Release Date: January 4th, 2014
Label: Negative Reaction Records
Website: None available
Twitter: None available
About half a minute into ‘Ways Of The Wicked’ and you know that Birmingham’s newest beatdown band are set for bigger things. Having shared the stage with Desolated, No Second Chance and the youngsters in Revelations, it seems Sentenced are quickly making a name for themselves, thanks to their absolutely lethal shows and competent mix of death metal and hardcore.
‘Ways Of The Wicked’ is heavier than a van made of osmium. The band’s well-crafted version of hardcore drips, bleeds and oozes death metal influence from every pore, whether it’s the blast beats or the slams or vocalist Michael Aherne‘s use of inhales. It’s helped along by the fact that the quartet are really very tight as well. The No Zodiac-esque tremolo sections in the verses and their smooth transitions into the beatdowns are an absolute pleasure to listen to. The production is fantastic too; it lacks the muddy guitars or the raw DIY tone that the genre’s tend to become associated with, while the clean approach renders everything audible and crisp. The instruments all sound great and the vocals are placed nicely in the mix.
At the end of the day though, the EP lasts less than eight minutes so, whilst what’s here is good, it’s just a case of there not being enough of it. The use of three tracks is a shame as well, because it really doesn’t offer the band a chance for their songs to develop, or give them any breathing room for experimenting with their writing.
This is evident in the song lengths too. ‘Intro / Turn To Dust’ falls short of three minutes whilst ‘Led To Sin’ barely surpasses two. On the other hand though, if you’re a fan of the genre, the three tracks presented here will definitely leave you wanting more, and the short but snappy songs should tide you over for a few weeks, at least.
If you’re looking for subtlety, then Sentenced are not for you. If you’re looking for melody, what the hell are you looking at beatdown for? If you’re looking for some music you can bang your head to and punch people in the face at your local hardcore show to, then Sentenced are most definitely for you. The band are making the rounds on the UKHC circuit, and they’ve definitely proved that they aren’t one to miss.
Written by Jack Boaden