Review Summary: Losing sight of the fundamentals which made them great.
I'm not exactly sure where to begin with this album. As a long time Bodom listener, I'm actually not getting around to listening to Blooddrunk
through in its entirety after first discovering the band a couple years ago. I've listened to songs off of the album before, but I've never kicked back and taken an objective listen to the album. I was aware that the consensus on the album was generally poor, and I was getting the impression of that myself over a period of scattered track listenings here and there. So, tonight I finally took the opportunity to give it a solid play-through and get some thoughts down.
Overall, I was very disappointed with the band's 2008 effort. I'm a generally enjoyed Are You Dead Yet?
, and while Bodom builds heavily on their thrash sound and more technical riffs, they abandon an already neglected atmospheric and melodic sounding Children of Bodom. It is without a doubt their weakest release to date. However, to say it is a bad album, does not mean that it can't be a fun listen through at times. The highlights of the album are definitely Tie My Rope
, and Roadkill Mourning
Tie My Rope
and Roadkill Mourning
are, in my opinion, the most "Bodom" tracks in that they have strong, melodic guitar leads, and the keyboards compliment them nicely. Almost every single other track suffers from a problem where the songs feature a stronger keyboard melody presence, as opposed to leading guitars with complimenting keyboards as the typical formula in previous albums. Because of this, Alexi's riffs sound uninspired and weak. I compare Alexi's guitar playing with the Reaper slicing with his scythe - the idea is for a quick, clean and concise cut. Take a look at Alexi's playing on their earlier albums, his picking, scales and riffs are all distinguishable, however in Blooddrunk
his playing is rough. It sounds as if the scythe is having to rip and struggle to cut through, imagining a scythe ripping into the neck of the Reaper's victim in this manner is messy, horrible and gruesome. The same can be said for the majority of the guitar work. This issue is compounded with another of the albums primary problems - the vocals. Singing has never been Alexi's strongpoint, and he's proud to admit that he's a guitar player first and foremost and then a vocalist - what made Children of Bodom unique, however, was how they used Alexi's vocals to their strengths. Rather than attempting to yow in a clear, identifiable manner, Alexi used his vocals to add an additional unrecognizable element of heaviness to the songs to provide that extra punch. This is not the case in Blooddrunk
. Alexi is singing as if he is trying to be a singer, and it does not come across well at all, and at its worst sounds similar to a clogged gutter or garbage disposal.
Lobodomy takes me back to the Something Wild
feel. Not the feel you got while listening to scores of scales and arpeggios, but the dark, evil atmospheric feeling the black metal influenced songs produced. Without a doubt a trademark of Bodom's debut album, the relentless bass and consuming keyboards in Lobodomy
are more than enough to recapture that dark murderous feeling.
Today, Bodom has mostly recovered from the mistakes made in Blooddrunk. Their 2011 release Reckless, Relentless Forever
was a step in the right direction, and 2013's Halo of Blood
represented to a Bodom of the Follow the Reaper
/Hate Crew Deathroll[/i] days. I'm glad I took the time to really get to know this record, which actually completes my play through of Bodom's discography. A few solid band, definitely in my top 5. When it comes down to it though, I have a hard time justifying anything higher than a 2.5.
This is also my first review, so any advice/comments are appreciated.
Tie my Rope
Hellhounds on My Trail