Sentenced started in late 1989 when Miika Tenkula (lead guitar & vocals), Sami Lopakka (guitar) and Lari Kylmänen (bass) changed the name of their earlier thrash metal band Deformity into Sentenced (the name drawing inspiration from the Nihilist song "Sentenced To Death") and at the same time changed their musical style to death metal. Drummer Vesa Ranta also joined the group at this point and completed the band's initial lineup. The group recorded two demo tapes and already the first one, "When Death Joins Us..." (1990) led to a record deal with small French label Thrash Records. Already having a record deal the band was not requisite to do more demos, but they nevertheless recorded "Rotting Ways To Misery" (1991) to promote their upcoming material. At this point Lari Kylmänen was replaced by Taneli Jarva, a second cousin of Tenkula, who had already been interacting with the group by writing lyrics and doing some promotional artwork. With a new bass player, the group headed to Tico-Tico studios in Kemi to record their debut album "Shadows Of The Past", which was released in December 1991.
Disappointed with the operation of Thrash Records, the band soon recorded a new demo/promo tape "Journey To Pohjola" and got the attention of the newborn Finnish label, Spinefarm Records, which signed the band. Their second full-length,"North From Here", was again recorded at Tico-Tico during the winter 1992/1993 and was released in the early summer of 1993. This was also a transition period as Taneli Jarva had taken the position of lead vocalist in the band. Band's music and songwriting skills had also developed vastly, resulting in much more technical compositions, and at the same time, more original approach to death metal. "North From Here" got also noticed around the world and German label Century Media licensed the album worldwide. Eventually in 1994 Sentenced was signed to Century Media, where they also remained for the rest of their career. Before leaving Spinefarm they released the "The Trooper" EP in late 1993.
In early 1995 Sentenced released "Amok", which was musically yet another step up for the band and it was generally received well by the fans and press. Overall the more accessible "Amok" can be considered as a breakthrough album for the band and the long tours in the spring 1995 supporting Tiamat and Samael gained Sentenced a strong foothold on the European heavy metal market. For the tours the band hired a session bassist Niko Karppinen (of Maple Cross), which gave Jarva more freedom to concentrate on vocals and being the front figure of the band. The album was followed by the release of "Love & Death" EP in the autumn and a short European tour with Bolt Thrower in early 1996.
In the spring 1996, very much to everyone's surprise, Taneli Jarva announced his departure from the band. This left the band in limbo and despite auditioning several vocalists, they could't find a suitable replacement for Jarva. This was until the late summer when they discovered Ville Laihiala, just few weeks before the band was supposed to head to Germany's Woodhouse Studios to record their fourth album. With the new vocalist Sentenced recorded "Down", which paved way for the band's sound to evolve in a more melodic and varied direction. Not having a dedicated bass player in the band, Miika Tenkula played the bass parts on the album, but for the following tours the band hired a session bassist Sami Kukkohovi, a former bandmate of Laihiala, who was later granted a permanent position in the band.
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)
Lari Kylmänen - bass (1989-1991)
Taneli Jarva - bass, vocals (1991-1996)
Live session musicians:
Niko Karppinen - bass (1995)
Sami Kukkohovi - bass (1996-1997)
Tarmo Kanerva - drums (1999)
Antti Pikkarainen - keyboards (2002)
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.