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Let me justify my rage, in case the other reviews down below did not make it clear. After releasing four epic studio masterpieces and one medium-rare one, they give us the poorly produced, badly written, weakly developed, lazily crafted, immense fuck up that was Blooddrunk.
I’m going to let that name sink in for a moment. Repeat it a few times out loud, write it, I do not know, but its a very bad name. The past albums featured not only awe inducing, but powerful and eerie covers (except for Are You Dead Yet? But that is another story), yet Blooddrunk (ugh, I’m already tired of typing it), have… I do not even fucking know. It is so convoluted! It looks like the reaper hitting something, and blood is coming out, and it delivers a blank and negative feeling.
That is the artwork, how does the sound catch up? Well, to put it simply, very bad. Okay, I’ll try to contain myself from lapsing again. The first song “Hellhounds on My Trail” (probably the only good song name found in here) is a fast-paced thrash pit. Before this Bodom already did some good fast songs. Silent Night, Bodom Night was pretty neat, and even their forced “In Your Face” was a good rush. What’s in store now? A song that is convoluted and confusing.. The production quality is horrible, and the drums sound terrible (the high hat feels as it belongs in a The Sword album, more than in a Bodom one), and the growls feel as robotic as Angela Gossow's. The creative riffs found in songs like Living Dead Beat, Follow the Reaper and Bodom After Midnight are not here. Not to say that the guitars are bad, they just sound unpolished. Also say goodbye to keyboard. Jane is as useless as Cristiano Trionfera was in Labyrinth. The keyboards that once delivered jaw-dropping riffs are now only to build an atmosphere.
Why am I focusing all on the first song? To explain that, I’ll say that the originality wore off, and the songs all sound the same. The only difference is the pace. Some are fast as shit, like Roadkill Morning, and there are some slow ones, like Banned From Heaven. Oh yes, Banned From Heaven. What most people consider the worst song ever made by the Bodom boys, and it is forced as all Hell. The keys are boring, and mostly uncreative, the vocals are atrocious, and the worst part is that this is the longest track on the album.
Every single aspect of this album feels wrong. I get the feeling that they went for a more Hatecrew sound (the bass is a good example, and the lack of melodies and the clusterfuck of headbanging oriented sounds are good examples of why I say this) but still held on to the structure and songwriting used in Are You dead Yet? and Follow the Reaper. It is as they tried mixing both styles at the same time. The problem is that it failed. They could not find a point that connected these two, and decided to play halfway through the path. If not, this could have been a great release. However, the mix of styles, the poorly written drums and guitar lines, the lazy solos and lack of keyboards left me a dry mouth, even to comment on how rushed this production was.
With all that said, is there a redeeming factor on this? Yes. To be honest, there are only a few. The ending of Smile Pretty For the Devil has a keyboard/guitar outro that is well thought out. The song Tie My Rope has an epic chorus, even though it is a clusterfuck of instruments, and Done With Everything, Die for Nothing has some cool breakdowns. I guess that is all to say. Songs feel more recycled than Powerwolf albums. The aforementioned Smile Pretty For the Devil resembles Are You Dead Yet? (And so does the beginning of Done With Everything, Die for Nothing); Banned From Heaven sounds like Punch Me, I Bleed, but glossier and Lobodomy and One Day You Will Cry could be easily be in the “rejected tracks for Hatecrew Deathroll” list.
That was Blooddrunk in a nutshell. It is not good. Its not even so bad it is good. To put it shortly, it is a failed experiment. I am not saying that failed experiments are bad, Fear of the Dark was one, and it was fantastic. It falls flat because of a rushed production, a set of uncreative riffs and a lack of substance. It was certainly a nice try, and I respect them for trying, but if it failed, it failed.
Oh, by the way, the cover they did for Ghost Riders In The Sky in the limited edition was also bad. Chrome Division and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter did better versions of it.
