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Review: North from Here-The Sentenced Story
Book Review
North from Here-The Sentenced Story
Publisher: Svart Publishing
Author: Matti Rieki
Year published: 2021
Pages: 270

Rating: 4/5

Review online: August 28, 2021
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
North from Here-The Sentenced Story

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (4 Votes)

It's always kind of funny starting to read a band's biography when you've never actually heard the band. I had, of course, heard of them, but never their music. So much music, so little time. The situation has since been rectified.

This is a very well-written book, translated from the original Finnish version, though the translator made a very odd choice when quoting band members. They are from the Northern Ostrobothnian region of Finland, which apparently has its own dialect. To highlight that, the translator decided to use the Northern English Yorkshire dialect when quoting them. So, for example, "my" becomes "me", "myself" becomes "meself", etc. I had my doubts going in and at first it was a bit cringeworthy, but it didn't take long to become a distraction and an annoyance. It just doesn't make sense. I get what he was trying to do, but giving that English accent to Finnish people just doesn't work. Other than that, however, the text is practically flawless except for a few tiny errors here and there, just the regular stuff that gets missed in a lot of books.

The story itself is quite engaging. I've read quite a few band biographies, but these guys were a little apart, not living the band life quite the same as the others—I don't want to spoil anything so I'll just leave it at that. Suffice it to say that it makes for a very interesting, engaging, sometimes surprising read, when it doesn't get downright freaky. Let's face it, touring stories always have their "how the hell did they get out of this in one piece?" moments. Group and personal struggles are described quite extensively and you can almost feel like you're living it just from reading about them in this book.

Sentenced is one of those Finnish bands that started as death metal and quickly veered into more of a rock direction (plenty of examples of that in the excellent book Rotting Ways to Misery that I reviewed a few months ago), so you're barely one third into the book that already the band is leaving metal behind and embarking in a new musical direction. I don't personally like it when bands do that (they're free to do what they want, I just don't feel I have to tag along), so for the first few pages I had a hard time staying engaged, but as you keep reading you kind of grow attached to that bunch and all their stories, and I'm glad I didn't just put it aside and instead finished the book.

Sentenced are a very storied band and the book is filled with stories that will make you laugh out loud or feel completely depressed, plus everything in between. Other than the aforementioned dialect faux pas, I find that the translator has done a great job channelling the emotions into the written word, with an engaging and fluid writing style to boot. Even if you don't know Sentenced, this is still a very worthy ready. If you're a fan, then it's mandatory.

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