Sentenced was started in late 1989 in Muhos, Finland, when Miika Tenkula (lead guitar & vocals), Sami Lopakka (guitar), Vesa Ranta (drums) and Lari Kylmänen (bass) changed the name of their earlier thrash act Deformity into Sentenced (the name drawing inspiration from the Nihilist song "Sentenced To Death"). With this lineup they released two demo tapes and already the first one, "When Death Joins Us..." (1990) lead to a record deal with the French label Thrash Records. Having a record deal the band was not requisite to do another demo, but nevertheless "Rotting Ways To Misery" (1991) was recorded to promote their upcoming material. After this bass player Lari Kylmänen was replaced by Taneli Jarva little before the recordings of their debut album "Shadows of the Past", which was released in December 1991. At this point band's music was quite standard European/Scandinavian style death metal common to the time.
In 1992 band's new demo/promo "Journey To Pohjola" got the attention of the newborn Finnish label, Spinefarm Records, that signed the band and their second full-length, titled "North From Here", was released in early summer 1993. This was also a transition period as Taneli Jarva had taken the position of lead vocalist in the band. The bands music and songwriting skills had also developed vastly, resulting in much more technical, and at the same time, more original approach to death metal. Later in 1993 Spinefarm also released the "The Trooper" EP to support the release of the album. "North From Here" got also noticed around the world and the German label Century Media signed Sentenced to their roster in 1994.
In early 1995 Sentenced released "Amok", which is considered to be their best work by many fans and critics. The album was a breakthrough for the band and was supported with two large tours, which made the band's name known all over Europe. On these tours bass was handled by session musician Niko Karppinen (of Maple Cross) which gave Jarva freedom to concentrate on vocals and being the front figure of the band. In late 1995 Century Media released the "Love & Death" EP, which continued musically on the path set on "Amok".
Then, to everyone's surprise, bassist/vocalist Taneli Jarva announced his departure from the band in the spring 1996. His replacement, Ville Laihiala, was found in late summer just few weeks before the band was heading to Germany's Woodhouse Studios to record follow up to "Amok". With the new vocalist Sentenced recorded "Down", which paved way for the band's sound to evolve in a more melodic way. Also, not having a dedicated bass player in the band, Miika Tenkula played bass parts on the album. On tours following the release of "Down" bass was handled by Sami Kukkohovi, a former bandmate of Laihiala, who was granted a permanent position in the band in early 1997.
With this line-up the band recorded four more albums: "Frozen" (1998), "Crimson" (2000), "The Cold White Light" (2002), and last, "The Funeral Album" in 2005 when they also announced their retirement. The release of this final album was followed by a special funeral tour that culminated in band's funeral gig in their home town Oulu on October 1st 2005. As the band stated, no reunion will be possible, ever.
Ville Laihiala - vocals (1996-2005)
Miika Tenkula - guitar (1989-2005)
Sami Lopakka - guitar (1989-2005)
Vesa Ranta - drums (1989-2005)
Sami Kukkohovi - bass (1997-2005)
After Sentenced the former members have been active in e.g. The Black League (Jarva), Chaosbreed (Jarva) Poisonblack (Laihiala), Kypck (Lopakka, Kukkohovi) and The Man-Eating Tree (Ranta).
Miika Tenkula was found dead on February 19, 2009 in his home. Miika had a genetic heart condition and died from a sudden attack at his home on February 18th, 2009 as stated in band's homepage.