I don't understand all the hate over this album. I really don't. When it comes to Children of Bodom, most metalheads seem to peg them as sort of like a Metallica of melodic death metal. The band whose early albums made a profound impact on the genre, but later abandoned their roots for a more mainstream sound, thus becoming more popular. So basically, what they're suffering from is the "too many people like this band so they can't be cool" syndrome. Well, there is no denying that Bodom's first four albums (Something Wild, Hatebreeder, Follow the Reaper, Hate Crew Deathroll) are true masterpieces and the band's strongest collection of work. That does not mean that their new material has no value though, just because the elitist douchebags remain perched on top of their high horses, feeling the need to put people down about their taste of music and crucify any band that reaches a million views on YouTube.
The first track "Hellhounds on my Trail" hits the ground running and sets the tone of the album effectively, as it remains pretty fast paced throughout. Alexi said during the writing process that he was feeling particularly aggressive, and boy does it show in the material. The riifs for the most part are extremely fast, yet very technical and at times, it feels like you're listening to a thrash metal album. You can hear the Slayer influence on "Hellhounds on my Trail," with Alexi even doing a pretty cool chromatic tapping solo in the middle, very reminiscent of Kerry King. So clearly, the band is exploring new territories on this release.
This is by no means a bad thing however, as the music is still very well written and all of the typical Bodom elements found on previous releases are still prevalent, minus the early neoclassical influences. The catchy melodies and harmonies, the unison shouts, the mesmerizing keyboard and guitar solos from Janne and Alexi... it's all there. Jaska's drumming is excellent as always, and the band has never sounded tighter in my opinion. Whoever says Alexi Laiho is a deteriorating guitarist who wrote this album hungover probably had a little too much to drink themselves. Alexi remains a phenomenal guitarist, with Blooddrunk actually containing some of the better solos of his career. He also knows how to tone it down a bit and presents us with one of his catchiest tunes ever, in the form of another metal ballad "Banned from Heaven," which is somewhat in the vein of "Angels Don't Kill." The guy just shreds like a boss, end of story. Janne hasn't lost a step either, with some excellent keyboard work on display, particularly on the fifth track "Smile Pretty for the Devil," a progressive track that ends with Janne and Alexi having a keyboard/guitar face-off. The two duke it back and forth, with evocative solos that demonstrate the technical prowess they are so often rightfully praised for. Yep, these guys sure know their shit.
There is one thing that I will complain about mind you, and that's the lyrics. Children of Bodom have never been known for writing quality lyrics, which is fair enough given that the clear focus is on the instruments anyways. But still, would it kill Alexi to write more meaningful lyrics than "Watching the c*** but before I'm into worries I do better think fast. Step beyond the legs risk self-destruction one more sucker wait again." Like, really? As for his barking vocals, they work well for most of the album as it fits the style well, but there are times like in LoBodomy (by far the album's worst song) where it gets so irritating that you wish he'd just shut up. Fortunately, neither of these setbacks are enough to dismiss the album, as all the other areas compensate for Alexi's generic melodeath vocals.
Overall, Blooddrunk establishes itself as a very good album. Not great, but good and a worthy addition to their discography. It's personally my favorite album of their last three (the other two being AYDY and RRF) and just can't understand why it is the target of so much criticism. There is no reason any metal fan should not enjoy Blooddrunk, as it is composed of all that makes a good melodic death metal album. All five musicians are at the top of their game, and we receive a solid effort from a band that continues to demonstrate growth in their sound.
Recommended Tracks: Hellhounds on my Trail, Blooddrunk, Smile Pretty for the Devil, Banned From Heaven
At one point in my life, Children of bodom was one of my favorite bands. The epic harmonies and symphonies found within the first 4 albums captured my young musical mind. Then they decided to release Are You Dead Yet? Which in itself was a bit a of dip in quality (ok, more of a massive drop). But I wasn't prepared to write them off. Until 2008, when they decided to release the shitstain upon their discography known as Blooddrunk.
What we start with on Blooddrunk is a couple decent songs that make you think "Hey, maybe Are You Dead Yet? was just the bands one shit album". I really believed for a moment that this album was going to be a return to form. The melodies were back, the darkness and emotion was back. Janne had his shining moments, giving his own contribution to the album. Yes, Hellhounds and the title track led me to believe that what we had was a decent album on the way.
