Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sentenced - The Funeral Album (2005)

I've talked about the color schemes on the different Sentenced albums and how I liked that as a sort of catalogue of the depressing emotions that their lyrics and music convey, so it's all too fitting that the swan song would be adorned in black. The Funeral Album seems to be a divisive one among fans, which I find confusing as it's clearly nowhere near as bad as Crimson, a stinker that many fans seem to let slide. If anything, this last album feels much peppier and more energized than the last handful before it, and though it's a far cry from their earlier years, they seem to bring back a degree of their metal elements, at least dialing that back to Down and Frozen, and I for one could appreciate that, even if it's not spitting out songs of the same memorable quality.

Again, by this time, a number of other Finnish and European Gothic metal bands had taken center stage, and the more metallic-borne Sentenced weren't quite so distinct, but this album definitely fits that sound which others like Charon or H.I.M. were bringing to the table. A lot of the riffs here do feel derivative of tracks that Sentenced had already written, and that's somewhat of a bummer, but there's simply enough zest here to ignore that, and even when they sling out a more balladic piece like "We Are But Falling Leaves", they still manage to thread in some tasty melodies. "Her Last 5 Minutes" feels like it has a little doom in there, and then they stun you with a minute-long death metal instrumental called "Where Waters Fall Frozen", as a paean to their earliest records. Where the fuck has that been all this time? Hell, while it's just a vignette, it makes me wish that after Down or Frozen they had gone back to this style entirely, getting the Goth out of their systems and rejoining the other Finnish death legends..

It's a teaser, and then they shift into "Despair-Ridden Hearts", one of the more bluesy and dull barroom rock tunes on the album, which does piss me off, you could imagine Five Finger Death Punch or some other shitty band doing this, complete with generic lead and no good payoff, but I can at least say that this is the one song on the album that weak...they pick right up with "Vengeance is Mine" and the very H.I.M.-like "Consider Us Dead", and a few others that are reasonable if not memorable. The Funeral Album's worst crime is that it's very uneven in quality...some songs feel like they could have been written for one of the earlier albums, scrapped for good reason until they wound up here. I'd hate to think that this was some of planned-out grand exit, because in that case it really doesn't deliver, and in fact I'd say it's the second worse of Sentenced's full-lengths, but it could have been much worse. As a 'farewell' (pun intended), it's just not epic enough.

Verdict: Indifference [6.25/10]

No comments: