Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Review: Sentenced - The Funeral Album (2005)

Sentenced [ Website ]
The Funeral Album
Century Media

And so ends the career of another heavy metal outfit. The Funeral Album marks the end of Sentenced, whose members chose to terminate the band at their self-proclaimed career high point. In the face of all the "no really, this is the final reunion tour" hype that permeates the rock world these days, the Finns have vowed to never again reunite under the Sentenced moniker and will only tour for the upcoming year. As a potentially landmark album, The Funeral Album was high on my must-have list and when it finally arrived, well, I was disappointed. The disc can essentially be summed up as picking up where The Cold White Light left off. The melodies, rhythms, and moods depart very little from those delivered on Sentenced's previous release. I'm not saying that the band's final album is a bad release, only that it lacks anything that sets it apart as such. Fans of the band will most certainly enjoy this disc, and most likely genre fans will as well. Perhaps credit should be given to the band members for knowing when their creativity had been exhausted and calling it a day rather than continuing to release average albums.

As mediocre as it is, The Funeral Album does contain a series of high points that are memorable and worthy of mention. While most of the 13 tracks tend to blend together, the 56-second "Where Waters Fall Frozen" is the first departure from the standard fare. Simply a short instrumental, the track is a vicious nod to the band's early death metal days and serves to remind us of their roots. "Consider Us Dead", one of several tracks alluding to Sentenced's dismemberment, is actually one of the better songs on the disc. The overall mood and musical style is the same as most others, but there is just a little more catchiness to the riffs that make it stick well after the last note. The final track, "End Of The Road", is by far the best song on the album and is an excellent choice to be the song the band leaves us with. The toll of the funeral bell is a classy touch, underlying the driving riffs, melancholic leads, and haunting keyboards. Frontman Ville Laihiala sings a little softer, easing up on his trademark grit, and the accompanying choir adds an air of mysticism. As on just about every track, the extended solo is excellent.

Being the final album of one of my favorite bands, I had perhaps too high an expectation of The Funeral Album and was duly disappointed. Taken only as just another Sentenced album, however, this release is a worthy addition to any fan's collection.

Track Listing
1May Today Become The Day4:00
3We Are But Falling Leaves4:28
4Her Last 5 Minutes5:40
5Where Waters Fall Frozen0:56
6Despair-Ridden Hearts3:41
7Vengeance Is Mine4:15
8A Long Way To Nowhere3:27
9Consider Us Dead4:51
10Lower The Flags3:34
11Drain Me4:34
13End Of The Road5:00

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