Review Summary: The perfect album. Short, but not annoyingly so, songs never drop in quality and it contains some of the heaviest riffs that'll come out of your speakers.
Hate Crew Deathroll marks an interesting period in Children of Bodom's career. Between Follow the Reaper and Are you Dead Yet, it marks the transition between the gritty, slower sound of the former and the out and out melodic death metal of all that had gone before. It is also, for me, the pinnacle of their achievement to date.
Starting with an immediate punch to the face with Needled 24/7, this is a true statement of intent. The ounding intro riff, and accompanying solo which is made to sound ridiculously easy by the supremely talented Laiho, set the standard. The song might not be the best on the album, due to its chorus being perhaps not as big as some to come, but the track immediately following it is about as close to perfection as a band can get. With an opening riff heavy enough to crush the odd city, Sixpounder blasts through your speakers. All the riffs are superb and the second solo is one of the most uplifting moments in a Children song I have heard. Furthermore, the vocals a perfect, a minor glitch in some of their earlier material. The chorus contains real venom, and provides the perfect anthem of defiance.
All that follows is of exactly the same quality. Chokehold contains a seriously catchy riff, and a brilliant guitar keyboard trade off. That instrumental sections of this quality are a staple of Children songs shows the standard they constantly aim for and reach. Bodom Beach Terror contains a chorus that will leave its mark in your mind long after the sound has died away. That is, if you still have a head, considering it may well be blown away by Angels Don't Kill, which has possibly the heaviest riff Laiho has penned to date. It's achingly slow beat and discordant harmonies show how evil guitars can sound, and the lyrics (which might well be the closest the band ever get to love lyrics) chill. Perfect. Triple Corpse Hammerblow, despite being the cheesiest death metal song I have ever heard, doesn't let the quality slip. That it would probably be the stand out track on any other bands album shows the quality we are deaing with here. Also, hearing Alexi chant 'Don't push me,' is a great way to psyche up, despite the ludicrousness of the song. Your Better off Dead features a monumental chorus and some seriously agressive lyrics. Furthermore, listen to the lead guitar/keyboard playing behind the chorus vocals. That playng of such calibre can be used to back up a chorus shows that whilst Children of Bodom might contain some of the best playing in the buisiness, its all for the sake of the song. They've realised that a good solo suits the song (not also the lack of a complete shred solo in the slow song, but that it still makes the song that little bit better.) One of my favourite songs off the album. The last two are a perfect round off to the album, with Bloodred Ridin Hood containing one of the catchiest guitar refrains and Hate Crew Deathroll being a great mission statement for the band and a great way of closing the album.
Truth be told, Children of Bodom will never get the fame and riches they deserve (i.e. bigger than all the recycled boy bands and pre madonnas). Hell, they probably don't want it. And it is this fact that makes the final resounding '*** You,' so poignant. This band don't give a *** about whats expected of them, or about what they get from it. The music is there, and thats why they do it.