Ah yes, Children of Bodom. The band that brought us Follow the Reaper, Hatebreeder, and Something Wild. The vaguely defined, in terms of sub-genre, metal outfit has garnered a quite impressive fan base over the years. I could count myself as one of those fans, seeing as they're one of my favourite bands, and Follow the Reaper and Something Wild are easily among my favourite albums of all time. Yet…for some reason I can't get into the band's fourth album, Hate Crew Deathroll. Though the band changes their style up a bit from, the "Bodom feel" is still present. Which is especially strange as I enjoy each of the "Hate Crew's" other albums. So what's my stance on this release? I'd say that Hate Crew Deathroll is definitely Children of Bodom's weakest release, and for the most part, is a pretty forgettable record.
Right from the start, it's quite evident that something is wrong. The heavy, melodic, yet ultimately unimpressive Needled 24/7 opens up the album and as followed by the equally monotone Sixpounder and Chokehold (Cocked 'n' Loaded). It's definitely Children of Bodom, but when compared to the excellent beginnings of the rest of their albums, the Hate Crew Deathroll Bodom sounds uninspiring and uninteresting. It isn't until the fourth track, humorously titled Bodom Beach Terror, which Bodom starts to pick up the pace. And even this track, though undeniably good, is not in the upper echelon of the band's songs. With songs like the slower, ballad-esque Angels Don't Kill or the frenzied, rapid fire assault of (the also humorously titled and quite reminiscent of older Bodom) Triple Corpse Hammerblow, Hate Crew Deathroll manages to maintain some level of interest, but the slightly strong middle section is not powerful enough to over come the weaker start. And it isn't that songs like Needled 24/7 or Sixpounder are terribly bad songs, as they are, in a way, fairly impressive pieces of music. They just do not sound like they're very inspired or well thought out.
But how about the music to be found on Hate Crew Deathroll? To be quite honest, the music found on the album is not that bad. It's fairly good actually. The record could be considered a bridge between the often revered Follow the Reaper and the often mocked Are You Dead Yet. The melodious, neo-classical passages that were found on the former are still found here, albeit a little toned down. But the heavier aspects of the band's sound, aspects which can be found on the Are You Dead Yet, also happen to pop up from time to time. These heavier elements are part of the new direction that Bodom has decided to take, as songs like Needled 24/7 and Chokehold (Cocked 'n' Loaded) reveal, and are for the most part well done. Bodom Beach Terror probably does the best job in fusing together the fast, melodic, up-beat style of old with the crushingly riff-laden style of new, and when considering that it's one of the few songs to feature adequate song writing and Children of Bodom at their top level, then a case can definitely made to claim it as one of the album's best. You're Better Off Dead is another track which accomplishes this fairly well, but the album is not really consistent enough for my liking.
One element I've really grown to dislike on Hate Crew Deathroll is guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho's vocal performance. I found that his harsh screams found on songs like Lake Bodom, Follow the Reaper, or Warheart were about as enjoyable as harsh vocals can be, and did an excellent job in the role that they were granted. But with the band's forth album Alexi decided that, like the band's musical direction, it was time for a change. And like the music, the vocals haven't exactly gone through a huge transformation, but it's still noticeable. Opting for a more shout-like vocal style than a harsh, black metal shriek, Laiho's efforts are quite annoying, especially on some of the earlier tracks like Needled 24/7 and Sixpounder. His harsh shouts really disrupt the flow of the songs (which weren't especially great in the first place), and really takes away from the listening experience. Now, that isn't to say he's always bad. The sombre highlight of the album, Angels Don't Kill is one of the songs where Bodom's frontman is tolerable and actually put forth an emotion that doesn't convey rage and aggression. His efforts on Angels Don't Kill fit the emotions of the song, and really enhance the song's feel in a positive, noticeable way.
Overall, Children of Bodom's fourth release, Hate Crew Deathroll, is a good release. But it isn't a great release. It suffers from inconsistency and well, a general lack of interestingness. It experiences a slow start with songs like Needled 24/7 and Chokehold (Cocked 'n' Loaded), a start that although the band slightly recovers from, puts a damper on the listener for many of the remaining tracks. Songs such as the emotional Angels Don't Kill and the brutal Bodom Beach Terror are just two of the songs that show Hate Crew Deathroll's good side, and are enjoyable listens that any fan of this type of music could enjoy. Though it isn't a bad release, I don't think I would recommend it, especially to new listeners of the band, as this is easily the band's weakest release thus far.
Angels Don't Kill
Triple Corpse Hammerblow
Bodom Beach Terror
You're Better Off Dead
|other reviews of this album|
good review. I probably wont check this out even though Follow the Reaper was a cool record.
Album Rating: 4.0
Good to see a bit of a different view on this. I have not listened to this enough to accurately rate it but I agree Bodom Beach Terror owns.
@ conyoneer: So you haven't heard it, but you've rated it?
Hatebreeder is closer to Follow te Reaper than this it, in case you wanted to hear more CoB. This Message Edited On 01.20.07
Nice work, Mikey.
Album Rating: 4.0
I really dig this album, and I gotta disagree with you about his vocals here Mike. I really dig 'em here man. Great work though.
666 POUNDER ARGGHHHHH
Album Rating: 3.0
this band gets the award of the year for being "meh"
It's amazing how a band that is supposedly so melodic and uplifting can make songs that sound so bland and indistinguishable. Good review, bad album.Yeah, I suppose some of their songs sound similar, but there are far worse bands in that regard.
Album Rating: 3.5
Since I reviewed this album a while back my feelings for this album have gone downhill. Their new stuff just isn't nearly as cool or as fun to listen to as their first 3 albums. That may seem really elitist, but it's just the way it is.
Except that Bodom Beach Terror is their best song. Ever.
Album Rating: 4.0
the one fault I found here was that in the first paragraph you said it was a ''pretty forgettable record for the most part'' and in the closing it said it was "a good release." Well done for the rest though.
Whoops. I think I rated this one a while back thinking it was Hatebreeder. My bad.
yes Acidity. You've caught me. This is actually mm8's alt account. Grr panda.
Scandal at Sputnik! Scandal at Sputnik!
the one fault I found here was that in the first paragraph you said it was a ''pretty forgettable record for the most part'' and in the closing it said it was "a good release." Well done for the rest though.Eh, what I was trying to say is that it wasn't necessarily a bad album, but when compared to Bodom's other albums it's pretty forgetable.
It made sense to me. :pThis Message Edited On 01.20.07
Don't try to weasel your way out of it, you're a album-rater-who-doesn't-actually-listen-to-them. You should form a club with metallicaman.
I've never rated an album without hearing the whole thing. Granted, I have listened to some only once, rated it and then never listened to it again. But the main point is I still listened to them.
I might check this album out some day. I've got lots of other stuff to look into first, though.
Get Are You Dead Yet before you get this.
Yeah, that's one of the albums on my hit list.
Album Rating: 3.0
I like Follow The Reaper the most, Are You Dead Yet is pretty boring at times
Agreed on both counts. Are You Dead Yet lags at certain points, but I still enjoy it.
Good review, I believe that this album is not bad, but its not the best. You were right, the opening songs (aside from needled 24/7) were pretty different but they definately will all grow on you. I like every song on this album now.
Album Rating: 3.5
Love this album to death. I've always been a fan of catchiness over atmospheric, unless, of course, you're talking prog. And that bassline in Bodom Beach Terror doesn't just hook you... It harpoons you straight in the head. Great album. Maybe it's not as, shall we say... Expanding as their previous albums, but still pretty damn solid.