1 of 1 thought this review was well written
It was blatantly obvious from their 1997 debut Something Wild
that Children of Bodom were going to move on to great things. Their debut was a seamless combination of Symphonic Black Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Neo-Classical Metal and even had some hardcore punk influence in mix for good measure. But in the two years since, Bodom has managed t o strip down the formula a bit, while still being able to create one of the best extreme metal records to date with Hatebreeder
The album opener "Warheart" is a song that is probably worst to represent the new album direction (but is still a great song nonetheless, and one of my favorites actually). It starts with a fast, heavy bass riff which leads into a tremolo guitar picked melody and black metal style blast beats. The opening of this song is very reminiscent of the song "In the Shadows" from Something Wild
. One thing that greatly adds to the musical fray is the presence of the keyboards, which add a great deal of atmosphere. After this point in the song though it takes more of a melodic death metal influence. Throughout the many riffs there are great solo harmonies playing over, and this is one of the first songs in Bodom's career where you can begin to tell how great of a guitar player Alexi is. The leads are more intricate and longer then in Something Wild
and this album really shows improvement in his playing. The next song "Silent Night, Bodom Night" has become something of fan favorite over the years and with good reason. It takes a much more classical metal approach to it and the guitars are galloping all the way through, with some great harmonized leads as well. This song also takes the keyboards a lot higher in the mix, and following a trend that will continue into later albums, Janne Wirman's playing takes much more of lead role then just contributing to the atmosphere. The guitar/keyboard duel in the middle of the song is incredible as Alexi and Janne perfectly harmonize (another dominant Bodom trait in the future).
The title track "Hatebreeder" starts out with some aggressive, palm-muted, and fast rhythm guitar. The rhythm is broken up by some harmonized fluid leads, courtesy of Alexi and rhythm guitarist Alexander Kuoppala. One thing I really enjoy about this duo is how they aren't always playing the exact same riffs as each other, which creates some great dynamics. We also get some very well executed blast beats from Jaska Raatikainen. His drumming really drives this album with its pummeling pace. This song has flourishes of some great neo-classical lead guitar work, which really brings me back to Something Wild
. "Bed of Razors" starts out with a creepy kind of keyboard riff, which is later harmonized with the guitar. Alexi lets out a bloodcurdling scream and the rhythm guitar, bass and drums join. The rhythm guitar is mid-tempo but slightly black metal influenced for sure. Something really enjoyable about this song is the lead guitar harmony, which is simple, but sounds beautifully melodic.
“Towards Dead End” picks up the pace again and has some of the best demonstrations of leadwork on the album. The lead guitar line in the intro actually dates back to when C.O.B. was called Inearthed. It comes from their Shining
demo, on the song called “Homeland II”. The chorus part of the song is unique in that it layers Alexi’s vocals with his normal ranged and his more guttural lower vocals, which he rarely uses. He’s kinda singing too…It’s interesting. What really puts the icing on this extreme metal cake, is the solo at the end. Even if I hated the whole song before this, I would still listen to it, just for this part. “Black Widow” starts out with keyboards that make thing of a really creepy, abandoned carnival. I’m not really sure why. “Black Widow incorporates some gang style vocals and a chuggy mid-paced guitar line. That changes midway through to a pretty cool guitar harmonization. And what’s that? Is that the bass I hear? Surprisingly enough for an extreme metal band the bass is audible through the whole album, filling the void that a lot of other extreme bands leave behind. Towards the end, I really like how Alexi alternates between his normal growls and his lower ones.
”Wrath Within” isn’t one of Bodom’s most well known songs but its one of best combinations of melody and brutality. The guitars change pace a lot and actually in some parts have a very death metal feel, while every now and then the keyboards bring in the melody. The guitar solo and ending section have a very classic metal feel, especially to the harmonized rhythm at the end. “Children of Bodom” is basically the perfect embodiment of the sound of the band. Keyboards and guitar duel solos are present all without the songs, kept in time chaotic drumming and a thumping bass. This song also brings back some of the neo-classical elements from the 1st CD. The chorus is also probably one of the best and catchiest you’ll ever find from the band, actually utilizing backgrounds vocals.
If you’re a Bodom fan by now and don’t know “Downfall”, SHAME ON YOU! While not my favorite Bodom song, it’s a classic for the band. It starts out with melodic keyboards and a melodic death metal riff. When the verse starts to this song I actually get strongly remind of early Dimmu Borgir, I guess because of its structure and its atmosphere. The song is aggressive but has gaps to breathe with its airy synths. It has yet another (but great!) guitar/keyboard solo. The harmonized guitar in this song, whilst rare and short really brings great melody with its immaculate timing.
Continuing to ravage the same path they started in 1997, Children of Bodom in 1999 were poised to take over the world.