Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Review: Sentenced - The Cold White Light (2002)

Sentenced [ Website ]
The Cold White Light
Century Media

Beginning life as a Death Metal outfit, Sentenced ventured into the risky world of experimentation (much like fellow countrymen Amorphis) and released two good "classic" metal albums in Amok and Down. Continuing on that road, they adopted a more Goth-rock sound on subsequent releases, finally bringing us to The Cold White Light - probably their most accessible album to date. While maintaining an overall somber mood and atmosphere that departs very little from their previous two releases, The Cold White Light is nonetheless quite varied in the delivery of Sentenced's trademark bleak emotions.

"Excuse Me While I Kill Myself", "Neverlasting", and "Blood & Tears" are all similar in tempo and style: solid rockers with catchy choruses and memorable hooks built on Sami Kukkohovi's bass driving the mood home. The melodies come across as upbeat, with the growling bass giving just a hint of a sinister undertone, even as the songs dwell on the dark subject matter of death , hopelessness and suicide. "You Are The One" stands apart from the rest of the album as it is a song of hope, and in fact is a love song that is written quite well. The catchy hooks and, on occasion, crushing groove make this a highlight of the album. "Guilt And Regret" is an attempt at a dark power ballad, but unfortunately comes off as cheese. Ville Laihiala's voice is, on a majority of the album, a good fit for the depressed atmosphere created by the music. His vocal melodies are strong, and make up a big portion of the success of the album, but here it seems forced and out of place. Wrapping up the disc is "No One There", a very powerful tune that envelops you in a feeling of despair from start to finish. The keyboards lend just the right amount of atmosphere here, helping draw you in and making this my favorite track on the album - though I could do without the death-cries of loons blasting from my headphones.

Fans of Sentenced will know what to expect from The Cold White Light, as no new direction is taken on this release. In fact, some may be disappointed by that fact though I think this is a solid work of rock. For those not familiar with the band, this album will not disappoint if you're partial to atmospheric Goth/Doom/Rock that is dark and melodic.

Track Listing
1Konevitsan Kirkonkellot1:40
2Cross My Heart And Hope To Die4:06
3Brief Is The Light4:23
5Aika Multaa Muistot [Everything Is Nothing]4:33
6Excuse Me While I Kill Myself3:48
7Blood & Tears4:15
8You Are The One4:29
9Guilt And Regret3:44
10The Luxury Of A Grave4:43
11No One There6:14

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Friday, February 21, 2003

Review: Ghetto Puppet - Songs From the Floor (2002)

Ghetto Puppet [ MySpace ]
Songs From the Floor

Ghetto Puppet are a hard rockin' band that successfully channel the blue collar work ethic and emotions of their roots into kick ass groovy rock. All four are Detroit area natives and have been involved in the local music scene in some capacity (frontwoman Carolyn Stone is a weekend jock on Detroit's number one rock radio station) for more than 10 years.

Their indie debut, Songs From The Floor, packs a solid punch in ten tracks of catchy hooks. "Jump Down" sets the mood with a catchy groove and memorable riff while Carolyn delivers her lines with a gritty aggressiveness reminiscent of a pissed off Pat Benatar. The next song, "Last Man Standing", is my favorite track on Songs From The Floor and comes driving at you with a great riff and Carolyn's most powerful vocal performance of the album. She displays both a great range of vocal style as well as incredible emotional variety. Truly a showcase of the band's talents. Ghetto Puppet display their versatility by slowing things down a bit on "Let It Die" and "Regret (Star Baby)", though neither of these let up on the aggressiveness and grit that are at the root of the bands style. Songs From The Floor is a well-produced, well-arranged album that never disappoints and lives up to the Detroit rock tradition.

Overall the musicianship is superb, the band's collective experience showing clearly through Mike Jones' solid axework and Jerry Quil's powerful bass lines driving the songs home. Carolyn's singing is eclipsed only by her energy on stage. If you ever get an opportunity to see Ghetto Puppet live, get your ass to the show and be prepared for one kick ass display of rock 'n roll, Detroit style.

Track Listing
1 Jump Down
2 Last Man Standing
3 More
4 Let It Die
5 Regret (Star Baby)
6 Run For Cover
7 Bleed
8 Mud On Boots
9 Dead Horse
10 Go

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