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Date Formed 1989
Date Disbanded 2005

Categories: Death Metal, Gothic Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal


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A Muhos based Death Metal band that leaned more towards the NWoBHM 80s Thrash sound as each album progressed until later works shifted ground to a Doom-Death direction. Indeed, the band's classic British Rock influences were so evident the 1994 EP even went so far as to cover IRON MAIDEN's 'The Trooper'. With a population of less than 10,000, prior to the arrival of SENTENCED, Muhos' only contribution to the international world of entertainment had been the 1975 Miss Universe winner, Armi Kuusela.

SENTENCED was created during 1989 in Muhos, located near the northern city of Oulu, by the trio of guitarists Miika Tenkalu and Sami Lopakka along with drummer Vesa Ranta. These three had actually been performing together under an antecedent brand of DEFORMITY during 1988, Ranta having succeeded Tuure Heikkilä, before switching from Thrash to Death, and titles. In this incarnation the band cut their inaugural demo sessions in November the following year dubbed 'When Death Join Us'. After recording, SENTENCED's numbers were brought up to full strength with the addition of vocalist / bassist Taneli Jarwa. Based on a second promotional recording, June 1991's 'Rotting Ways To Misery', they scored a deal with the French Thrash label for the Ahti Kortelainen produced debut album 'Shadows Of The Past' issued that November. A no frills Death Metal assault, 'Shadows Of The Past' saw guitarist Miika Tenkalu handling lead vocals.

The band also included the track 'Desperationed Future' on a free split EP, the mis-spelt 'Cronology Of Death', collaborating with BLUUURGH..., XENOPHOBIA and Sweden's CARBONIZED, for 'Thrash Your Brain' fanzine as a limited edition of 500 copies. SENTENCED then cut a further demo, 'Journey To Pohjola', in March 1992. These efforts garnered the band praiseworthy media coverage internationally prompting a fresh deal with the domestic Spinefarm label. June 1993's sophomore outing 'North From Here', the first record on which Taneli Jarwa took command of the vocals, would see the band adding a greater degree of melody to their work whilst retaining the technical edge. The group's next move was to a two track demo in 1994, comprising 'Glow Of 1000 Suns' and 'Amok Runs', as a tool to gain a new label deal.

The October 1993 EP 'The Trooper', recorded at Tico-Tico Studios in Kemi for new label Century Media, kept the faithful happy until the arrival of 'Amok' in January 1995. This album succeeding in selling over 35'000 units, with Japanese copies enhanced by two extra songs, 'Dreamlands' and 'Obsession'. SENTENCED toured Europe with TIAMAT and SAMAEL as Century Media re-released the bands first brace of albums to a wider audience. Ever eager to experiment, the September 1995 EP 'Love And Death' included a version of BILLY IDOL's 'White Wedding'.

Jarwa, quaintly billed as 'The fuck you man', often toured and recorded as bassist for IMPALED NAZARENE when the SENTENCED schedule allowed, featuring first on their 1992 'Sadogoat' EP and follow up album 'Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz'. However, Jarwa had departed following the 'Love And Death' EP and his place on bass was filled by Niko Karppinen, of LEGENDA and MAPLE CROSS on a session basis, whilst former BREED man Ville Laihiala took over lead vocals for the 1996 Waldemar Sorychta produced 'Down' album. Backing vocals came courtesy of Vorph of SAMAEL with female accompaniment from Birgit Zacher. The bands new lead vocalist brought another new dimension the SENTENCED sound as Laihiala opted for a clean vocal more suited the more recent, doomier outings. Global touring had SENTENCED hitting their stride with dates in Europe, America and Japan. SENTENCED also formed part of the billing for the December 1996 'Dark Winter Nights' touring festival alongside DEPRESSIVE AGE, LACRIMOSA, THE GATHERING and DREAMS OF SANITY. Touring in Europe during March of 1997 saw the band forming up a package billing alongside THERION, MY DYING BRIDE, ORPHANAGE and DARK for the 'Out Of The Dark III' festivals.

The June 1998 opus 'Frozen', which found bassist Sami Kukkohovi of BREED and MYTHOS added to the roster, would once again be produced by Sorychta. Japanese copies hosted a traditional extra song, 'No Tomorrow'. A "gold" digipack edition increased the song quota by adding no less than four cover versions, namely W.A.S.P.'s ' I Wanna Be Somebody', RADIOHEAD's 'Creep', FAITH NO MORE's 'Digging The Grave' and THE ANIMALS 'House Of The Rising Sun'.

