Review Summary: Definitly a must buy, and an extremely enjoyable album. One of those albums that doesn't get old at all, and can silence all skeptics for a genre, such as myself.
Can I just start out saying that this album is truly amazing? I’m not your typical power metal fan boy in anyway, shape, or form, but all the way from “Follow the Reaper” to “Aces High” I was very impressed to say the least. What kept me away from these guys were the vocals that I would be afraid I’d hate, and the chance of repetitiveness that might occur. I was semi-right about both things, but those are the only things that stopped me from rating this 5 all the way. Children of Bodom are to me, the heaviest band I’ve really been into yet. The vocals, riffs and solos these guys throw down are enough to make a 90 year old put down their walker and headbang while dreamily playing air guitar. Simply Children of Bodom’s raw talent is enough to please any music listener, probably in the class of one of those must have albums.
When you’re talking about cons to this album, there aren’t many. One would be the vocals, which might be too much for some listeners. Alexi Laiho is the vocalist for Children of Bodom, and his vocals are hard to interpret. Then again give Laiho credit, he sings like Satan and plays guitar like Jesus at the same time. Laiho’s vocals sound very similar throughout the whole album, but can sound less reptitive at times when he grunts. If there are any other possible cons to the album it might be over the top for some listeners. The raw talent and passion these guys put out for every song as heavy as they do could be a negative thing to a listener accustomed to a softer sound.
Aside from the very few cons to this album, “Follow the Reaper” is really a mind-blowing piece of artwork. The pure heaviness of the album in itself is enough to turn anyone to growing their hair to their knees and become a metal head. “Follow the Reaper” is so heavy, it could probably end up on the music play list of Satan himself. Every track rockets into a heavy sequence in seconds, sending the listener to a headbanging heaven immediately. Another huge positive to this album is the guitar work. Just the solos could be enough to drive any listener wild, but added on with the great combination of catchy and heavy riffs the guitar work is close to legendary. Following up heaviness is the consistency of the guitar work, each and every second seems like their amps are turned up all the way and ringing through your ears non-stop. I had to take about six extra strength Tylenols by the time I listened to this album the whole way through, that’s how hardcore and in your face it was.
Laiho the lead guitarist and vocalist makes up not only catchy and heavy riffs, but is also followed up by the rest of the band. Alexander Kuoppla is rhythm guitar, and could lead in any other band just judging by his exceptional level of talent as well. Kuoppla and Laiho’s lightning quick guitars screech and scream in unison through your headphones non-stop, and sound so well together. Not only that, but the bassist Henkka Blacksmith sends just as catchy and quick bass riffs into your ears along with Kuoppla and Laiho. Blacksmith helps add that heavy element to the band, throwing down bellowing, and seemingly earth shattering riffs that not only back up the tremendous guitars but stand out as well. Another key component to the band is the keyboardist Janne Wirman, who also finds a way to masterfully captivate the listener. His keyboarding adds even more speed to the band’s play, along with melody. Wirman also keeps around some of those softer listeners, who at times adds a nicer softer sound, that is just as fast and catchy as the rest of the band.
The last member of the band that I haven’t mentioned is Jaska Raatikainen, the drummer of Children of Bodom who helped start the band with Laiho. When you have all instruments exploding through your headphones as loud as you do with Children of Bodom you’d think it would be tough to hear at least one of the members. Then again this is where Children of Bodom surprise you; there is no soft member of the band. Each one plays as loud and as good as possible, and Raatikainen is no exception. His drumming sounds like a giant pounding on the earth that stands out and is flawless. Raatikainen mirrors just what Children of Bodom do, he plays loud, heavy, catchy, and as fast as a locomotive. Aside from all the great instrumental work and godlike play there is one last positive about “Follow the Reaper”, and that is the length. No track is under three minutes, and considering the massive amount great play these guys put out there is no dull moment, making each track seem about five minutes longer. Children of Bodom’s sound are basically just another band’s apex of a song just about three to five minutes long. That said each track is in a good range of time and boredom is never apparent during this album at all.
So there you have it, all the pros and all the cons of the album. All in all this album is a must buy, and will not disappoint any listener except those who are not into rock or metal at all. Like I said before the heaviness can be a blessing to some listeners, and a curse to others, yet it is a huge part of Children of Bodom’s sound. Those who I’d recommend if I had to would be any rock, hard rock, or any type of metal fan.
Alexi Laiho- Vocals/Lead guitar
Alexander Kuoppla- Guitar
Henkka Blacksmith- Bass
Janne Wirman- Keyboardist
Jaska Raatikainen- Drums
All tracks are worth a good listen, there really is no bad track
-No bad tracks
-Good amount of time for each song
-Never gets boring or old
-Could be too over-the-top in heaviness for some listners