Sentenced The Cold White Light

An eerie loon call sets the funereal mood of The Cold White Light, Sentenced's latest album of dark, heavy and incredibly catchy rock. In line with the increasing success they've had since 1996's Down - introducing a new vocalist and direction - Sentenced's latest release debuted at number one in their Finnish homeland. Unfortunately there's little chance they'll see the same success in North America, and that's a shame. They may be a little preoccupied with death, but Sentenced know how to rock. Labelled the "suicide kings" for their lyrics about loss and despair, these guys sound pretty unhappy, but vocalist Ville Laihiala says it's totally the opposite. "We're not that depressed. We write about negative stuff to escape negativity." Laihiala also claims Sentenced's music holds a lot of sarcasm and black humour, "We like to laugh at ourselves now and then." With songs like "Excuse Me While I Kill Myself" and occasional lyrics credited to "the serial self-killer," the band have earned their nickname, but while Laihiala admits their reputation is deserved, he likes to think Sentenced is more than just a suicide band. "If you look at the lyrics closely, we're writing more about life than death; our way of looking at life. We just want to express ourselves through our music in an honest way." The first single, "No One There," brings the album to a slow, sad close. The humour and sarcasm Laihiala mentions are also there, musically and lyrically, just check out the upbeat, all-out rock song that reads like a suicide declaration. Misery drives the high-energy tracks and fuels the power ballads, but here and there the light shines through. Still following the same path as Frozen and Crimson, Sentenced's latest release sounds more alive, and the band plans to bring that momentum to North America in September, but until then, The Cold White Light should keep your yearnings for suicide rock satisfied. (Century Media)