Release Year: 2015
Children of Bodom have always presented themselves as the wildest, most destructive bunch of motherfuckers to come out of Finland. For over ten years, they’ve been making brutal songs with breakneck speeding guitars and flourishing keys. They departed from this well known formula on their 2013 release and while it wasn’t bad, most of the songs were forgettable. It seems they’ve learned their lesson and now want to embrace the chaos back into their music. And it is good.
What impressed me about Bodom were their crazy fast riffs and there’s no shortage of them on the album. Since the band lost guitarist Roope Latvala before the completion of the album, frontman Alexi Laiho did all the guitars himself meaning they sound more sinister, dirty, and angry than before. Fans are greeted with the intense and hardcore track “iHurt” as soon as they hit play. It’s heavy as hell, but in Bodom fashion it still has those melodic keys that makes their music so distinctive. Everything about it sounds so malicious, including Alexi as the growls lines like “motherfucker I’m pain!” It’s a kick ass song that’s sure to please longtime fans.
Bodom unleashes more of their viciousness on stellar tracks like “My Bodom” and “Horns” both full of so much energy you’ll be head banging before the track even starts. But they also pull back on some tracks making them some of their most accessible. One of these is the lead single “Morrigan.” It’s not necessarily the best song on the album, but it’ll get those fists in the air. It’s not as hard or heavy hitting as the rest of the LP, but it has this great melody making it catchy in its own weird way. It’s a great track for those just getting into the band since it’s not as harsh as some of their other music, but it doesn’t lose any of their intensity.
The band are no strangers to slow songs and there are a good number of them here. “Prayer for the Afflicted” begins with soft echoing keys before the guitar joins in and takes over the somber riff. While it’s pretty good and gives the listener time to rest their ringing ears, the song grows a bit dull and repetitive by the end, especially since it sounds like some of their other slow songs. But this track is better than the other slow number “All For Nothing.” This one starts out softer and lighter than the previous one, yet is pretty cliché and boring. It gets better when it finally picks up the pace in the middle, but it goes on longer than it should killing any remaining interest in the track.
The rest of the album is solid as the band lets loose and get wild on crushing tracks like “Suicide Bomber,” “Hold Your Tongue,” and the excellent “I Worship Chaos” where it sounds like it’s repeatedly punching you in the face. Aside from the slower songs, the others represent the brutal, aggressive, and even gruesome band we’ve come to love over the years. Each track has a great opening that sucks you in: the grinding guitars get you moving or Alexi lashing out at the world is too intense to ignore. Something about each one makes you shut the fuck up and pay attention. And it is glorious.
Though they had some hiccups with their previous release, the band came back roaring to life. Older fans will be pleased since it sounds like classic Bodom, while new fans have some songs to latch on to. Everything about this LP is more aggressive, brutal, violent, and destructive than their last. And they change things just the right amount to not be too repetitive. If you haven’t yet, check out the deluxe edition for their stellar covers of “Danger Zone” and “Black Winter Day.” You can always count on Bodom for some kick ass covers of pop songs.