Now, what you actually get on Blooddrunk, once you hit Lobodomy, is a dumbed down, literally drunk version of COB. It was now, that I started to realize how uninspired this album sounds. Gone are the classical symphonies and amazing solos backed by keys that gave you chills. Instead, you are given an onslought of melodies that sound like Alexi wrote (while hungover), in a much more thrashy way than they normally would. Yes, the album is faster and heavier than most of their other albums. But the problem is not found within the heaviness. It's the fact that after the first 2 songs, the album tends to verge on uninspired filler.
Onto the individual performances... Alexi, the star of the band undoubtedly, has never been the most original soloist ever. His style, as you probably know, mixes the classical vibes of Yngwie Malmsteen and the shred of Randy Rhodes. This has worked for Laiho in the past, but many of the solos on here don't for whatever reason. The solos feel bored. They don't come out and punch me in the face, nor do they bring me to tears like they once could. Roope gives his share on the album too. And actually, he seems to have the better solos on the album (in my opinion). Janne's keys are bland and at times cheesy. Jaska has turned into a thrash drummer (make of that what you will). And finally, Henka, whom I'm sorry to if I spelled his name wrong, is so lost within the mix that I can hardly tell he's on the album aside from Smile Pretty for the Devil.
All in all, you're probably asking what I've told you about this album besides that it's a generic, uninspired piece of garbage. Well, I'm not sure how to explain it to you any better than that. Picture Children of Bodom writing the same riffs they wrote on Hate Crew Deathroll, except smashed and the riffs they're writing resemble something inbetween Seasons In the Abyss and Slaughter of the Soul (two otherwise good albums).
So finally, asking myself "Why are you writing this review? For one of the worst albums in your collection? 2 and a half years after its release?". Well, I guess the arrival of their new album has stirred up the bleak hope of a good album from the band that used to blow me away upon every listen. And I guess that I just want you, the reader, to stay away from this horseshit. Stay away from the immature, bland, wannabe melodeath album known as Blooddrunk. The 20% is being generous, considering I'm giving 2 out of the 10 songs, including that godawful cover, a good rating.
Recommended Songs: Hellhounds On My Trail, Blooddrunk
Over the past 5 years or so, there has been a lot of bickering about how Bodom changed their sound and consequently are no longer 'the band to watch out for', but as a die-hard fan, I can only look at their work with an eye for positive aspects. Although, I do agree that their work till Follow the Reaper was drop-dead-perfect, I still am open-minded enough to accept what they have tried to do.
Hellhounds on my Trail is a really good album-opener with the traditional 'Orch-hit' sound that Janne has been throwing at us for over a decade. The pace of the song really gets you nodding your head in sync with the blastbeats. Jaska's double bass has a lot more thump to this time, rather than just being 'tatata...tatata...' Alexi's vocals are nearly the same as that in Are you Dead Yet, but who cares if he sounds pissed enough to pump you up as well too. The riffing remains basic throughout, with a really catchy chorus section and a later coming breakdown where the synths join in to add that extra 'umphh'. The solos in this song are rather thrashy(reminded me a lot of Slayer) and even Janne does a really quick shred to commence the headbanging part of the song, which was great, but sounded too much in the vein of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. If you are aware of what Bodom's 'real' sound was, this might be a wafting surprise as to why they went so out of line...but well, as the song ends and proceeds to the next one, the listener can only wish, 'I hope they don't do this again.'
You know what? They do! Blooddrunk, the next song(the title track) has a really good triplet intro from Janne which is replicated on the guitar. BUT...the rest of the song is almost unquestionably like a Lamb of God song...and there even seems to be a small spoken sentence by Randy Blythe(or a reallllllly drunk Alexi.) The influence is obvious. But the solos are really catchy. Janne uses progressive scales to give variations to his leads and even Alexi does a breathtaking follow-up. But thats all this song has to offer. Hell, if it had not been for that intro or this solo, I would not have bothered to listened to it ever again.
Lobodomy is probably a saver. If it not had been for this song, the listener would literally have had tears in his eyes. The intro is a Jaska show-boat as he pulls of a cool roll and an infectious double bass extravaganza which is a real treat to the ears. Keyboards lay back to provide atmosphere with choir-strings. Alexi and Roope keep the riffing almost negligible. 'Bodom can do way more than this!', is only what one can think. Before the solo, there's a 'Dont stop at the top' inspired bridge section, and Alexi thought nobody would notice. But its all right since the solos that come later on are really catchy and weirdly, singable as well. Alexi's vocals are a bit weaker, but still somehow have that punch.
