How many times can you pick up an album and say that it defines an entire genre? Not too often, huh? Well that's to be expected. But these albums are definitely out there. Powerslave, Land of the Free, Rust in Peace, Painkiller, all of these albums hold the crown of their respected genres, or at least in my opinion, but are there any recent albums that could bask in the same utterly metallic glory as the aforementioned albums? You could make a case for Children of Bodom's Follow the Reaper. Released in 2001, it was the band's third full length album, and by far their best. And in comparison with the rest of Bodom's discography, particularly early efforts Something Wild (my personal favourite) and Hatebreeder, that isn't exactly a statement to be taken lightly. So what you will about the albums of DragonForce (though their take on the genre is slightly difference, yeah, just a little on the slight side), Kalmah, or Norther, but in my humblest of opinions, Children of Bodom's Follow the Reaper represents the height of the extreme power metal genre, and a definite classic.
Follow the Reaper starts off quietly, with the a spoken section which reads as follows "Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful. Thou art not so." Just as the quote ends, the band suddenly blasts right into the opening song, Follow the Reaper. Just as the album defines the extreme power metal genre, the opening riff of the title track defines the album. Follow the Reaper (both song and album) is a very aggressive piece of work, complete with ear shattering solos, energetic heart pounding riffs, and technical yet eerie keyboards. It has pretty much anything a fan of power metal could ask for. Well, almost everything, but we'll get to that later. The relentless riffing is quite reminiscent of a thrash metal band, yet with a power metal twist. Songs like Children of Decadence and Mask of Sanity, among others, definitely showcase this aspect, something all fans of power, thrash, and ever black metal bands should enjoy. When I listen to metal, the most important thing, first and foremost, is the music. Bodom definitely surpasses all expectations in this area, with superb efforts all around.
Wait a minute; I said that there is area where power metal fans might not be satisfied in, yet I rated this 5?! Well, when I said this I didn't mean that there was a major weakness. But what I really meant was that, in general, most power metal bands make use of a vocalist who, in most cases, sings in falsetto. Children of Bodom do not have this. Instead they turn to guitarist Alexi Laiho for vocals. Like his power metal counterparts Kalmah and Norther, Laiho opts instead for a harsh shriek rather than singing. But that's perfectly fine, especially for those who enjoy such talents in the black metal genre. Truthfully, at first it was difficult to get into Children of Bodom because of the band's vocals, but once you get over this hill its smooth sailing from there (if that makes sense to you). On Follow the Reaper, Alexi's efforts are very strong, as can be heard in songs such as Bodom After Midnight or Northern Comfort. The vocals do not really vary throughout the album, yet they still manage to sound fresh and solid. Not to mention that they fit the aggressive overtones of the music very well. They might take a little while to grow on some listeners, but the efforts of Alexi on Follow the Reaper are definitely enjoyable, and very well done.
Even though Bodom's debut album, Something Wild, is my favourite of the three that I've heard, I'll still maintain that Follow the Reaper is their best. I really enjoy the take no prisoners style that Bodom effortlessly and effectively creates through their music, as it is very infectious and a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. There is something that almost any fan of metal can enjoy from power metal to thrash metal, to death metal, to black metal, to even classic, Iron Maiden-esque moments. This album will most definitely be looked upon as a classic in the coming years (or maybe already), and is easily one of the best albums in not only extreme power metal, but metal in general. Check this out right away.
Follow the Reaper
Children of Decadence
Mask of Sanity
Bodom After Midnight
to chans comment- I like the energy in this album it is almost like party metal if you know what i mean. I have heard 5 COB albums and own 4. My favorite song off the album is Children of Decadence because everything off it is awsome from the opener to the end. And as for the genre it is like Black Power Metal in some ways because of the added keyboards ans such. So stop negging me and pretending like you know what you are talking about!!!
Excellent review, though I can't agree with it being a classic like I believe Hatebreeder is. This is iffy-power metal. I mean it's awesome, but you could put this into many different genres IMO. But thats opinion... nice review
In general I strongly dislike power metal but this album isn't so bad, it's actually fairly impressive. The guitar work is very fun and energetic and I really enjoy Alexis voice for some strange reason.