The January 2000 'Crimson' album, crafted at Tico Tico, would lend recognition to SENTENCED's status as it reached the coveted number 1 position in the Finnish album charts. Later in the same year the album would be re-launched on picture disc vinyl format. Meantime, erstwhile frontman Taneli Jarwa resurfaced fronting THE BLACK LEAGUE the same year.

In February of 2001 Century Media repackaged the 'Amok' and 'Love & Death' records on a single CD re-release. Laihiala was also to be revealed as in collaboration with Jesper Strömblad of IN FLAMES on an extracurricular band project.

SENTENCED bounced back in during May 2002 with the Hiili Hiilesmaa produced album 'The Cold White Light', their 'No One There' single charting at the number 2 position in Finland. Shortly after the album itself hit the top spot in its first week of release, gaining Gold sales certification for 15'000 units sold. The musical transformation was by now complete, the SENTENCED journey having brought them up to an album that was focussed on groove, atmosphere and melancholic balladry.

A month's worth of North American dates commenced in San Francisco on September 16th backing up headliners IN FLAMES with strong support from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and LACUNA COIL. The band shortly after unveiled an extensive European tour schedule for October, supported by LACUNA COIL. Further North American shows had SENTENCED combining forces with LACUNA COIL, IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILITY. Enrolled into the band unit for these gigs would be keyboard player Antti Pikkarainen from the band THE RMS.

SENTENCED bassist Sami Kukkohovi readied his side venture SOLUTION 13 (formerly CONFUSION RED) for their debut album release in November through Low Frequency Records. SENTENCED vocalist Ville Laihiala's own extracurricular endeavour POISONBLACK (formatively SHADOWLANDS), which saw the singer operating as guitarist in league with CHARON's frontman Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto, also announced his debut 'Escapexstacy'.

The band revealed a spirit of local patronage in September, recording their first ever Finnish language song 'Routasydän' for use as a theme song for their hometown of Oulu's ice hockey team Oulun Kärpät. However, this diversion would backfire on the band in spectacular fashion when a local newspaper alleged that the lyric "Sisu, veri ja kunnia" ("courage, blood and honour") displayed Nazi sympathies because it was similar to an oath sworn by the Hitler Jugend organisation from World War II. SENTENCED vehemently denied such assertions but the Oulun Kärpät team pulled the song from their events nonetheless. The band had the last word though, performing the song in front of a crowd of over 30,000 in celebration of the team winning the Finnish championship in April of 2004.

Early 2004 found Ville Laihiala engaged in POISONBLACK activities as well as finding the time to add a guest vocal to the 'Sweet & Deceitful' album from Glam Hard Rock outfit NEGATIVE, this record hitting number 1 on the Finnish charts. SENTENCED's Summer dates included festival performances at the 'Rock The Nations' event in Istanbul, Turkey, 'Athens Open Air' in Greece, 'Gates of Metal' in Sweden and 'Summer Breeze' in Germany. The band then selected Hiili Hiilesmaa as producer to craft a new studio album during November.

As 2005 drew in the band was subject to conjecture that their next album might be their last. In early February guitarist Sami Lopakka announced "The title of the new album is 'The Funeral Album', and with it we, SENTENCED, are coming to the end of our road. This album will be our last one. The decision is mutual, thoroughly thought over and final. Metaphorically speaking, this is a mass suicide of five." A preceding single, 'Ever-Frost' released only in Finland, duly entered the domestic charts at no. 1. SENTENCED performed their swan song live performance at the August 2005 'Wacken Open Air' festival in Germany. 'The Funeral Album' entered the national Finnish album charts at no. 1. Japanese variants added bonus live tracks in 'Brief Is The Light' and 'Nepenthe'.

SENTENCED announced that their final live show, held on 1st October 2005 at Club Teatria in Oulu, would be recorded and filmed for future product. With tickets selling out in less than an hour, the band added a further show for 30th September.

In May 2008 it was announced Planet Metal Records, owned by SUPERCHRIST singer Chris Black, was to release a 7" vinyl single featuring SENTENCED's 'Glow Of 1000 Suns' and 'Amok Run', two 1993 demo tracks which date had remained unknown outside of the tape trading circuit. 

The group's former guitarist and main songwriter, Miika Tenkula, was found dead at his home on 19th February 2009. Tenkula suffered from a genetic heart condition and died from a sudden attack. He was 34 years old. 

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