One day you will cry...hmmm, not really. This one has a Terminator-2 / Robocop type of intro to it. But is really catchy and gets the song going on. The keyboards do more than just sit back in this one, but there is a really unnecessary techno-fizz at around 1:26 which is highly annoying! What is wrong with you Janne Wir, man?
But, the solos come to the rescue once again. Alexi plays a tasteful scale-run before handing over to Janne, who for the first time, does a chinese-inspired thing in between his finger-feast. Odd, but loved it. The soloing and leadwork is longer and better and that's the best part about this song. The album almost comes back to life.
Smile Pretty for the Devil has that bass-intro thingy that was, I guess, last heard in the song, Warheart. The keyboards are slightly eerie with the orchestral strings bought in. The riffing improves in this one. Alexi does some finger-flexing on the frets, surely. This song has a unique aggression to it...as though ordering the listener to stay put with the ear-phones. The chorus of this song is brilliantly composed. The keysolo is a wee-bit funny affair, but still retains my respect for Wirman's magical abilities. Alexi takes over and plays a neat one with a palpable sweep. The outro of this song has Janne playing a riff with his lead sound before he ends it with a C-note.
Now, this is what I am talking about. Tie my Rope starts off with a really bad roller-spin sound blaring out of the Roland JV-2080 sound module. Its not incorrigibly bad, but its not the Bodom we want. Throughout the song, you will find elements of American thrash, which is hard to ignore. The interlude is a nice Jimme-dee tone put into good use by Janne, who later on pulls up a complex solo to give way to Alexi's 80's inspired shred feast. The chorus in this song is the best one in the whole album. Including the lyrics, which are by far the best.
Done with Everything, Die for nothing isnt a really song you may want to come back to listen to. The song kickstarts with a lightning fast lick that Alexi plays expertly. A slow riff, a rather catchy one, keeps true the whole song. During the solo, all three speedsters join in to shred the hell out of their instruments. A good song, but a rather gloomy one. Not interesting, that much.
Aah, Banned from Heaven is the soft-ballad thing which these guys love to do ever since that Angel's don't kill megahit. All in all, I like this song only because the chords used are my favorites. Nice scale changes and slow-downs make this song a cool listen. The breakdown is similar to the one in HATE ME! Janne does know how to make catchy stuff. Alexi and Roope both play a wonderful solo each which gives this song the strength it needs, quality wise. By the time it ends, its almost gives you a worn-out, out of the desert feel...
...but Roadkill Morning, wakes you up!!! You can flex your muscles with this one as it has a very nice tempo to it. You may come across a highly groovy riff somewhere in the middle followed by a beautifully ambient keyboard chorus. Alexi's vocals are really fierce and distorted like his guitar work. But the highlight of this song is the soloing, as always. Alexi starts off with a bang and Janne continues the speedrun with an extremely melodic choice of notes. The song resumes the chorus section and ends with what appears to be a camera click.
I dont want to be over critical with Bodom's work, cuz when I want to have melody and thrash sewn together, i listen to Bloodrunk. Its an improvement over Are You Dead Yet, all right...but they can do without those fake, radio-ish vocal sentences, the irritating techno-sounds and the overly distorted guitar. Some more amount of arpeggios, more keyboard-guitar duels and some European sounding melodies and the classical influence will truly bring back Bodom. They can keep the drumming and bass work the same...i thought it was the best ever Bodom could concieve. Thanks for reading.
Best songs : Roadkill Morning, Lobodomy, Tie My Rope.
Hail COB! m/
CHILDREN OF BODOM's rise to the metallic stratosphere should not be without scrutiny. While I think they deserve such accolades and have apparently scraped their way to the top, their detriment upon recieving this exposure comes off as problematic. "Something Wild", "Hatebreeder" and "Follow the Reaper" should have been the gold standard to which the listening public should have latched onto, if you ask me. "Hate Crew Deathroll" was a decent album, but was obviously the downward spiral of things to come, that which would bring us the detestable "Are You Dead Yet?" With that latest output, the future seemed dark and cloudy for the once-and-future-kings of Finnish metal, and upon word of a new album, trepidation and plentiful eggshells to be walked across were possibly to pass...
