Dec 142010

We’ve learned a thing or two about Finnish metal in the course of writing this series. For example, we learned about two home-grown bands who were especially influential in the progression of metal in Finland, even though they are no longer active: Sentenced and Stone. Those are two of the bands we’re focusing on today. (In other words, it’s time for all Finnish metal nerds to geek out.) The third is a somewhat more recent player in the scene that your NCS co-authors really, really like: Omnium Gatherum. (We are not geeks — at least not all the time.)


Sentenced released their debut album in 1991. In the decade and a half, or thereabouts, that followed, the band produced seven more albums before announcing in 2005 that The Funeral Album would be their last. They played their final show on October 1, 2005, in Oulu, and the concert was filmed and later released on DVD under the title Buried Alive.

Guitarist and founding member Miika Tenkula died less than three years later, his premature death brought on by a congenital heart condition. The surviving members of Sentenced have continued their careers in other bands, including Poisonblack, KYPCK, and The Man-Eating Tree.

Particularly in their earlier years, Sentenced played an important role in the creation of melodic death metal, paving the way for bands like Children of Bodom by conjoining death-metal aggression with irresistible melodic (and often melancholy) passages. And yet, many people would say (and have said) that their 1995 album Amok is the band’s crowning achievement, and it’s debatable whether “melodic death metal” is a fitting label for it.

(more after the jump . . .)

It certainly became more ill-fitting as time passed and the band increasingly turned to goth-rock and doom following the replacement, on vocals, of Taneli Jarva by Ville Laihiala (now the front dude of Poisonblack). You can’t say that Sentenced stood still, musically. Some fans stood with them all the way through the changes; many new listeners became fans.

We, on the other hand, prefer the old, harder edged music (see the name of this site). Here’s a video for a track called “Nepenthe” from Amok:

And here’s the video for a track called “Noose” from the album Down (1996), which followed Amok:

For our last song from Sentenced, we jump ahead six years to this track — “No One There” from The Cold White Light (2002). It’s not our standard fare, but we have to admit, it’s a good song:


Stone came together in the mid-80’s in a town called Kerava. Between then and their disbanding in 1991, they produced four studio albums. To be brutally honest, we’d never heard of them before reading the comments on our invitation for suggestions for this Finland Tribute Week. Since then, we’ve done a bit of research, and it seems this band had an impact on the evolution of Finnish metal that perhaps outlives their name.

For example, Children of Bodom‘s Alexi Laiho has given significant credit to Stone’s guitarist Roope Latvala as an influence on his own playing. Latvala, as it happens, is a member of COB.

From our reading, it seems clear that Stone was a big deal in Finland in the late 80s and early 90s, playing a home-grown version of speed-metal and thrash that lit a napalm fire under fans and lots of aspiring musicians. We haven’t listened to much of Stone’s music, but this song seems to have been one of their more popular numbers. It’s called “Get Stoned” — and it rocks very hard.

Stone: Get Stoned


We only tumbled to this unusual melodic death-metal band about three years ago. We were late, as usual. They’ve been around since 1996, though their debut album didn’t wriggle through the birth canal until 2003 (Spirits and August Light), following four demo’s. They signed to Nuclear Blast the next year and released Years In Waste (which could be the title of my autobiography). Following a change in vocalist, the band signed to Candlelight and released the third album, Stuck Here On Snake’s Way (which could be the subtitle to my autobiography).

Dan Swanö (who can do very little wrong) mixed and mastered the fourth album, The Redshift, and said this about the music: “I hate bands like Omnium Gatherum, they are so good it pisses me off!!! Their fine blend of melody and aggression is so good I actually thought about stealing the record and releasing it as my own 🙂 You won’t find a better album in years.”

Where is the fifth album? Well, it’s gestating. It will be born soon. Dan Swanö will again be the midwife. The new offspring will be called New World Shadows, and it will be released on the following dates: Finland, Sweden, Hungary: February 9, 2011; Germany, Austria, Switzerland: February 4, 2011; the rest of Europe: February 7, 2011; North America: March 1, 2011.

