Review Summary: I'm an outcast on the path of rebound...
War is in my heart, death is by my side
I bought into Children of Bodom on a whim, having heard Are You Dead Yet and In Your Face and loving them both from the start. It was heavier than anything I’d ever heard before, but I knew that I’d found a band that I could really sink my teeth into and enjoy, so I took a stroll down to HMV, planning to pick up Are You Dead Yet" and Hate Crew Deathroll. To my luck, AYDY was out of stock, so I settled for this instead. That was one of the best things that ever happened to my musical life.
The first thing that struck me was the low point of the album; Alexi Laiho’s vocals. His indecipherable screech that he used in this album almost put me off at the start, and probably would have succeeded in doing so if it wasn’t for the astounding musicianship present here. When I realized how incredible the instrumental side of the album is, Alexi’s vocals suddenly made sense to me; Children of Bodom
doesn’t need clean vocals or clever lyrics because all their sound required for perfection was something to make it heavier, more unique and generally more badass, which the vocals definitely succeed in doing.
The instrumental work here is – as I mentioned earlier – what has always defined Children of Bodom
. At the core of their sound are the relentless dual guitar work and the short-but-sweet solos that come up so often that it’s no use trying to predict them. The unique part of their music comes from keyboard wizard Janne Wirman who backs up the guitars masterfully, adds his own solos and gives the album most of its flare. Finally, everything is held together by Jaska’s crazy drumming and Henka’s bass, of which I’d like to hear more, since he appears to be at the bottom of the mix. Anyway, that’s enough of the band, enter Hatebreeder
Highlights (all songs are excellent, but these stand out especially):
The title track is one of the albums heavier songs; right from 0:00 it’s low riffing and blastbeats. Hatebreeder
stands out for its brutality and the vocals, which fit even better with this song than the others. The solos are all over the place, but the outro guitar/keyboard dual is one of my favourite solos on the album, which is saying a lot.
Bed Of Razors:
This was my favourite song on the album when I first heard it, mainly because the melody played at the start is both catchy and mysterious, which are both ideal for a good hook. It doesn’t stop there; this song is one of the catchiest on the album and has more melodies than I care to remember. This is also one of the few songs in which Laiho actually put some thought into the lyrics, even if they are a bit disturbing, even if you have no idea what he’s actually screaming.
Children of Bodom:
The band’s self-titled track is a winner. It starts off with a riff that is more or less perfect. However, not content with perfection, Laiho then brings in an even stronger riff that he plays over the top of the first riff, which sets the tone for the rest of the song. The chorus riff is just as good as the first two, the breakdown chugging fits in just right and the weird folk interlude is a reminder of just how unique these guys are.
In summary, this is one of the best albums that I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Although it may be difficult to get into, but it is definitely worth the effort; many brilliant albums are like that (Dream Theater’s Awake
and Opeth’s Morningrise
spring to mind). I hope that I didn’t sound too much like a raving fanboy (I made an effort), but I can’t recommend this enough