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When vocalist Taneli Jarva left Sentenced after the awesome Amok, it was almost certain that the band couldn't continue the path they had walked during the previous couple of years. So that's why it's a surprise that their first album with new vocalist Ville Laihiala is actually even stronger than Amok. That takes a lot, because Amok wasn't a poor album. Down's sound is really wide -- producer Waldemar Sorychta's keyboards play a big part in the background and create definite ambition, while Miika Tenkula and Sami Lopakka smash with a craggy guitar wall. Laihiala's voice sounds more depressed than Jarva's, and even if he doesn't use much variety in his singing, he is very convincing. Especially in massive songs like "Crumbling Down (Give Up Hope)" and "Ode to the End," the whole band works great together -- the dynamic is perfect and no one is left in the background. Everyone will surely notice the keyboards -- it's exciting that someone uses keyboards to create a diverse and somewhat experimental sound even in a genre like heavy metal. That's why Sentenced's Down does the same thing to the heavy metal world that Radiohead did to modern rock with OK Computer. Whatever Sentenced decides to do in the future, they'll be remembered for Down. And that isn't a shame.

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