Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Sentenced - Buried Alive (2006)

What a way to release your first proper live album...recorded right at the close of your career, released posthumously, and absolutely packed with content: two discs, 110 minutes of letting the audience have mourn along with the inevitable. Now, I'd seen Sentenced before this, but it was at a festival, I believe their set was cut short, the sound wasn't very good, and I can tell you that I would have MUCH rather seen this performance, a worthwhile farewell from a band that was fucking ace throughout most of its active years. What's more, Buried Alive is sort of a retrospective of their career, they play some of the old metal stuff in addition to the Gothic/heavy metal phase, so this was really meant as a celebration of all that they had accomplished, and a welcome one.

It's kind of obvious when they tear out "Where Waters Fall Frozen" so early in the set, their little throwback death metal vignette, but that one's from The Funeral Album, they actually tear through a little Taneli Jarva set on the second disc with an amazing performance of "Northern Lights" off North From Here, "The War Ain't Over!", "Nepenthe" and "Dance on the Graves (Lil' Siztah)" from Amok, and "The Way I Wanna Go" from the Love & Death EP. Amazing INSTRUMENTALLY, I meant, because I don't think the guy's vocals are that great sounding in the mix, maybe in a few spots, but he sounds like he's all over the place. If I'm being honest, Ville also sounds weak on some of my favorite of his tenure with the band, like "Noose" and "The Suicider". Maybe everyone was just too drunk that night? For the most part, the instruments do sound great, some of the more rock-oriented songs don't pack that much of a punch, but this could also be that the sound board is isolating the audience a little much and honing in on the wrong thing...I would have loved for the instruments to be louder next to both vocalists.

So, while Buried Alive is a substantial offering, it does suffer from those few problems, not enough that it should be a deal breaker for loyal fans who finally wanted a live album, but just be prepared for a little cringe here or there from the goofier execution of the vocals, where you might have wanted them a bit closer to studio and more emotional effective. I don't think it's one I'd really revisit much when I have those more polished recordings available to me, but I do think its classy that they waited so long to put out a giant live product rather than fleecing the fans every couple years. The stars were aligned...it was the END of the band, they were playing to a home audience in Oulu, the instruments sounded pretty good (especially on the death metal tunes)...if only the vocals were better. Alas.

Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]

No comments: