Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sentenced - Crimson

There’s something intensely cathartic about the despair present on any of Sentenced’s post-North From Here records. Despite the more straightforward, even at times rock-oriented structures, the various elements of the Northernmost Killers’ later music seems to elevate into something greater than the sum of its parts, enveloping you in a very moody experience no matter the album.

They’re also amazingly catchy, but they do it without pandering to the lowest common denominator; rather than structure their music around hooks, they work them into the gloomy compositions that already work extraordinarily well.

The type of gloom predominant on Crimson is that of broken relationships, most notably on the excellent Killing Me Killing You, which features that characteristic blend of melancholy and memorable melody. And of course, despite the fair share of troubles Ville is singing about, these boys always did know how to rock hard: fan favourite Broken is bound to get any fan of traditional metal at least nodding along. Dark Tranquillity covered Broken with a more polished production job and more diverse vocals (Stanne using both his clean and harsh styles), yet that cover doesn’t touch this original, and sirs and madams, I love me some Dark Tranquillity, so that’s not a bash. There’s a certain atmosphere that Sentenced creates in their music, despairing but never plodding, that I can’t get enough of.

I did mention production, though, and I do have my gripes with this album’s mixing. It’s nothing major, and I can live with it, but sometimes the vocals feel buried, the guitars feel a touch too loud…The Cold White Light has what I would consider the ideal production job for later Sentenced, so they weren’t too far off on this release.

But if that’s the worst issue I can think of off the top of my head, we’re in business. Recommended to both rock and metal fans.

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