But they tried...oh Lordy Lord how they tried...
While not bringing back the Mozarty hell we once knew and loved, "Blooddrunk" does, if nothing else, redeem the BODOM boys from the mid-paced dreck of previous outings. A definative thrash metal backbone is key to some very meaty and chunky riffs heaped upon ear-drum annihilating percussion work that at times clutters the final mix. The energetic sensation of a band truly loving the hell out of their performance that was so missing in the last two albums has returned, albeit a bit more reigned in, and with a proverbial manicure as opposed to unsheathed claws. But while this comes off as a far tastier outing of metallic wonderment, Alexi and company plow through sweet-but-recycled riffery and slightly symphonic interludes with a phoned-in performance, a "BODOM by numbers", if you will, where melodic death metal guitar leads mix with double-bass percussive abuse, mixed-down synth lines that are just sorta there, and weaker, croaking vocals where once hateful screams permeated. But the band has more than their fair share of positivity as seen in the heavier, more chaotic works of "LoBodomy", "Tie My Rope", "Smile Pretty for the Devil" (with a very nice, hypnotic guitar lead near the last few riffs) and "Roadkill Morning", where their antics combine into neck-wrecking madness the likes of which would make any ardent metalhead proud. However, that doesn't mean all that glitters is gold, as a few less-than-stellar tracks litter within the cluttered masses of riffs and blast beats, from "Banned from Heaven" to "Hellhounds on my Trail"...not necessarily bad songs, but are best left as background music instead of the attention-seeking merriment the rest of the disc provides.
So all in all this is not a perfect CHILDREN OF BODOM album, but it still goes to show that if the band tried they can put out a quality product. Let's hope future works expand on this knowledge.
This Finnish based band was formed in 1997. Their name came from a murder which occurred in 1960 at Lake Bodom. 3 out of 4 teens were stabbed to death but the murder mystery is still unresolved. On 'Something Wild', the band started off playing melodic death metal. However, 'Hatebreeder' was the first album that I've ever heard by them. It was wholly unique in my estimation and I've been a fan ever since. Their newer style of metal seems like a combination of melodic death and thrash metal combined. At least that's my opinion in regards to 'Blooddrunk' wholeheartedly.
There seems to be a lot of mixed opinions in regards to this new release. I disliked it at the start and now I'm pretty glued to it. It isn't a poor effort by the band to be honest. The music has unique melodic/thrash style riffs and the keyboards augment the guitars keeping that style that they are so well noted for having. 'Blooddrunk' to me is better than their previous release 'Are You Dead Yet?' because the riffs are catchier making COB sound more like their older material. That really seems like the jist of it.
I wouldn't consider the music to be in the genre of power metal at all. Again melodic death/thrash metal is more accurate. The crunch tone guitars and Alexi's screaming vocals leaves me to conclude that they're trying to sound a little different with their riffs/genres. The keys augment the guitar's "heavier" tone. I think all of the tracks are noteworthy. There really aren't any that I dislike. 'Blooddrunk' seems to capture me as being more of a mature release by the band. It doesn't fail in rating as an album in COB's discography.
Crunchier tone guitar is what they use here as opposed past releases. The production is solid with each instrument mixed quite well. The vocals are blended in good in addition to the music. However, the lead guitars aren't quite as "chilling" to hear. It seems like they've kind of digressed in that department. I consider the leads on 'Hate Crew Deathroll' to be catchier. Nevertheless, the sound still features the COB that I've always considered to be. This release is very noteworthy.
It's rumored that Alexi was fed up with people criticizing his lyrics so they aren't featured on the insert booklet. His vocals on this album are pretty much the same as on past releases. The back-up vocals by the band are also featured to give it more of a wholehearted effort augmenting Alexi's outputs. In terms of covers, there aren't any featured here on the US version of the album.
Despite all of the negative criticism 'Blooddrunk' received, I don't really think it's warranted. The reason is because I don't consider the band to have lost their edge that they held musically in past releases. I definitely consider 'Blooddrunk' to be a solid COB release. Just because they're trying to wedge in a "thrashier" sound to the music doesn't mean that they've just went to hell. As far as if they deserve to be written off as now piss poor musicians, I don't feel that way at all towards this new release.
