Originally written by Ty Brookman
I think it’s just amazing how when you hear a band for the very first time and you form an opinion of that band, then you go read various bios on them later on which as a result changes your original opinion. Such was the case during my first encounter with Finland’s Sentenced. When I first threw The Cold White Light in my player I was thrown off a little bit by the vocals. The thing that threw me off initially was the Finnish accent. This can be in no way blamed on the singer himself; he had no control over where he was born, and I’ve always thought accents were kind of cool, just not in clean singing (Keep in mind I have an Americanized English accent). However, it didn’t take long before I was able to overlook the accent and move on to the music and see whether or not that accented clean voice fit the music. After I went and checked out a couple of bios on Sentenced I found out that they used to have a death metal vocalist. Later they took that big step into the “we are using clean vocals now” world of metal that to me has always been a suicidal choice. Christ, Chuck Billy of Testament went the complete opposite way by exploring more of a lethally deathish route after singing clean for so many years. So what’s this big fascination about adding clean vocals to an already welcome death sound, or in this case going clean all together. I don’t really have the answers myself, but I’d definitely like the record to show that it pisses me off!!! (Let the record also show that Soilwork really gets my blood boiling when it comes to the Death-to-Cheeze transition.) Anyway, I really can’t complain too much about Sentenced making the transition because I wasn’t a fan back when they played death metal. Like I said, this is my first encounter and I’m basing my dissection on what I hear on this album and this album only; therefore, I won’t be able to give any longtime Sentenced fans any comparisons to previous albums. Does this make me unqualified to do this review? Who cares?!?!? So what do I hear when I look past the vocals, which are definitely the focal point of the album? I hear commercialized songs that are very basic and contain catchiness that is off the scale. In the past I’ve put down “catchiness” and at other times I’ve defended it. I’ve also had to look at albums from two different perspectives at one time or another. If I were to look at this album from a diehard death metaller view where “everything needs to be fast, chaotic and make no goddam sense to the untrained ear”, then I would dislike this album very much. If I looked at it from the “I listen to rock radio all the time and like everything I hear on it everyday”, then I’m probably a huge fan of this record. Well people, I’ve tried to look at this one from both sides and I just can’t do it. Number 1) after hearing Emperor everything makes sense, 2) I don’t listen to the radio, ever, so I don’t know what’s on there or if this album fits in or not. What I do know is that if this album had come out in the mid to late 80’s these guys would be millionaires (hell maybe they are already…oops, never thought of that). This music is so glammy that half the time it reminds me of some of the American hair bands from that era. At times I hear a touch of the softer side of In Flames and Dark Tranquility when it comes to the music, at other times I hear Load era Metallica (I never thought I’d mention them or that album in one of my reviews) and at other times I’ve even heard a bit of a U2 influence. They mix it up well and because the music is so listener friendly the vocals do actually fit in well on this release. I read a quote from Jesper of In Flames stating “Sentenced is the best band, ever”. Alright Jesper, you get your buddy Anders over there on the mic and then we’ll talk. Until then, I don’t think so. So in the end where do I stand on this record? Well, to me it’s pretty average. I can see it getting some playing time in my player, but I could also see it fading out fairly quickly (kind of like all those hair bands). But for all you Sentenced fans out there, you’re probably gonna love this disc. The songs are very sing along friendly and the lyrics although very cheez-o-matic are easy to remember simply because we’ve heard many of these one-liners sung for years and years. This disc is definitely going in my CD jacket because I just can’t find a good spot in my CD rack. No matter how hard I try I just can’t squeeze it in between my Emperor and Immortal discs. Even if I could it just wouldn’t seem proper.