Review Summary: Somehow Children of Bodom just made one of the best albums of their career.
In 2013 Children of Bodom finally got back to their roots and started playing some awesome metal once again. Halo of Blood was able to shed the terrible thrash imitation that found itself drenched within the layers of Bodom’s music and return to the shredding melo-death/power/neoclassical metal that made them a respected band within the metal community. Once the band announced their follow up I Worship Chaos, people who had enjoyed the return to form in Halo in Blood (me included) wondered what these Finns would do next. Would it be a continuation of the conglomeration of various metal genres that littered the band’s first four albums and Halo of Blood, or would it go back to the Blooddrunk and Relentless Reckless Forever days?
Right from the beginning riff in “I Hurt” we can tell that Bodom has continued to stay in the direction of Halo of Blood. In fact, this entire album is full of juicy metal riffage that the band has not had since Hate Crew Deathroll. I counted at least one memorable moment in every song, which turns out to be pretty amazing since this was the band that only four years ago released the overly generic Relentless Reckless Forever. Maybe it has to do with Alexi being sober now, or the band having some sort of revitalization due to Roope Latvala’s departure. Whatever the case is, I have not headbanged this hard through an entire Bodom album since I first heard Follow the Reaper almost a decade ago. Listen to “Widdershins” (especially the buildup from 1:30 to the awesome scream at 1:51) and “Hold Your Tongue” to hear some of the strongest material the band has written. They are able to channel their inner 1997-2003 selves for this.
One extremely interesting aspect of this album is the presence of multiple “slower” songs. The band has always had songs like “Angels Don’t Kill” or “Dead Man’s Hand on You” to contrast the balls to the wall pace, but this album has three of them placed within the nine tracks. Lead single “Morrigan” is the most well known song off the album at this point in time and is the fastest of the three “slow” songs, but the band’s ability to create a haunting song while keeping a steady tempo still makes this one of the better songs on the album. “Prayers for the Afflicted” begins with a slow keyboard intro (for the first time in who knows how long?) and plods its way through five minutes of the least Bodomy music ever. “All For Nothing” sounds like a screwed up 80s power ballad with Alexi’s vocals, but has this sweet keyboard solo near the end that yells the band’s earliest material. These two songs are definitely different for the band, but knowing that they can diversify their sound and create something unique is impressive for these guys.
As a whole “I Worship Chaos” might end up going down as one of my favorite Bodom albums. It just riffs too hard and has the quality to stand the test of time like Something Wild and Follow the Reaper has for me. The only complaint that comes out of this album is that the band walks a rather thin line of returning back to the Blooddrunk sound in spots during a song like “My Bodom.” That aside, Children of Bodom prove that the phenomenal return to their original sound in Halo of Blood was not in a vacuum and they are able to release back to back great albums again.