Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Sentenced - Crimson (2000)

I absolutely LOATHED Crimson when it first dropped, I thought the band had pushed a little too far into the radio zone and neutered down even some of the elements that made Down and Frozen worth hearing, but in retrospect I might have overreaction just a smidgeon. Don't get me wrong, I still think this is by far the worst Sentenced album, and there isn't a single song here I ever feel any impulse to listen through, but I no longer feel the urge to throw it out the nearest window or onto a busy street where it will be ground up by tires into its trace elements. At the very best, the material here seems like it's a bunch of scraps left over from the previous, superior works, and then made a bit moodier due to the slightly darker vocals and duller riff selection.

I mean, if there's a Sentenced album that was written at the bottom of a bottle, this should be it? I don't think the style itself differs at all from what they'd been doing in the years leading to it, but every time I am expecting a catchier vocal hook or a tasteful, memorable little lick, I just get underwhelmed at the choices. It's a little more bluesy, and Ville is smoothing out his cleaner tones against the grain of his harsh vocal style, there is no doubt, but even where they try to pick up into something worthwhile like in "No More Beating As One", they can never quite stick the chorus landing. At best, you could take a handful of the stronger tunes like "Killing Me Killing You", "My Slowing Heart", or "With Bitterness and Joy" and make passable B-sides of them for a tune off Frozen. There's also just too much softness going on here, too many parts where they go for the cleaner, banal guitars that don't even have the stronger glinting riffs like they did in the past. 

Nothing here reeks of anything resembling creativity, it's just more of the same, just meant to help open the audience up a little more, but doesn't attempt to do so with the necessary good songs. But where I used to think it was offensively boring, these days I've warmed up to the point where I consider it simply 'weak', the album in their catalog I'm guaranteed to avoid, with not a single track making it onto any career playlist. That said, if you and your girlfriend picked me up and had this blaring out of the stereo on our way to some destination, I wouldn't strangle you from the backseat. We'd all make it safely to the party...because Crimson is safe, uninspired, and unremarkable in every way.

Verdict: Fail [4.5/10]

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