The fifth album from the Finnish metal band is what made COB big in the US. Some of their most well known work is found here along with some of their best songs. The music is catchy, melodic and varies from song to song, which keeps the album going. From start to finish the record keeps listeners moving and though every track is filled with some type of aggression, the songs aren’t mindless.
“Living Dead Beat” opens the album on a weird note. The song kind of throws you off with the intro, which is filled with elements taken from synth and industrial music. Not only does it sound off at first, it may throw off older COB fans who aren’t used to the style. But after a minute the crunching guitars come in to bring things back to normal. The guitar playing is standard for the band: melodic and fast, but it will still blow your mind, especially if it’s your first time hearing the band. What else that’s interesting about the song is Alexi’s singing. He normally sings in a very gruff, harsh style, but during the bridge it’s not as harsh. It’s a bit more melodic, but it still has that hardcore edge. This is a great, energetic start to this aggressive album.
The album continues with the title track “Are You Dead Yet?” This is one of COB’s most well known and well loved songs and after one listen it’s not hard to understand why. The hard opening riff along with the pounding drums grabs you by the throat and makes you pay attention and it won’t let go until the song is over. Also, Alexi’s scream at the beginning will get you going and perfectly fits the tone of the song. Another thing is there are so many excellent riffs from both the guitars and the keyboard that it’ll make your head spin. This is definitely the perfect headbanging song.
Probably the best song on the album is “In Your Face.” The title of the song perfectly describes the feeling and attitude of it. This is the song that got me into the band, so it’s near and dear to my heart. I love everything about it from the constant build up that hooks you in to the epic chorus of “I don’t giving flying fuck, motherfucker.” When I heard that it blew me away and that’s when I fell in love. All the energy and aggression is perfectly expressed in every element of the song. This is a epic song that you need to hear.
One thing that really stands out about COB is their music. The guitar playing is stellar. Alexi Laiho is an excellent guitar player and his melodic riffs will take your breath away. These are the kind of riffs where you get out the air guitar and start shredding your heart out. But even though the guitar playing is often super fast it never gets tiring or boring. The riffs are so catchy, memorable, and vary in style that it keeps the music fresh. Another reason why the guitar playing never gets dull is that it shares the spot light with the keyboard playing. You never knew a keyboard could rock this hard. These solos are just as fast, wild, and in your face as the guitar solos. The way COB has managed to mix in this element with their music really separates them from other metal bands.
As mentioned before, Alexi’s singing style is harsh and on the screaming side of things, which can make it difficult to understand the lyrics most of the time. But when you take the time to look at them or figure them out, you see that not all of Bodom’s song are about kicking ass and taking names. “We’re Not Gonna Fall” is about standing your ground and not backing down. “Trashed, Lost, and Strungout” is about letting your demon’s get the best of you and dealing with the consequences later. But the song that has the most emotional and moving lyrics is the slow paced “Punch Me I Bleed.”
The song is a nice change of pace for the band since it is slow and it also shows that they don’t have to play loud and fast in order to kick ass. The song has themes of guilt, regret, and shame. It’s as if this person is looking back on their life and is not proud of the decisions they made. They know they’re going to hell and there’s nothing they can really do about it. It’s a great song that shows a more emotional side to the band and shows that their music isn’t just about expelling violence and aggression.
Overall, the album gets 9/10. Every song is killer. There is never a dull moment on the album. The music is energetic, aggressive and harsh. Sometimes it will even blow your mind. And the music varies enough where it never gets repetitive. This is an awesome album and anyone who has never heard the band or is only familiar with their newer material needs to hear this record.
What do you think of this record? Do you have a favorite COB song? Let me know in the comments!