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Review of the Album "North From Here" by Finnish Heavy Metal Band Sentenced

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


What is the Musical Style of the Album North From Here?

Finnish band Sentenced started out their career as a death metal band as Taneli Jarva had these high pitched vocals on the band’s debut Shadows of the Past. Their 1993 album titled “North From Here” is in a sort of different style resembling black metal. This black metal style is mixed with vocals that are raspier. Think of the vocals on this album as a combination between Mika Tonning and O.J. Mustonen.

How Does the Album North From Here Begin?

On the first song called My Sky is Darker Than Thine, I notice some power metal style riffing that Blind Guardian would use just five years later in their album Nightfall in Middle Earth. There is also a distinct feel of Catamenia style riffing as Taneli Jarva relies on his incessant low growls. In this time period, this kind of low growling was pretty common in the black metal and death metal genre. However, also there is a sense that this album does not quite measure up musically to the band’s later works especially Down in 1996. You would think that with an album title like Down, that would signify that Sentenced was declining musically. In fact, they got better as their career progressed. Wings is a song that sees Sentenced explore more as this sounds like an experimental symphonic doom metal song. You might notice upon listening to this first song My Sky is Darker Than Thine that the vocals are very similar to that of Jari Hurskainen the former lead vocalist for the band Gandalf.

The Songs Capture of Fire and Awaiting the Winter Frost

Capture of Fire though is a song that lyrically is a departure from the usual themes in this album. Fire is described as the greatest force in the land and it has the greatest amount of wisdom. The early hunters and gatherers would use fire for heating purposes. Awaiting the Winter Frost is a black metal song that is about a group of swordsmen and warriors with crossbows that were gathered to fight for their cause in the cold, dark, winds of the North where the sun did not shine for centuries. Was there a calm before the storm? Were these warriors just waiting for the winter frost?

Final Thoughts About the Album North From Here

Beyond the Wall of Sleep is a song that is actually about what might happen if humans were able to master the art of dreams and sleep. They might hold the key to living in an entirely different world. Some people are able to lucid dream at night. In these kinds of dreams the person in the dream is able to control the dream and dream about whatever they want. Dreams tell us what is going on in our daily lives through symbols. The album ends with the song called Epic. It is about a man that flees back to a time where he felt that life was true. He meets his ancestors and finds their wisdom on a trail. He has a fascination and attraction to the night and in addition he feels as if he was born in the wrong century. Overall, "North From Here" is a decent death metal and black metal release from a band that would shift to a more Gothic rock style later in the 1990’s. The strongest songs in this album include the last three songs and Capture of Fire.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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© 2018 Ara Vahanian

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