Ok the fun stops here. I’m all game for experimental albums but this Pop flavoured Gothic Rock sound has reached its tolerability with this reviewer, this is not the SENTENCED I’m familiar with. This band once played fast MAIDEN like Technical Death Metal and still call themselves “The Northernmost Killers”. It’s ok to use that tag again on the latest album “The Cold White Light” but this album just doesn’t deserve it, what the hell went wrong here?
The band’s sixth full-length album is a very experimental outing. The use of several mysterious guitar sounds, weird arrangements and (oh I hate to say this) Pop Rock choruses doesn’t melt well together. A band will have to come out of its shell sooner or later if the band members want to keep themselves excited about being active musicians; I appreciate the need for changes in their sound but not this, anything but this.
The Gothic Metal sound of “Down” and “Frozen” is pushed behind in favour for a more Mainstream and Pop flavoured Rock sound, I’m sad to say that our beloved so-called “Northernmost Killers” released an album that was too simple and didn’t live up to their usual standards no matter how hard I force myself into liking it.
I don’t know what happened, most of the songs don’t have much to offer consisting mainly of primitive rocking riffs, few solos, boring melodies and too many refrains. A track like “Bleed In My Arms” (written by Ville Laihiala) is just plain uninteresting, there’s no will behind the lame riffing or Ville’s vocals. Same goes for “Home In Despair”, a lame Rock song struggling against everything this band stands for (or used to stand for anyway). The second Laihiala song credit “No More Beating As One” has the same ill-fated outcome: poppy, uninteresting.
Even guitar player Miika Tenkula, who has written many SENTENCED classics, seems to have a dry spell in his song writing; just listen to the song “The River”, no heavy guitars, just Hammond organs and clean guitars, all he has to show for is the Swedish sounding cracker “Broken”.
Sami Lopakka thankfully writes a couple of standout tracks like the powerful “Fragile” and the mystic rocker “Dead Moon Rising” where the experimental guitar sounds really give the song potential.
The use of keyboards has been reduced heavily, instead the band uses a piano in the ballad “Killing Me Killing You”; the opening vocal line goes something like “Baby have you see there is a snake in our paradise...”, very cute but come on guys. The album’s sound is very mature and professional but it doesn’t matter when most of the songs are queer and dull.
To experiment is to try new things out. The final result doesn’t have to be good but it’s a shame when it really goes wrong. I’ll say it again: I respect the band for trying out different ideas but man did they falter on this album. Thank god this album was just an experiment (or a mistake) and nothing more, fans of Mainstream Pop Rock with some Gothic atmospheres might want to give the album a try though. (Online February 22, 2004)