Music I Love: “Crimson”, Sentenced (2000)

Sentenced are a genre-defining band in many ways; hailing from Finland, their career has been marked by music of an intense, dark and depressing nature. Beginning as a melodic death metal band, their seminal album Down (1996) saw a departure from the guttural vocals, leaning towards a more melodic style, both vocally and musically. This was followed by Frozen in 1998, which furthered the new melodic style of the band. However, it was two years later, in January 2000, that Senteced pulled it all together, and released (to my mind) the most perfect album of their career: Crimson.

Sentenced’s themes universally revolve around depression, loss and death, though there are – every so often – rays of bitter hope that shine through. One of my favorite songs, Brief Is the Light, from their 2002 album The Cold White Light, contains the words:

Hear these words I say;

Make the most out of your day

For brief is the light on our way

On this momentary trail

Hear these words, awake:

Make the most out of your day

For brief is the time that we’re allowed to stay

However, there is little of this hope on Crimson, an album dominated by self-loathing, guilt and despair. At the time of its release, I was in a very dark place in my life, and every word on this album spoke to me, intimately. From the opening track, Bleed in my Arms, we hear of the destruction of love, for nothing but the knowledge that it is the only thing to do, the only just self-punishment. The second track, Home in Despair, is perhaps one of the most immediately identifiable songs to anyone who has suffered depression:

Again the sky has fallen down on me

Once more a world has crumbled down and over me


And yet in some twisted way

I enjoy my misery

And in some strange way

I have grown together with my agony


I feel home in despair for I dwell in grief

And I feel home when the air’s too thick to breathe

And I feel home anywhere human lives are going down the drain


For as long as I remember life has been hard

I guess they have “misery” written somewhere in my stars


For I have mourned for so damn long…

That I’ve forgotten what it was for

Everything has gone so wrong

That I really couldn’t think of anything more


I feel home in despair for I dwell in grief

And I feel home when the air’s too thick to breathe

And I feel home anywhere the light of the day is drowned in heavy rain


Yet I know the worst is still to come

A further departure from their traditional style, the album opens to a slow-paced tempo, and in fact doesn’t pick up at all until Broken, five tracks in. The mood of the entire album, from start to finish, is morose, doomed, and dark. Halfway through, we have the anthemic Killing Me, Killing You, perhaps the best known song from the album. In some ways, this song of a torturous relationship is, if anything, the high point of the album, followed by an unstoppable descent into the black, all the way until the final, dying My Slowing Heart.

This is an incredibly strong album of frailty and despair, and its words speak a powerful message of depression. One of the most memorable, and heart-wrenching lines comes from Fragile, three songs in:

Sometimes it feels it would be easier to fall

Than to flutter in the air with these wings so weak and torn

Sentenced disbanded deliberately in 2005; a sort of pre-announced musical suicide. There could be no better end for a band so lost in despair.

4 thoughts on “Music I Love: “Crimson”, Sentenced (2000)

  1. Beautiful, evocative words – especially those last ones about torn wings.
    Nice you included some lyrics of hope too!
    It’s interesting, my eclectic music tastes are widening by blogging, a welcome bonus.
    Thanks for opening my eyes. 🙂

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