SENTENCED Embroiled In 'Nazi' Controversy

Finland's SENTENCED have been accused of being secret "Nazi" sympathizers after penning a song in support of their local hockey team which contains lyrics that allegedly include the motto used by the Hitler Youth organization (Hitler Jugend) during the 1930s.

This past summer, SENTENCED were approached by the representatives of the Oulu-based hockey team Oulun Kärpät about composing a Finnish-language track for inclusion on a CD collection of songs written and recorded in support of the team.

SENTENCED's contribution, titled "Routasydän", was composed by guitarist Miika Tenkula and the lyrics were written by guitarist Sami Lopakka. Included in the text was the line (in Finnish) "Sisu, veri ja kunnia," which roughly translates to "courage, blood and honor."

Shortly after the song was completed, an Oulu resident with an apparent ax to grind wrote to the local newspaper to complain that the phrase "blood and honor" (in German "Blut und Ehre") was also used by the Hitler Jugend organization as their motto, suggesting that SENTENCED were secret Nazi sympathizers. A public uproar followed, eventually leading Oulun Kärpät representatives to ask Lopakka to change the offending lyrics, a request that was immediately denied. As a result, the team decided to stop playing the song at their ice hall during their home games.

SENTENCED, who claim to be completely against Nazism and racism of any kind, were shocked and disappointed by the team's decision to pull the song.

"This is total bullshit — we can't believe this!" drummer Vesa Ranta told Sonera Plaza. "We made this song for an ice-hockey team... Well, let's see… 'Courage' is something that every team needs to win. Next, for Oulun Kärpät, it's always been important to have a lot of local players on their own team — in other words, their 'own blood.' And third, when you are playing [on a team and representing your town], you are playing because of 'honor.' When we were doing this song, we couldn't even think that somebody would think like that! Everyone who knows us knows that we have absolutely nothing to do with Nazism and shit like that."

SENTENCED are planning to enter the studio in the spring to begin recording their next album for a late summer 2004 release.

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