A perfect score and nothing less!!! “Amok” has been hailed as a classic in the Death Metal genre, even hailed as the best SENTENCED album ever. Ok, this is going to be an all-positive review because this is the ultimate Death’n’Roll album in my book. ENTOMBED hold a pair of Death Rock classics (“Wolverine Blues” and “To Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth”) but SENTENCED’s “Amok” is way better (shout sacrilege if you want hehe) and the single reference if you want a mixed experience of Metallic heaviness and Rock’N’Roll attitude!!!
There’s a slight change of sound, the band simply decided to add some Rock influences and loose the Black Metal atmosphere they had on “North From Here” which resulted in a very strong, raw and melodic sound called Death’n’Roll. There are also changes in Taneli’s voice beyond the harsh shouts that are mixed with the traditional blackish screams.
”Amok” has some fine hard-hitting songs like the opener ”The War Ain’t Over”, ”Nepenthe” (“So drink to forget...” ahhhh smell the nostalgia oozing from my body) and ”Forever Lost” where the band is at their best form. ”New Age Messiah” sounds very Swedish with those perfect lead harmonies, a timeless classic. ”Funeral Spring” is a laid-back death hymn with some nice fucked up wah wah basses and a dreary atmosphere.
The only song that points backwards to the ”North From Here” album is ”Moon Magic” with its sorrowful and dark atmosphere and gothic keyboards in the middle. At the end of the album we get a great instrumental in form of “The Golden Stream Of Lapland”; time stands still when I hear the gentle waterfall and clean guitars, really melts my feelings from within but once the massive solos from the brilliant Miika Tenkula take over I’m back to my normal Metal self. Talking about Tenkula, the lead guitar is a vital part of “Amok” and the bands sound in general, there’s always a melody or a tiny solo lick to make it more enjoyable.
There are some female vocals used on a couple of occasions, on “Forever Lost” they seem to be more involved and well placed. Keyboards are used in some places in addition to the rocky riffs and the overall atmosphere; just like the female vocals, the keys have more room here and there but never overshadow heaviness.
Looking at the previous albums (”North From Here” and “Shadows Of The Past”) and comparing them to ”Amok”, I think that it’s less technical and lighter but still better and more fun. Looking at the albums that came after this one, well, it just goes to show that things changed when Taneli left and they got Ville Laihiala to sing those trademark Gothic Rock songs.
If this album is missing in your so-called “great” Death Metal collection you really should get off your butt and get it, you’ll thank me later. (Online June 1, 2004)