Review Summary: Children of Bodom's sophomore debut Hatebreeder is a great improvement from their debut with Something Wild. The songs are put together much better than they previously would have been, and the level of musicianship that we have grown to expect from COB i
Although releasing several EPs before 1997's Something Wild, Children of Bodom were not yet known as COB, but by Inearthed. After several years of *** treatment by an Indie label in Finland, COB decided to pull some strings and lie a little bit in order to get out of their deal and become what we know today as Children of Bodom.
So that's my short ***ty intro, and now on to the review...
Children of Bodom's sophomore album was released on April 26, 1999, two years after the release of Something Wild. Even though many bands have encountered the "sophomore slump", COB managed to avoid it by making a fine metal album. It is not as polished as the more recent COB albums, notably Hatecrew Deathroll and Are You Dead Yet", but it is consistent from song to song and shouldn't be to much of a bother to listeners.
Children of Bodom (Hatebreeder) was...
Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho - Vocals and Guitars
Janne Warman - Keyboards
Jaska W. Raatikainen - Drums
Hennka T. Blacksmith - Bass
Alexander Kuoppala - Guitars
Although there is some controversy over COB's exact genre, Hatebreeder seems to fall under the genre of melodic death metal. Overall the album is on the shorter side (38:06) and only has 9 tracks, but they are of good quality and are worth a listen.
Alexi's vocals on this album are a little hard to understand at certain points, but for the most part they are fine. The vocals on this album are noticeably lower than on any other other COB album out there, but they don't fall into the "cookie monster" style. The lyrics are so-so, and could be improved upon, they are full of the reaper esque references COB are known for:
is calling for you to come home
With the thrust of a switchblade
On the grip of a madman
And the waters of Bodom
turn a blood shade of red
As the Children Of Bodom
Take their last breath"
Lyrical exerpt from "Silent Night, Bodom Night"
The guitar work by Alexi and Alexander is also very good, but at some points I can't help but wonder, "have I heard this before"" Some of the riffs are very memorable and listening to them again to more pleasure than pain, but others seem to drag out and grow repetetive. Such riffs as the introduction to "Silent Night, Bodom Night" are very, very boring, and even though they do improve as the song goes on, I often skip the song because I don't want to hear the 30 seconds of boring bland riffage. "Children of Bodom" and "Hatebreeder" however, are two songs that incorporate some of the most original COB riffs to date, and are great songs from start to finish. The solos are a bright spot on the album, and they compliment the songs nicely. Alexi avoids mindlessly shredding, even though he is more than capable, and chooses to add solos that do something for the song.
The bass work and drumming on the album is also very good. At certain points the double bass feels a little overused, but this is rare mistake that Jaska does not make often on the album. His drumming is effective and adds a nice touch to the album. His cymbal work is nice; it's not used in every measure, but when it is used it is in the right spots. Hennka really shows that he too can hold his own instrumentally on this album with some of his best bass work he has ever done in my opinion. His quick intircate bass line in "Warheart" sets up the rest of the song nicely, and his work on such songs as "Children of Bodom" and "Downfall" is great.
And now for the Janne and his keyboards...in all honesty I was alittle dissappointed. They aren't bad at all, they're just all the same. The sound reminds of "Mortal Kombat" actually...he does have his time to shine though. "Downfall" and "Children of Bodom", they two singles off of Hatebreeder are heavy keyboard tracks. His ability is never in question, but the creativity he displayed on "Something Wild" and the latter COB albums is simply not there. All in all, it comes down to a hit or miss with each track. His solos however are a completely different entity. They are all spot on and serve a great role in the songs. Janne and Alexi certainly a powerful soloing duo.
For the most part Hatebreeder has it's share of great tracks, as well as it's share of mediocre tracks. For the youngband that COB was at the time, this album is a perfect example of what theey were at that time: brash, young, fast, and still learning.
My Track Opinions:
1) Warheart - 7/10
2) Silent Night, Bodom Night - 5/10
3) Hatebreeder - 9/10
4) Bed of Razors - 7/10
5) Toward the End - 7/10
6) Black Widow - 8/10
7) Wrath Within - 9/10
8) Children of Bodom - 10/10
9) Downfall - 9/10
The bottom line is that this album is an overall very good. It just has a few rough spots here and there that, for a lack of better words, are kind of irritating.