Following a short prelude, the two guitarists Miika Tenkula and Sami Lopakka as well as drummer Vesa Ranta came together in the provincial town of Oulu in the cold north of Finland in the year 1989 to baptize their death metal newborn, and gave it the name: SENTENCED. Only one year later, this child of death let loose its first startling scream in the shape of the demo "When Death Joins Us..." (1990). When its voice developed an extremely charismatic touch with the recruiting of singer and bass-player Taneli Jarva, a first record-deal followed soon, which led to the release of the traditional death metal debut "Shadows Of The Past" (1991). Two years later SENTENCED took a more melodic turn on "North From Here" (1993) and created a true milestone of their deadly genre. Just a small amount of time elapsed until this rapidly growing whelp honoured its Iron Maiden roots with "The Trooper" (1993). This MCD also saw a strengthening of the band's melodic side at the expense of its harshness. With a fresh worldwide contract of German label Century Media in their pockets and the release of their third masterpiece "Amok" (1995), the Finns were getting their deserved breakthrough. It was emotional, melancholic but still harsh. Taneli's smoky voice breathed life into the album and the fans loved it. Another hint of a change in style was given by the second MCD "Love & Death" (1995). Just coming out of his infancy, this precocious youngster opened up to more rock influences and broadened his musical horizon. SENTENCED had reached a first peak in their career, but the fast and furious rock 'n' roll lifestyle demanded a sacrifice: rough-throated Taneli Jarva was too worn out to continue and took some years off before returning with his own band The Black League. An era had reached its end. SENTENCED had built the base of the Finnish boom in metal, alongside Amorphis and Waltari, paving the path for such diverse bands as Children of Bodom or Nightwish.
Still there was no rest for the wicked, and SENTENCED were not satisfied to rest on their earlier succces. They recruited the charismatic Ville Laihiala and returned with the sensational "Down" in 1996. "Down" finally ended the chapter "death metal" for the reformed five-piece band. Taneli's deep rumpling voice was replaced by Ville's warm and clear delivery. The dark-maned Finn immediately put his own touch to the new melancholic and pain-ridden songs. Caught between anger and despair, "Down" offered more than once suicide as the only way out. While that theme became something of a trademark, SENTENCED more or less toyed full of self-irony and biting sarcasm with the melancholic stance of their fellow countryman - likely caused by too many dark days in wintertime. A simultaneous change of singer and style meant truly taking a dare, but for SENTENCED it turned out to be a lucky one. The band kept most of their old fans and added a considerable number of new followers to their camp. From now on SENTENCED released top-records in a quiet regular rhythm of two years. "Frozen" (1998) followed "Down" and delivered a more precise and refined version of the new formula. Next up "Crimson" (2000) added a mighty dose of bitterness and finally "The Cold White Light" (2002) took this special SENTENCED-sound to a new peak: The perfectly interlacing stringwork of guitar-duo Lopakka & Tenkula gave the band’s desolate picture a shining silver frame. Melodic beasts of groove were driven by Ville's electrifying voice, embodying the pain of broken hearts and seeming to drown easily in streams of alcohol at the same time. SENTENCED manage to use all those clichés of their homeland to better effect without ever appearing stereotyped. It was quite the other way around - while the band matured into a young adult it created some of their most breathtaking songs like the poison-dripping "Excuse Me While I Kill Myself" or the sadness filled "Cross My Heart And Hope To Die". It is beyond doubt, that SENTENCED as masters of melancholy in their second incarnation delivered a decisive impulse, that others successfully turned into poppier sounds like HIM, Charon or even The Rasmus - yet SENTENCED remained always true to the metal-genre.
The band broke up in 2005. Founding member Miika Tenkula's death in 2009 effectively ended any hopes of reforming the band.