Children of Bodom have indeed extended their sound in new directions since the “Hatebreeder” days. “Are You Dead Yet?” served as a perfect example of how mainstream exposure can mitigate the music of a very good band, but I am relieved to say that Children of Bodom have taken a step forward. The way I see it, every album following “Follow the Reaper” was a step backward, but “Blooddrunk” is on about the same level as “Hate Crew Deathroll”. For those of you that don’t see what I’m getting at, I’ll put it in blunt terms: this album is about 20% crap and 80% metal. If there’s anybody out there holding your breath for another “Follow the Reaper” or “Hatebreeder” album, I’m afraid you’re going to suffocate.
While “Blooddrunk” still maintains the signature Bodom sound, elements of neo-classical power metal have vanished. Alexi still shreds and wails like no other Finnish guitarist; Janne dominates the synths; drummer, rhythm, bassist are a rock steady rhythm section; but the overall sound of the band is a hell of a lot heavier than ever before. I think they’ve managed to capture what they were going for in “Are You Dead Yet?” successfully, and this is a new sound I could get used to.
Right away there is a fist in face moment as “Hellbound On My Trail” kicks the album off, and you’re thinking, “Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad after all. The riffing is thrashy, the drums are good, and the synths are used tastefully.” Then you have a moment of clarity and a tear is shed, right? Fuck no. Then you start headbanging because this is some of the most wicked shit you’ve heard out of Bodom in a long time. The title track continues this killing spree, CoB are on a roll and the death toll is rising. Okay, then we hit a bit of a wall with “Lobodomy”… don’t get me wrong the chorus of this song is pure fucking genius and the track has its moments along with some good soloing and a good bridge, but come on, they’ve taken the Bodom theme and driven it right off a cliff. “One Day You Will Cry” is the exact opposite of “Lobodomy”, a great intro, but the chorus and bridge leave something to be desired. “Smile Pretty For The Devil” is another addition to the killing spree, and is a pretty fucking sweet track that leads you right into the gem of the album: “Tie My Rope”. This track is just straight up sick, everything you could wish for, heavy, melodic, and catchy. “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing” is a decent track, but nothing special. “Banned From Heaven” is another one of my favorite tracks; I consider it the “ballad” of the album. “Roadkill Morning” is another thrashy track that ends the album rather abruptly, a quality I always enjoy in a good metal album.
Almost everything on this album serves a purpose. The closest it gets to fillers are “Smile Pretty For the Devil”, “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing” and “Roadkill Morning”, which are all fun decent tracks regardless. The production is top notch and vocals are atrocious just like I like them. So if you get the time pick it up and give it a spin or two. You might like the new heavier Children of Bodom. All I have to say is that this album is a fucking massacre and it will indeed leave you “Blooddrunk”.
Standout tracks: “Tie My Rope”, “Banned From Heaven”
In the process of slowly changing their sound since HCD, Bodom have lost something. I don't think it's as bad as a lot of people say, but you can't deny that the classical elements are sorely missing.
Thankfully, this album is at least better than their last (Are You Dead Yet?). Yes, it's just as cheesy (when have COB not been cheesy) and it's almost as angsty, but on first hearing this album, I felt quite a bit of relief.
The album's thrash leanings are its strong point, which is good, because if this album wasn't fast and catchy, nothing could save it. The lack of keyboards from AYDY has somewhat been remedied on this album, but still Warman's classical abilities are underused yet again.
Far be it from me to tell a band with such talent and good past releases what to do. I'm just a guy who likes music. I don't think it's anyone's right to complain about what someone enjoys playing. After all, if any artist keeps doing the same thing, they'd all get boring and stink worse than one that tries something different and disappoints a few elitists.
In saying that, while I didn't 'agree' with what they were doing on Are You Dead Yet, this album has made me smile. It's a shitload more interesting, and hopefully some kind of indication that band hasn't stagnated just yet.
