Before they changed to a “join the misery” kind of band they had a “join the madness” approach to their more extreme origins. On the back cover is says “northernmost…”, that about sums up SENTENCED´s technical pinnacle as you can actually feel the cold northern atmosphere on “North From Here”. The band’s Blackened and highly Melodic Death Metal was among the best in the early nineties, especially if you liked speed injected MAIDEN guitars and good and varied song writing, it was truly a time when they WERE “the northernmost killers”.
This is their most intense and brutal effort, no doubt whatsoever, the music however is closer to Melodic Death Metal with Black Metal touches. The songs aren’t just based around heavy riffs, the use of fast tremolo picking of melody adds a more classic Metal sound and the Technical Punk Rock shredding from Miika Tenkula just adds to the pleasure of listening to this album although I wouldn’t mind if the lead guitar had been given a clearer sound because it’s difficult to hear the notes sometimes.
The album’s creative force is the guitar work of Miika Tenkula and Sami Lopakka, the founders of the band. The execution of the duo is sharp, raw and “in your face”, “My Sky Is Darker Than Thine” has one of the best riffs ever to be written and the beginning of “Fields Of Blood, Harvester Of Hate” is another example of magnificent melodic riffing with fast tempo and plenty of variation.
As mentioned earlier, the album has this cold atmosphere, there’s just something about grisly vocals, the murky production, instrumentation (Punk inspired if anything) and, well, basically everything recorded, the song “Capture Of Fire” has a ominous ending where someone continuously shouts “KILL KILL KILL!!!” and… oh I don’t want to spoil everything here, but it sure was scary back when I was a younger kid and believed in everything I was told haha!
Taneli Jarva (now raising hell with THE BLACK LEAGUE!!!) delivers a very charismatic performance and also handles the bass. He puts on many fearsome Black Metal screams that fit well into this “northernmost” concept the band worked with, but there are some rather silly parts where he sounds like a pumped up general ready for war or something. Vesa Ranta plays his drums with such hatefulness it’s difficult to follow him at times but I also feel he’s made one or more improvisations in the dying seconds when recording (then again, I might be wrong and he was clearly ahead of his time), it’s technical alright but also Punk inspired at times. The sound is good, considering the album was released in the early nineties, but it could have been better.
This is an album that mixes the best of Melodic Black/Death Metal with a very dark atmosphere, highly recommendable fans of Extreme Metal. That being said and done I’ll leave you with a timeless lyric from Mr. Jarva:
“Our northernmost hearts… don’t belong to this world”. (Online January 8, 2005)