I first wrote about this album five years ago here, but I’ve been going through a brief resurgence of depression over the past few days, and there is no album that better summarizes those feelings for me than Crimson, by Finnish goth metal band Sentenced.
Sentenced’s career (now a decade over) started as a fairly traditional death metal band, before growing their singer’s melody from a guttural growl, and for many people their breakthrough album was Amok, released in 1995. Their lyrics have been filled with loathing and depression from the outset, but for me their peak was with 2000’s Crimson. The previous two albums, Down and Frozen have some gems, such as The Suicider, but for me Crimson was the first time that Sentenced truly abandoned their death metal roots entirely for a more pop-goth metal sound, never heard better than on their (Finnish) chart-topping Killing Me Killing You.
This album resonated deeply for me in my youth, for the lyrics seemed to perfectly encompass the bleak despair and misery that I lived through every day:
And yet in some twisted way
I enjoy my misery
And in some strange way
I have grown together with my agony
—Home in Despair, Crimson (2000)
Now, seventeen years later, it brings back powerful memories of darkness and despair, and has ever been the soundtrack to depression throughout my ever-changing mental illnesses. Sentenced deliberately broke up in 2005 after releasing their final album, The Funeral Album, and although both it and 2002’s The Cold White Light were phenomenal monuments of bleak despair, nothing will ever top Crimson for its utter, devastating depression.