Oh, and get this: Mr. Swanö (Nightingale, Star One, ex-Edge Of Sanity, ex-Bloodbath) will be providing some clean vocals, and Niilo Sevänen (Insomnium) will be doing some guest growling.

You may be exclaiming at your computer screen, “Quit yapping and tell us what the fucking music sounds like!” A very fair request. It sounds like this completely arresting song from The Redshift:

Omnium Gatherum: Chameleon Skin

It also sounds like the music in this video (also from The Redshift):

Would you like to see what the album cover will look like for the forthcoming new release? Okay. Here:


  1. I’m dying for that new OG album! Just two more months to go 🙂

    • You Europeans will get the official release almost a month before those of us in the New World (putting aside, of course, the fact that the thing will be up on a hundred torrent sites before the sun sets on the date when it’s released in Finland).

  2. I have Sentenced’s Amok on cassette from when it came out 🙂 It was definately different from the norm back then.

    • You’re definitely way ahead of me. If not for this tribute series, I never would have known who they were, though I can try to imagine what this music would have sounded like for the first time circa 1995.

  3. I still hold that “The Cold White Light” and “The Funeral Album” are the best of Sentenced. The song-writing was just so… perfect.

    My only problem with Omnium Gatherum (who I do like, particularly for their odd use of keyboards and their 80s inspired riffs) is that their singer is clearly a weak link. He grounds much of their more soaring material with a rather weak grunt and little range. I’ve been lucky enough to open for them before now though, and he’s a good front-man. Which makes it all the more galling.

    • The first time I heard OG on CD, I was jarred by the vocals — such a contrast between that throaty sound and the awesome instrumentals (particularly the soaring lead guitar). But the contrast grew on me with time. Still, I can understand your misgivings. Cool that you opened for them. I’ve never seen them live, and hope they’ll pass thru the US in support of this next album.

  4. Love me some (all!) Sentenced; another of my favorite bands! Goddamn, that guitar in “Nepenthe” is catchy as hell! Also, don’t know if maybe they’ve been mentioned in a different post, but another of Taneli Jarva’s bands The Black League are pretty cool in my book, kinda continuing the Amok-era Sentenced sound (a lot of which was due to Taneli’s vocals anyway…).

    KYPCK are pretty damn good too; don’t see very many Finnish doom metal bands singing entirely in Russian… And they have a new album coming out in February 2011! Also, check out one of the guys’ machine-gun guitar! 😀

    I’ll definitely have to check out more Stone!

    Omnium Gatherum are pretty cool too, but for some strange reason I always seem to mix them up with Mors Principium Est…!

  5. I read about The Black League when I was doing some research for this post, but haven’t listened to them yet. KYPCK was mentioned in an early comment on this series, and that’s another band I haven’t caught up with yet. And it’s weird, but I guess understandable given the Latin names, that I also mix OG up with Mors Principium Est (who I also like a lot).

  6. By the way, if you like Omnium Gatherum, you should check out Elenium:

    Don’t have time to look up the details, but they share singer or something. Style is quite comparable. That’s to say: fuckin’ kick-ass as well.

    • I listened to that “Caught In A Wheel” song on your site and liked it. And yep — Jukka Pelkonen is the vocalist for both bands. Elenium’s guitarist Lauri Koskenniemi used to be in Imperanon — which split up. Imperanon’s vocalist Aleksi Sihvonen is now in Norther and Medicated, its guitarist Teemu Mäntysaari is now in WIntersun, and its keyboard man Aleksi Virta is now in Finntroll. All of which is to say that Imperanon is another band whose music I’d like to check out.

      Can’t tell if Elenium is still active — no Facebook posts or MySpace blog entries since about Sept 2009 and no new music since 2007.

      • Dunno either. Just discovered them a while ago by chance or something. Or perhaps a visitor pointed me towards them. Can’t even remember. I just remembered them this morning though, when I saw this post.

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