Everybody was eagerly awaiting the new album by SENTENCED, the first after the departure of singer and bassist Taneli Jarva, who had been the trademark of the Finns from far-north Oulu. With new frontman Ville Laihiala they have created a truly big album, in my opinion, which now, five years later, still ranks among my absolute favourites.
Ville has an equally melodious and slightly rough voice, which fits the melancholic/melodic sound of SENTENCED as if he had been born just to lend his voice to it. The already trademark-guitars of Miika Tenkula and Sami Lopakka (listen closely, they make SENTENCED one of the few bands you will recognise by their guitar-sound only) form the foundation on which in varying speeds small epics of melancholic Gothic Metal (or Dark Metal or whatever name you want to give this sound) are formed, which as a whole album hold me captive from the first sounds of the intro "The Gate" to the dying moments of "I'll Throw The First Rock".
Primae inter pares, i.e. first among equals, are "Shadowgrown", "Crumbling Down (Give Up Hope)", the brilliant "Sun Won't Shine" with its irresistible chorus, and "Warrior Of Life", but you could take each song as tip to check this album out. Oh, and three tracks see SAMAEL's Vorph as guest-vocalist...
For me the absolutely best album by SENTENCED and a masterpiece altogether!!