I wasn’t prepared for this, I thought “The Cold White Light” was a glorious return to form, if not the best of their gothic endeavours but apparently they chose to call it quits shortly after, unofficially, they’d do one more album and then stop! So, finally, the Northernmost Killers decided to twist the knife a little deeper than they usually tend to do when releasing their known brand of mourning Rock music. This is it folks, they are here to bid us farewell with the aptly titled swansong “The Funeral Album”.
You could go on for hours guessing on what the album would sound like, you probably missed the target as the band round off their impressive career in respectable fashion, by mixing the best qualities from previous albums into one final product. The classic SENTENCED sound; the dismaying atmosphere, rocking Metal guitars, acoustics, melodic solos and licks, clean guitar sounds, Ville’s grave’n’roll voice, remains intact with another upgrade in the song writing and song arranging department while also rummaging through some more old school sounds as well. Listen, the bells, it’s starting, let’s go and pay our respects to the bringers of sorrow and death.
“Dear fans, we have gathered here today to celebrate and mourn the passing of SENTENCED”.
The ceremony opens up with a pair of infectious rockers titled “May Today Become The Day” (watch out for that ridiculously catchy lead melody) and “Ever-Frost”, very good tracks that are more pumping than anything penned by Miika Tenkula in years. Please, take your place and be seated as we collectively start to recollect the history of SENTENCED and how they always veiled themselves in depression while enjoying two sentimental tracks in form of “We Are But Falling Leaves” and “Her Last 5 Minutes”.
“Where Waters Fall Frozen” grabs unto the extreme melodic antics out of “North From Here”, wish it was made longer than a measly length of fifty seconds, probably just a spontaneous exercise in the studio or something but cool nevertheless. Most of you know that I don’t support the “Crimson” album except for a few tracks on it. “Despair-Ridden Hearts” shows exactly how they should’ve done things on that nearly worthless album. It looked as if the track was going to be a bore but sudden outbursts of “Amok” era speeds and double bass tempos definitely liven up the whole track and makes it stand out with an uber catchy chorus. “Vengeance Is Mine”, basically, is a “fuck you” messaged Metal song, singer Ville Laihiala hates you too and the children choirs backing him up kicks it up a notch with a blackened humoristic layer, the band’s professional cynicism at work once again.
The funeral progresses nicely through various prayers and rituals while the northern catchiness of “Drain Me”, “Consider Us Dead” and “Lower The Flags” fills the room; again, the writing is formulaic SENTENCED material yet the song writing is more mature in general. A last and final grieving farewell comes through the closing “End Of The Road” where the choirs make another short appearance before Tenkula fires his last rounds of killer rock’n’sad solos.
Period. The End. “The Funeral Album” is a worthy coffin to be buried in, they’ve practically done what they could with their sound, fair enough, I’d rather see them go down now then going Power Metal. May they rest in peace. (Online September 19, 2005)