Review Summary: Though it certainly doesn’t stand alongside the pre-Hate Crew Deathroll releases, Blooddrunk brings more consistency and value than its lackluster predecessor.
Many experienced bands succumb to the temptation to change (aka simplify) their sound after a couple or so releases. Children of Bodom certainly aren’t an exception to this all too prevalent fact. However, the quality of their more recent works has, thus far, been superior to what other groups tend to deliver and remain stuck in quality-wise. 2005’s Are You Dead Yet?
saw the band take their shifts made on Hate Crew Deathroll
a little further; except without bringing quite as much good material to the table. As a result, the reactions were mixed with the undying “new fans gained, old fans lost” circumstance applying. Fast-forward to 2008 with the release of Blooddrunk
as Alexi Laiho and company try to correct what mistakes they made without taking a “return to roots” approach. The results? An adequate, slightly improved successor.
One of the key problems with Are You Dead Yet?
was its lack of truly energetic or even somewhat heavy tracks which was at least upheld on Hate Crew Deathroll
. Although songs such as the two released singles, “In Your Face” and “Trashed, Lost & Strungout” saw better utilization, the weaker songs (primary culprit: “Punch Me I Bleed”) left the entire package feeling bittersweet. With that said, Blooddrunk
doesn’t change things up drastically from a stylistic standpoint, given the music is still rather thrash-oriented. The difference here, however, is that we have more of the FFF (fast, frenzied and frantic) Bodom that has made some of the newer songs enjoyable.
Take album opener “Hellhounds On My Trail” for instance, which kicks things off on a quick note, serving as a proper pace-setter. Other songs such as “Tie My Rope,” “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing” and album closer “Roadkill Morning” give us more of the comfortably zealous sound the band are often renowned for. We also get the best idea of band’s technicality on these tracks with Laiho and Latvala being the key players. One shame is that Janne Warman doesn’t provide as much keyboard input as one might expect, usually standing out only during the trade-off solos with Laiho and on certain intros. Instead, the album seems geared towards straightforward yet crazed heavy metal. Fortunately, Blooddrunk
works sufficiently on this level, with the overall satisfaction at least higher than its predecessor.
This isn’t to say that the album is exempt from potential faults, however. Those familiar with Bodom’s work in-general know all too well that lyrics have never been their strong point. And much like Are You Dead Yet?
, the words with the music are trivial, silly and even idiotic at points. Though Children of Bodom aren’t a thinker’s band, they’ve certainly been around long enough to deliver at least fair songwriting credentials. Additionally, even with great, fast songs, there are still some unremarkable, slower moments found throughout, but namely in the middle stretch. These points are at least handled better than those on Are You Dead Yet?
, but are all the more evidence such a style shouldn’t continue to be tackled by the group.
In spite of still having problems found on the band’s other recent works, Blooddrunk
still encompasses a side to Children of Bodom that, though not preferred, is still entertaining. Being hardly more than 35 minutes, the band wisely choose not to overstay their welcome with the relatively basic song formulas present. We might not see a triumphant return to the band’s original style anytime soon, but I won’t feel betrayed if they can at least maintain the consistency implied by this, Hate Crew Deathroll
and, to a lesser extent, Are You Dead Yet?