In my previous review for a Children of Bodom album, where I cited Follow The Reaper as one of the greatest albums ever made, I've since found that most people do not like Bodom's newer, more groove oriented sound. To me, I really did not care. I honestly liked it as much as I liked albums like Follow The Reaper, Hatebreeder, and Something Wild. I was still afraid though, since the album wreaked of metalcore influence and I was afraid that Bodom was going to become a full fledged metalcore band. Then I figured that they could always go back to the Something Wild formula. Or something else could happen.
Blooddrunk is sort of a middle ground for Bodom fans. This is truly Children of Bodom's attempts at appeasing everyone, which is odd considering they have appealed to metalheads who are into virtually genres with ease. Are You Dead Yet caused a split among fans, with one side being the more "true" fans into Bodom's older keyboard driven numbers and others that are "scene kids" because along with Bodom they prefer bands like Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage (and often rank Bodom among these bands). Alexi and crew must have realized this division (which is not going to be healed ever) and they tried to please everyone. This is not the return to the Alexander Kuppala days like the "true" fans wanted. Yet Bodom is not a metalcore band. Instead, Alexi shouts another big fat "fuck you" through the music on Blooddrunk, and that comes out as sort of a mixed bag.
The album opens up with Hellhounds on my Trail, and one can get a good preview of what is going on. That's song fiery intro brings back Follow The Reaper memories while mixing them in with Hate Crew Deathroll like riffs. Coupled with the wicked drum skills from Jaske and the crushing guitar rhythms of Roope and Alexi, you can tell right away Bodom found another edge again. Blooddrunk is more thrashy then previous Bodom albums, and I've seen so far that many people are not pleased by this. I am pleased by it. Why repeat the earlier albums formula again and again? Wouldn't that just get boring. Maybe to some it won't, but I know it would to me. So what's wrong with playing fast, palm muted riffs, downtuned to drop C? Absolutely nothing if you ask me.
The album also has more keyboards in it then Are You Dead Yet did. They are also much more diverse. While the keyboards in Are You Dead yet were mostly industrial esque synthesizers that sounded a lot like Rammstein, Janne Warmen brings back some of the classical sounding keyboards that were prevalent on earlier Bodom albums. For all those who liked the industrial synths of Are You Dead Yet, there are plenty of those to. While his keyboard work is nothing like it was on Hatebreeder (where he arguably gave his best performance ever), he still has plenty of impressive moments on Blooddrunk. The keyboard solos on songs like Hellhounds on My Trail, the title track, One Day You Will Cry, Smile Pretty For The Devil, Tie My Rope, and Banned From Heaven positively rock. They are very fast, sacrificing some of Janne's insane technicality but being incredibly fast and still being quite skilled. Still, the overall sound of Bodom on this album is a more guitar oriented sound, so all you "true" fans are not going to be into this.
Henkka's bass is more prevalent on this album then others. Now the bass actually can be heard throughout the whole album, and does not play a ghost like "now you hear me now you don't role". It's not very loud but you can hear it under all the rhythms and when it does show up, like on Smile Pretty For The Devil, it has stunning clarity and bite that does not show up much on metal albums. Great stuff. Though I still feel that Henkka is somewhat held back.
Jaske's drum work shows that he's still on top of his game. The wicked double bass skills are still there, very fast and pummeling. His technicality has not gone downhill and he's still very strong and respectable in the drum department. He even blast beats here and there on Blooddrunk, something we have not seen him really do since Hatebreeder. Good to see he's sort of going back to the good old days I guess.
Also, for once we see Bodom doing some thought provoking lyrics, but only on one song. Oddly enough, it's a song about something that Bodom's frontman Alexi is really well known for, alcoholism. Blooddrunk invokes greatly how alcoholism messes with someone and paints a very gory and rather brutal picture of just how bad this addiction and disease is. It's rather strange to see Bodom writing lyrics like this, but it was a good move. Bodom has never and I mean never had any lyrics that are thought provoking, and this is pretty damn cool to see them at least attempting it. Maybe they'll try this more on later albums.
Alexi's vocals are a bit harsher then they were on Are You Dead Yet, sacrificing their audibility for more bite and you cannot understand them as much as Are You Dead Yet's can. They are still good though, very clear plenty of times and still being very tough and gritty like Alexi is known for. I do not care much for the loss in clarity, the vocal patterns make up for it. We also hear Alexi experimenting with some more low oriented vocals and whispering throughout Blooddrunk. Good to see he's breaking up all the monotony that came with Something Wild and Hatebreeder's rasps.
