Children of Bodom
Hexed


4.0
excellent

Review

by Scheumke USER (10 Reviews)
March 8th, 2019 | 164 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Getting your quick fix of melodic fury

The year was 2005. I was 15 at the time and my friends and I bought tickets for my first ever metal concert. We decided to have a crazy lan-party the day before and we all stayed up all night and the following day playing games. Then, red-eyed and tired as we were after being awake for roughly 30 hours, we went to the venue, where Children of Bodom would be playing. Even though part of me just wanted to sleep, part of me was too excited, ‘my first real concert just with friends’! I reckon most of you know the feeling. I don’t know where I found the energy, but I (along with the other 1500 people present) went completely bat*** crazy. To this day it remains one of my fondest concert memories.

You would expect that Children of Bodom would hold a special place in my heart after that, and to a certain extent it does. Yet after Are You Dead Yet?, the quality of the material released made such a drop that I completely lost sight of them. So it was quite a surprise when I listened to the first singles off their new album Hexed and found them thoroughly entertaining.

The first thing I noticed when listening to Hexed in full is the production. The songs sound fantastic, thanks to a very clean production job that, even though polished, sounds very organic. The trademark bass guitar and snare sounds are still present, but it is much more nuanced when you compare it to their older material. A dialed down compression gives everything more room to breathe and makes it easier to listen to. It also gives the record a more focused feeling where small changes, such as punching the bass to give it that extra oomph when needed, have a much bigger effect.

The songs themselves seem to cater to what their fans want. The energy is high, the tempos are fast and the vocals are angry. Songs like 'Glass Houses' and 'Kick in the Spleen' fly by with furious bpm’s and light speed riffing. Yet for all their fury, they never forget to be melodic where the song calls for it. Where this combination of ferociousness and catchiness is well balanced, the true magic happens and highlights appear. The title song is the best example of this. The neoclassical elements, enhanced by Janne Wirman’s use of a harpsichord sound, blend very well with the furious guitars to give it an almost progressive feel. Don’t worry though, there is never any doubt what style of music Children of Bodom is playing, for the moment the verse kicks in, we’re back in headbanging and moshing territory.

Alexi Laiho and co. have always been excellent musicians. There is an abundance of (twin lead) solos and a certain complexity to the riffing, so that clearly has not changed. A song like 'Under Glass and Clover' shows that Children of Bodom still know how to create a catchy tune that does not sound like a rehashing of old ideas, even though that song could’ve easily been placed on Are You Dead Yet?.

What I do notice after a couple of listens though, is that the songs aren’t as catchy as their older material, especially in the vocal department. Where their older ‘hits’ are full with sing along choruses, on Hexed I found there is not a single chorus that really sticks. This is mainly due to the lack of hooks and catchy phrases that were so prevalent in their previous outings. Even though they were pretty juvenile, they added something to shout along with. The juvenile aspect hasn’t completely disappeared though, for a song like ‘Platitudes and Barren Words’ still gives us phrases like “Come on just lay it on the line. You’re running on fumes and out of time”.

So here we are, 14 years after my friends and I first went crazy at their concert. Hexed shows that Children of Bodom are still very much alive. They show that they still have the energy and inspiration to create a couple of very entertaining melodic deathmetal songs, which speak to the teenager in me. With 11 songs and a 44 minute runtime, the entire affair is very focused and never overstays its welcome, making it a sweet fix of adrenaline that might even have some staying power.



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user ratings (169)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2019


8940 Comments


Not too bad my man.

"And so, big was my surprise" - that phrasing seems off

Songs are usually in quotations and albums in italics, but that's just a formatting trope that's generally followed.

The ending kinda implied this is just a brief "nice"-worthy album and not much more, which seems contradictory to the 4.0 score. Neveretheless, was a good write-up on the whole, liked the little personal touch.

Scheumke
March 8th 2019


528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks my man! Appreciate the feedback. Edited it a little : )

Digging: Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2019


15478 Comments


Man, LAN parties, good memories. Nothing to add to what Mars said already. I gotta check this one.

Digging: Ioanna Gika - Thalassa

Hawks
March 8th 2019


69286 Comments


Can’t wait to jam this. m/

Digging: Hecate Enthroned - Embrace Of The Godless Aeon

ButtBoy
March 8th 2019


2743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holy shit this is weirdly good. I don't listen to them much, but reminds me of old In Flames

frozencarl
March 8th 2019


628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dope review per usual, but "recon" in the first paragraph should be reckon.



children of bodom was also my first metal show, but 6 years later in 2011. i also just picked up tix for their tour with wolfheart and swallow the sun and cannot be more excited





Digging: Horrified (UK) - Allure Of The Fallen

Scheumke
March 8th 2019


528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha silly type-o. Thanks, edited!

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2019


25083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've only given this one listen so far, but very impressed. It's AYDY? meets FTR and I love that collision of sound.

Digging: Secret Band - LP2

Hawks
March 8th 2019


69286 Comments


Fuck Brandon you just got me hype with that comparison. AYDY is top 3 COB for me for sure.

DungeonBoy
March 8th 2019


5792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review dude! Didn't know this was out, definitely gonna check the whole thing based on the singles. YOW!

Digging: Inculter - Fatal Visions

Poet
March 8th 2019


6013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"It's AYDY? meets FTR and I love that collision of sound."



This 100% It's definitely their catchiest record since HCDR

Scheumke
March 8th 2019


528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AYDY is top 3 COB for me for sure. [2]

oltnabrick
March 8th 2019


36674 Comments


reminds me of their old stuff. reminds me of early high school lol

Digging: Absurd (GER) - Totenlieder

DungeonBoy
March 8th 2019


5792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah dude, band is pure nostalgia for me. When Follow the Reaper came out my friends and I would just sit in my car and jam it in the parking lot wayyyyyy too loud.

BigPleb
March 8th 2019


57836 Comments


This reminds me of HCD, a lot.

Cool af cos that’s their best album.

Hawks
March 8th 2019


69286 Comments


HCDR is like 4th or 5th for me but yeah it’s fantastic.

Slex
March 8th 2019


6431 Comments


Very excited to listen to this
Good review bud

Digging: Blessed (CAN) - Salt

benerooni
March 8th 2019


140 Comments


This is pretty good, unequivocally a step up from the snooze fest that is I Worship Chaos. Hecate's Nightmare is one weird song.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2019


11600 Comments


Damn, is this that good? Will give it a listen.

Good review dude, always nice to read some personal story which is pertinent to the band/album.

WretchedCacophony
March 8th 2019


1199 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I have a hard time imagining this album is any good. That's likely due to the fact that I hate the hard keyboard sound they incorporate in many of their older tracks.

I could probably enjoy listening to Follow the Reaper again, but listening to HCDR once last year was enough for another 5 years lol



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