative musical innovation. However, it can obviously be said that girls will surely dig this particular song in question, no doubts? ;=)
Her Last 5 Minutes
An acoustic beginning which soon starts absorbing other melancholic and ?sad? elements around it. There?s also some synth parts in the background of the song, played by one of the two main songwriters of the band, Miikka Tenkula. Nothing but a very familiar sounding Sentenced ?tune from start to finish.
Where Waters Fall Frozen
HOLY LEFT WING OF THE MIGHTY SCHEITAN?!!? Whatta FUCK is this? Is this joke or something??! In fact, this almost 1-minute furious instrumental outburst harks back to the times of the band?s NORTH FROM HERE album; back to those times when the guys froze blood in many people?s veins by recording their most wicked, darkest and technical-wise most significant album to date of all-time. The band?s drummer told this particular ?sheer declaration of hatred & chaos? in question was born in one of the last few rehearsals when they were giving finishing touches to the songs for the new album. A very unexpected yet brave decision from the guys to include this piece of ?vicious art? for the content of the album without a single doubt. It may well come a bit of as a ?shock? for all those Sentenced ?fans who haven?t heard the band?s 1st two albums ever at all. ?Where Waters Fall Frozen? is a hydrid of both savage Death ? and Thrash Metal noises being stretched to an absolute maximum.
There?s a relatively unusual instrument in this song to be a Sentenced song? a mouth-harp? From a country-western, ?redneckish? type of feeling the song starts growing toward always so familiar-sounding Sentenced ?heights, adopting almost every essential element we love in Sentenced?s music in general. Again, a very catchy and mind-sticking chorus part has been trademarked into the song as well where Sentenced have always proved to be real masters at.
Vengeance Is Mine
The song kicks off with a simple riff added with Ville?s strong vocal parts that soon get company with lotsa other catchy as fuck elements. The song overall tends to be somewhat heavy structurally and has overall a truckload of strong riffings present in it. After reaching 2-minute mark, a listener is able to hear something kind of ?unexpected? from the Sentenced ?camp again: A choir consisting of ten 10-13-year-old kids that adds nearly a ?religious (!)? vibe into the song and in all honesty I have to say the choir has been cleverly fitted into the song and it sounds damn good. Also the same choir can be heard a bit more in the end of this tune, along with carillon which Sentenced, as far as I can remember, has never used before as a part of their songs. ?Vengeance Is Mine? was one of my favorites off their forth-coming record, absolutely!
A Long Way to Nowhere
A heavy guitar riff starts off this song? While the song proceeds on further, Ville conjures up some of the best elements out of his voice, and especially an addictive chorus part seems to dominate most of the song from start to finish. The whole song is thoroughly melancholic, quite simple structure-wise, beautiful? the Sentenced ?way.
Consider Us Dead
There?s some sample parts in the beginning/mid part of the tune being ripped out straight from some radio channel of Irak which could be not considered ?dead?, but on the contrary, kinda extraordinary idea for the song. Also there?s some Eastern type of feelings crawling out from this tune and overall the song has been built well and carefully structurally.
The song ends beautifully, too…
Lower the Flags
To be honest with all of you, I don?t have much vision left from the very song. What I can remember at least for certain, there?s some synth parts played in the beginning of this tune and the song ends to some parts played by piano. Also I remember the song having a quite melancholic and sorrowful feeling being wrapped all over it, but unfortunately my personal notes about this song don?t tell much else for some strange reason? (?).
This song has been made by the luminary frontman of the band, Ville Laihiala. The guitar parts in this very tune are a bit lighter, may I even say, more ?Rock? -orientated the same way they were made to sound on COLD WHITE LIGHT. Actually I wouldn?t wonder too much if ?Drain Me? was recorded during the same sessions when the band put the songs together for their successful, previous album COLD WHITE LIGHT. The effective chorus part caught my attention somewhat indelibly once again. The song ends beautifully to an acoustic guitar part, leaving a listener to a state of? ?something (!)?.
The nylon string acoustic guitar has got the main ? and the only role here. It?s kind of a prelude to the last song, but also works out perfectly on its own. It?s as meager structurally as the song title suggests? ?Karu? is a Finnish word and means ?meager? in English. Yes, an extremely plain and extremely simple song in its own boldness?
End of the Road
?End of the Road? could be said to be a perfect choice to end the album. It starts off an acoustic guitar part where Ville?s vocals join to immediately right after the first chords of the acoustic guitar has been churned out. After reaching 1-or-so-minute mark, the whole song burst out toward heavier yet a little bit more epic-like moments in which a listener gets a chance to hear more of this children choir (that was already present in a couple of other songs on the album), lots of instrumental parts that have been spiced with some synth background here and there. There?s a lot of variation in this song structure-wise, some guitar lines reminding me of something that could be found from some Maiden/Kingston Wall albums and it?s relatively easy to say ?End of the Road? earned rightfully its place in my mind as well as one of the most memorable and richest songs on this new Sentenced record.
This last song also happened to be one of the very favorite songs of the band?s drummer, Vesa Ranta, at that moment when he was playing the songs off the album for me. All in all, a well thought-out ending track for the whole album.
The FUNERAL STATEMENT from the Sentenced-camp:
“We?d better put this out in the open before you hear it somewhere else.
The title of the new album is ?The Funeral Album?, and with it we, SENTENCED, are coming to the end of our road. This album will be our last one.
The decision is mutual, thoroughly thought over and final.
Metaphorically speaking, this is a mass suicide of 5, and the new album is the kind of note we want to leave behind. One last time around for good-byes.
The decision was made during 2004. The reasons are many, and I don?t feel any need to go into details here. I will say however, that everyone will walk away as friends. In my eyes we are even not splitting up, but ending our recording career together. And there is major difference between those two. Our wish was always to go out with style and at the peak of our so called success. I think with ?The Funeral Album? we will do exactly that.
Once the album is released, there will be an undefined number of farewell shows. When, where and how many, those are questions that at this point remain open. Intense and long touring, however, will unfortunately not follow, and most of these shows will take place on festivals where we can reach as much people as possible at one time. At the moment it seems that all of these funeral shows will be in Europe.
If everything goes as planned, we will also make a live-DVD out of those last shows and include a lot of stuff from the past on it. Not to mention all the music-videos we have done during the years. The working title for the DVD is ?Buried Alive?.
After that SENTENCED is no more.
And: THIS IS IT. There will not be a re-union, come-back, or any other pathetic and soap-operish circus that seems to be in fashion these days. SENTENCED will rest in peace.
We will make the most out of the band?s last year, and hope you will all join us.
See you on the last run.
/Lopakka & SENTENCED”