Formed in Espoo, Finland in 1993 Children of Bodom (initially Inearthed) rapidly hit metal heights with their brand of ‘melodic death’ metal. Fresh, with an almost European power metal feel to their music, topped with the thrash style vocals of the eyeliner clad Alexi ‘Wildchild’ Laiho, they stood out from the contemporary dirge. It wasn’t until the release of Skeletons In The Closet (2009- an inspired choice of witty covers) that I recognized how much fun the band was. Some argued their version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Lookin’ Out My Back Door was an insulting parody, I delighted in the humour realising they did not take themselves as seriously as many artists. Kenny Rogers, Britney bloody Spears, Pat Benatar and Poison combined with Sepultura, Slayer and Diamond Head! It was unexpected, hilarious and marvellous.
Now releasing their 10th studio album Hexed which is their first album to feature guitarist Daniel Freyberg since joining in 2016. Laiho says
“I think I’m speaking for all of us that we’re very happy that he ended up joining the band. The rest of us, you know, four of us, we’ve known each other since childhood. I know it sounds like a cliché, but try fucking touring for 20 years and you’ll see that it’s like a marriage sometimes, where you end up bickering about stupid shit. But with him being there, I don’t know, that’s just faded away. It’s just more fun. Plus he’s a hard worker; he really is. He takes everything so seriously when it comes to playing guitar and learning pretty much anything, not just guitar, but just learning how to be a professional musician. He’s one of those dudes that sits there and listens and watches and absorbs everything. And that’s what I like about him, because that’s how I am too. That’s the best way to learn – just observe.”
Whether it is Freyburg that has influenced the more progressive aspects of this release remains to be seen but the sound is unmistakably still Children of Bodom, just perhaps a little more melodic and dare I say catchy!
“For me, it has always been very hard to describe our new music,‘ comments bassist Henkka Blacksmith. “In a way it always feels familiar, but the new stuff also always surprises me. Here we have something that’s very Bodom, but somehow we haven’t done this kind of stuff, possibly ever. Then again, someone said that there’s a somewhat similar vibe to what Follow the Reaper had. I don’t know. Anyway, we had a really hard time choosing the songs for the videos, I guess that’s a positive problem to have.“
Up-tempo, high octane with pulsating energy I am glad to have picked this up.
Opening with This Road, Children Of Bodom come out of the gate running with an intense and relentless swagger. A little more sophisticated, but no less metal, the first single release Under Grass And Clover which also deals with the dangers of alcoholism in a dangerously perky number.
“’Under Grass and Clover’ is the sound of Children Of Bodom on fire and has been my favourite song since it was written. It’s fast, melodic, heavy and dark but also short and sweet. Someone told me that it’s kinda like old school Dimmu Borgir and AWK and that’s pretty damn cool in my books so we must’ve done something right ” Laiho has stated,
Glass Houses comes in harder and faster with a thrashier riff and an increased intensity whereas Hecate’s Nightmare takes an unexpected turn with a Cradle Of Filth (not COB) styled creepy opening! A fictional tale of two people asking the goddess Hecate for her assistance, which she concedes but ‘they keep fucking it up and then eventually she gets pissed-off and you do not want to get that chick pissed-off.”
Kick in a Spleen with its bass led super chunky riff and blistering guitar solo brings up back to classic COB and Platitudes And Barren Words is an old school combination of riff sorcery, heavy melody and a chorus which builds brilliantly in a vocal punky style, with super 90’s melodeath keys! Laiho has compared this to Alice Cooper meets death metal! You can get a better idea by checking it out here.
Hexed, the title track is a feisty number with classically inspired riffs, pummelling force anthemic chants and a superb outro. Relapse (The Nature Of My Crime) slows the pace slightly into a heavy groove before it returns to a barnstorming thrashy melodic death style which leads well into the similarly veined Say Never Look Back. Soon Departed is a stomper which is sure to explode live! The ultimate track, is a return to
Knuckleduster, originally from the 2004 Trashed, Lost & Strungout EP. The prevalence of the incredible keyboard work of Janne Wirman elevates the track stratospherically and perfectly links the old Children Of Bodom with the new .
” We all thought that it was a great song. It was kind of overlooked and we just figured that we needed to do it again – it needed to be heard again. But I had no idea what I sang on that song; like no frigging idea except for the chorus. So I had to rewrite the lyrics and I had to… well at least I tried to write ‘em so that they would sound kind of like the original did. As for the lyrics, it’s just another vent about how I don’t like somebody.”
Children of Bodom return with a welcome spring in their step, fire in their fingers and vitriol in the voice.
Hexed was released March 8th and can be purchased here
- This Road
- Under Grass And Clover
- Glass Houses
- Hecate’s Nightmare
- Kick in a Spleen
- Platitudes And Barren Words
- Relapse (The Nature Of My Crime)
- Say Never Look Back
- Soon Departed
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