Review Summary: Bodom try to take a step forward and fall back to square one
, Children of Bodom made the decision to follow up Are You Dead Yet?
(which simplified their sound somewhat and added an emphasis on slower, heavier riffs) with a thrashier, more technical album. This idea had a lot of potential, but in the end Blooddrunk
is just another Children of Bodom album, just less focused and of far less quality.
The biggest problem with Blooddrunk is that, although they still have their trademark sound, Children of Bodom sound far too contrived. In the past, their death-from-Lake-Bodom image worked perfectly and in songs like Bodom After Midnight
("Bodom! after midnight, yeah") and Bastards of Bodom
("Just go to hell by the edge of my scythe!"), it was easy to get carried away with the music and forget about how ultimately ridiculous their image and lyrics were, because it sounded like Children of Bodom being Children of Bodom. A lot of the songs on Blooddrunk sound like Children of Bodom trying too hard to be Children of Bodom. I can't describe exactly why, but a huge amount of the album just sounds forced as if they were trying to recreate the magic of previous releases through throwing f-bombs out left, right and centre and by riffing like there's no tomorrow; this is nothing new, but it comes off as hugely uninspired and results in the album as a whole falling down.
The flaws in the album are many, but a few stand out. The title track
starts off with a keyboard part which is great on its own but fits in with the rest of the song not at all, and consequentially it sounds like a few decent riffs and a solo put together without much thought of how it would sound as a whole. Aside from being a generally dreadful song, Lobodomy
features perhaps their worst lyrics to date ("When talking out of your bodom mouth...You mother******s want to give me a lobodomy?") and, once again, falls into the trap off lacking cohesion and sounding jarred.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy is the extent to which Janne Wirman (keyboards), once the figure in the shadows who would add the icing on the cake to songs like Mask of Sanity
, and the perfect solo partner for Laiho, has devolved and been pushed to the background. His parts aren't bad, but they almost always fail to add a cohesive element to whatever song their in, and he doesn't solo nearly enough. Wirman could be described as the soul of Children of Bodom in past releases, and the fact that the band's soul is subdued and slightly dysfunctional pretty much says it all for the album.
There are a few postive aspects to be found here, thank goodness. Firstly, Alexi Laiho's vocals have settled into a sweet spot and sound perfectly scathing and would be much more effective if the songs he was screaming over were more cohesive and less of a mess. There are a few quality songs as well, Smile Pretty for the Devil
being a major standout that takes the thrash elements further than the rest of the album and features a keyboard solo that is by far the most memorable moment of the album. Tie My Rope
does what the rest of the album is supposed to; it explodes in spectacular Bodom fashion and consequentially kicks ass, although the keyboards again fail to fit in with the rest of the song during intervals. Finally, I'd be lying if I didn't say that the chorus of Done With Everything, Die with Nothing
was pretty damn cool ("Take me away and end my suffering, I don't care which way"), and it sounds unlike anything that I have heard from the band before. I love these three songs, even if they are far from the band's best.
is something that fans of Are You Dead Yet? will enjoy to varying degrees, but I can't recommend it as a whole because it sounds far too disjointed and contrived, and - to be honest - it is alarming how quickly and how much Bodom have devolved since Hate Crew Deathroll. Listen at your own peril and enjoy if you are able.
Best 3 songs
Some killer riffs
35 minutes long; doesn't drag as much as it might
Lack of cohesion
1. Smile Pretty for the Devil
2. Tie My Rope
3. Done With Everything, Die With Nothing
4. Hellhounds on my Trail
5. Banned From Heaven