heavy metal

Sentenced Bio

Band members
Ville Laihiala - vocals Sami Lopakka - guitars Miika Tenkula - guitars Sami Kukkohovi - bass Vesa Ranta - drums


The multi-faceted face of depression is known by many. Situational yet inherited. Individualized yet universal. Brief yet unending. Within its matrix, you will be led to music by your need for expression, for the dismal joy of validation, and to seek the sound of ultimate resignation set to melody. Only in music can you afford to drown yourself in an exploration of death and chart the descent into the cartography of your own personal despair. Those who choose to guide you through the consciousness of misery must be highly skilled in resignation and pessimism. They must have a long-standing association with self-destruction. Eager to share their authentically haunted expertise is Finland's SENTENCED.

Any music born in a region close to the Arctic Circle that receives very little sunlight during the winter months and where temperatures fall ridiculously below freezing is a ripe breeding place for anthems of despair, self-doubt and suicide. SENTENCED is comprised of musicians whose dark cultural tapestry is at one with the misery they've come to morbidly enjoy. The latest discovery of what lurks in their genetic constitution is The Cold White Light, a collection of bittersweet testaments inviting you to attend a worldwide conference on depression set in the bleak December nights of Finland's harsh eternal winter.

As one of the forerunners of the European death metal scene in the early '90s, SENTENCED broke new ground, earning them a reputation as "The Northernmost Killers." By the time Amok was released worldwide in 1994, they delivered three consecutive albums that were completely different from their predecessors and led them to tour with the equally malleable Tiamat and Samael. While their charismatic first singer/bassist Taneli Jarva (who appeared on the band's first four efforts) retired from the band shortly thereafter, the addition of current front man Ville Laihiala (who debuted on Down) steered the band from Oulu into a melodic sound that is characteristic of them even today. In 1997, SENTENCED headlined their own Finnish tour and shared stages with The Gathering, My Dying Bride, and Therion, crowning their successful year with a performance for over 16,000 at The Dynamo Festival and playing for an even larger crowd at Wacken a year later, building the anticipation for their upcoming album.

Produced by Waldemar Sorychta (Grip Inc., Lacuna Coil, Tiamat), the band gained incredible momentum with 1998's Frozen. While many bands write songs about depression, SENTENCED have an innate and profound connection with this emotion that is so universally understood. So penetrating is the music and so truly emotional are the lyrics that every listener will be able to reach deep into themselves and identify a sadness they could not before face. Noting the progression from their earlier music to a fascination with everyday pain and suffering in their aggressive yet intrinsically mournful music, Metal Maniacs cited: "To explore the realm of SENTENCED is to walk hand-in-hand with a renegade band better known as the Northernmost Suiciders."

In their first attempt at self-producing (with the assistance of Theater Of Tragedy, Moonspell and HIM producer Hiili Hiilesmaa), the year 2000 witnessed the release of Crimson, an album with melodic themes of loss and the sorrow that accompanies it. In the midst of profuse praise, SENTENCED played to a North American audience for the first time at the New Jersey Metal Meltdown. Hit Parader Magazine hailed Crimson as "exciting, well-executed music, presented with a degree of skill and sincerity rarely exhibited in Scandinavian metal," and Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles recognized SENTENCED for creating "a depressive melodicization, anthemic aura for the suicidal masses…"

For the past two years, even more desperate bitterness has been brooding. The introverted strains of despair so comfortingly familiar to SENTENCED and Hiili Hiilesmaa have once again materialized as an expression of a bleak, hope-void implosion that is at once a gift and a burden. Beginning and ending with the cries of loons--a bird long associated with impending doom--the Suicide Kings dig deep into the blackened chaos of an ancient emotion with each song on The Cold White Light, exploring the inner-structure of resignation and the sacrifice of having to live another day despite the lure of the alternative. "Everything Is Nothing" is the futile lament of a mortal soul cursed with life; the guitar intro to "No One There" could very well be a modern-day version of a centuries-old melody in a Finnish funeral procession; and "Cross My Heart And Hope To Die" transforms the familiar childhood chant into a drive through your own life with you at the wheel, narrating your own regrets.

SENTENCED surround themselves with a complex musicality rich in the depth of brooding human emotion and readily exhibit their collective creativeness in their prolific representations of agony. If the first step to recognizing one's sadness is embracing one's despair, then SENTENCED will be the band to facilitate that important realization and assist many generations' attempts to stay one with their misery.

Click here to update bio