Thursday, March 16, 2023

Sentenced - The Trooper EP (1994)

Apart from the obvious novelty of hearing Sentenced perform their more snarling, aggressive version of the Maiden classic, The Trooper EP is in a weird place, because it was released right between the band's major shift in styles from North From Here to Amok, and weirdly enough, the originals here actually create a bridge between them. You're still getting some of that fluid, weird, semi-technical death metal from the former, but its' embedding into melodic, rocking heavy metal riffs that would come with my favorite era of the band, the Taneli Jarva-led Amok. In fact, "Desert by Night" leans more heavily towards that, where "In Memoriam" definitely sounds like it could have been an outtake from North From Here, only with mildly cleaner production, but still very much in that pure Finnish death metal realm.

The last track, "Awaiting the Winter Frost", is actually taken from that album, and while it's a good song it really wasn't necessary on this release, so a little value is docked. And truthfully, I couldn't care less about "The Trooper" cover, I love Jarva's vocals here but they just sound kind of cluttered on this, whereas he goes broad and deeper for the amazing Amok. Don't get me wrong, they stay on the beat, but the backing vocals are flimsy and I don't know that the song gains all that much with just that added level of aggressive paint. The real attraction here are those two fresh songs, and since you can probably just nab this whole EP on a North From Here CD as bonus content, it doesn't stand up as an essential release. Still, you got that little peek of what was to come, and how amazing it might be, and boy was it...

Verdict: Indifference [5.5/10]

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