With their debut, Children of Bodom not only set the bar for all following releases, but also unveiled what is probably their most unique release. This album has a very atmospheric and somewhat black metal feel to it as opposed to the aggressive power metal style they mastered later on. Alexi"s voice was at its highest pitch, keyboards were used for atmosphere instead of melody, but still possessed immaculate guitar playing and samples from violent movies as usual.
Children of Bodom, a five-piece power metal band from Espoo, Finland, began in 1993 under the name Inearthed. After many demos and gigs, the band was finally set to release their debut album on a local Belgium record label. But after a demo somehow landed in the hands of Spinefarm Records, they were signed to Spinefarm on a three record deal. Thus begins a Finnish legacy that would make a respectable name for itself in the underground metal scene. The name Children of Bodom comes from an old Finnish murder tale about a small group of young teenagers. Apparently the group had been camping at Lake Bodom until three of them had been brutally murdered. The tale of murder spawned a legend around Finland as well as the inspiration for the band name. Although the members were young at the time of their debut (all were around 18 when this was released) their musicianship stills has a talented, polished feel that adds to one of music's most distinct sounds.
As I"ve already said, this is Bodom"s most atmospheric release, and my personal favorite along side Follow the Reaper
. The keyboards, while as abundant as ever, pound out few if any solos. They instead add synth feelings such as those found in In the Shadows
, CoB"s oldest Something Wild
song (fun fact: the band considers In the Shadows
as the worst recorded CoB song ever). The song is almost black metal at times with a steady moving rhythm, torturous screams, and more blastbeats than any of their later work. Red Light in My Eyes, Pt 1
also features some badass synth keyboard work. The second part of Red Light in My Eyes
also has some awesome symphonic keyboard wok. If you like power metal and you"re into symphonic music, this album is your very own"thing you"ll like a hell of a lot.
So now that we"ve established this as the most atmospheric Bodom album I"m sure you"re all saying, "Why, Death, if the album is all atmosphere and no melody, why listen to this instead any other Bodom??" Well I say to you, think again. This has some of Bodom"s catchiest, most memorable, and classic songs. Deadnight Warrior
, which I am listening to as we speak, is one of my all-time favorite CoB songs. It has cheesy backing keyboards (even this album has them) and one of the catchiest Bodom riffs ever created. It"s a well-known classic among the HateCrew community and is the song that sparked their ever-growing popularity. The band even filmed a video for it"if you"re looking for a good laugh check it out. But of course who could overlook Lake Bodom
? Probably their second most popular song behind Deadnight Warrior
, this song is somewhat of a glimpse into their later Hatebreeder/Follow the Reaper
style with insane shredding creating the base melody for the entire song. Every second is headbangable, aggressive power metal.
One important aspect of Children of Bodom"s signature sound is the neo-classical theme. Red Light in My Eyes Pt 1
are both built around classical themes. The intro to Red Light in My Eyes Pt 1
was taken from Johan Sebastian Bach"s Two Part Invention #13 in A Minor
. Meanwhile, Red Light in My Eyes Pt 2
features an opening riff from Mozart"s Symphony #25
with a keyboard melody taken from Mozart"s Confutatis
movement from his Requiem Mass
. But overall that song is almost all classically-based. Both parts feature very aggressive lyrics about hate and guitar melodies that never get old (Red Light in My Eyes Pt 1
has an incredible slow ascending lick thqat immediately caught my attention).
Moving towards the more unusual side, The Nail
is one of CoB"s only real punk-sounding songs. The intro riff"yeah, it"s punk. It"s alright though " they quickly pile on the keyboards and the downtuned palm muted guitar and it"s amazing business as usual. Touch Like Angel of Death
also has the only official lyrics on the entire album. Alexi introduced this song in 2000 in Tuska by saying it"s about the most fucked-up situation a man can get into: When you love and hate someone at the same time, should you f
uck her or shoot her? (Info taken from www.Scythes-of-Bodom.com). The main melody of the song sounds like Eric Draven"s rooftop guitar solo. Very cool. The fluid-sounding keyboards make it stand out. And when it"s all said and done, we get a bonus after the entire album. One day in the studio after Alex and Alexander had a bit too much to drink (if you catch my drift) they recorded a two-minute keyboard solo"NOT Janne as you may have guessed. It sounds pretty good considering they were drunk off their asses.
I hope I"ve intrigued you. This album is overlooked way too often for my liking...even by those why love CoB. Fans and un-fans alike check it out.
A mere few recommended songs:
- Deadnight Warrior
- Red Light In My Eyes, Pt 1
- Lake Bodom
- Dark and neoclassical
- Great musicianship
- Unique sound
- May be hard to follow
- Primitive writing