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Sentenced - Frozen

1998 Century Media Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-08

In 1996 Sentenced released Down, heralded worldwide as their finest work to date. Down was the end result of creative forces culled from opposite ends of the universe which managed to merge into one of the finest metal releases of the year. All eyes (and ears) were then directed towards the impending follow-up. Knowing some of the history of Sentenced, it is safe to expect another massive evolutionary leap in sound and direction (witness North from here to Amok, Amok to Down). The only evil portent was the lack of the "transitional" E.P . that would give some inkling as to their future direction. Lo and behold, Frozen was unleashed to the waiting masses. An apt title, we find Sentenced again breaking their trends, only the irony here is that they have done this by transforming change to consistency. On this opus, Sentenced seem more focused, grounded. The roots that were set on Down are deeper here, the themes revisited. Suicide, the dark side of love, despair, all similar paradigms for lyrical form which encompass and overwhelm the listener. Not nearly as majestic as Down, nor as gritty as Amok, Frozen glides you effortlessly through hints of light jazz, heavy riffs, and Ville Laihiala's gentle Hetfield croon which is the siren song for a ride across the river Styx. Appropriate use of female vocals again, which adds rather than suffocates the song. Interestingly enough, it's on the instrumental tracks where the overall feel of the album is raised. The opening song is probably the most dynamic on the album, which unfortunately means that the segway to track 2 seems forced. The end result is another masterwork which may only be given a notch down from the 10 it probably deserves due to the reason that I feel as though I've heard most of this before, and it it just one hell of a depressive, of which I find enough in everyday life. I'll give it this, though, once it's on, it's played all the way through to the end.