Alexi though does cause some problems. For one thing, the guitar department with him and Roope Latvala is not up to speed. The main problem I have are the solos. While they are generally much faster then they were on Are You Dead Yet, they are simply too short. The other problem is that there is way too much whammy bar use in the solos and not enough shred. The shred that is there is very fast and arguably some of the fastest shredding done by Alexi and Roope, but there is just not enough of it and too whammy bar usage to justify the lack of shred. Come on guys, it's not that hard to play a long solo now is it? You did not hurt yourself that badly did you Alexi? And even if you did just play rhythm and let Roope do all the leads. He is better then you anyway.
The riff work though I have no real problem with. As do I not have a problem with any of the songs on this album except for two, Done With Everything Die For Nothing and Roadkill Mourning. The former of these two sounds like a bad attempt at Bodom sounding like Killswitch Engage or Unearth, and the latter just seems plain sloppy and disorganized. The rest of the songs are very well executed and sound overall pretty well.
The last plus for this album though is the production, mixing, and mastering. In those areas, Blooddrunk is easily Bodom's best album. The drum tone of Jaske is very organic, not thin sounding and full of power and sound that just rocks. You can hear the acoustic drum tone amazingly, and the bass drums sound pummeling. They are not very clicky, but they are still very powerful and thunderous. The keyboards sound great, as does Henkka's bass, which is much more prevalent. The guitars of Alexi and Roope sound awesome as well. Easily Bodom's best sounding album, even if the music is not always it's best.
So, if you want the full return to Something Wild, you'll have to wait. If you want to hear Bodom being full blown metalcore, well you'll have to wait to. But if you are open minded enough, and realize the situation in Bodom's fanbase that is going on and are willing to listen, give Blooddrunk a chance. It will grow on you, and you'll find it's not the abomination of a record that many people seem to think it is.
Children of Bodom have fallen quite far from their early brilliance in the form of Something Wild, Hatebreeder and Follow the Reaper; that much was evident by the first couple of riffs on Hatecrew Deathroll, but at least that album still had some balls, despite being horribly annoying and mediocre. Their last album, Are You Dead Yet? was a transition into a more groove-laden, Lamb of God-esque sound, which was met with mixed reactions from the fans, with many citing the new direction as negative and making cries of "sellout." Certainly their weakest album to date, it was only saved by a few tracks that seemed to radiate with exuberance, making for a pretty decent "fun" listen. Not good, but tolerable. Not the failure everyone claimed it to be, but the detractors did not back down.
...and the retort from the band, two years later? Blooddrunk, an exercise in tedium that I had not yet seen before. So what's the deal, guys? Fans didn't like the more modern sound, so you decided to chug out an album of songs that sound like rejects from the Hatebreeder recording sessions? The basic sound present on Blooddrunk is reminiscent of the sound Children of Bodom started off with - high-flying, diving, winding guitar solos, a heavy dose of synths, and some thrashy riffs thrown in for good measure (more modern here than in the past, definitely taking cues from the previous album), all topped off with Alexi's harsh yowl. I didn't want to do this, but Blooddrunk doesn't look so good, and there's no way around it. Children of Bodom are without an alibi at the scene of the crime - selling out, that is.
This whole album sounds like a somewhat effective return to form on first listen, but after a while it hits you just how bad this really is. Yeah, it sounds like Hatebreeder, and yeah, it sure does have a bigger keyboard/solo presence just like the old stuff did, but if you think that makes this better than the grooving riffs and restrained synths of AYDY?, then you need to re-evaluate your standards. This whole album sounds like the older stuff, and the more die-hard fans of the band will be quick to sing the band's praises once again, but by the end of your first listen, it sinks in: this album is a lame, watered down rehash of everything that the band originally became popular for in the first place. What's the deal, Alexi? Did you feel bad for alienating your older fans, and thus decide to go halfway back to the old sound? Because I'm really at a loss for any other explanation. You can't just do that; chickening out like this. No band can. Either go all the way or don't go down the road at all. Blooddrunk is very desensitized, bland music, lacking any semblance of the creative, manic energy the band used to have, as if it were filtered out like water would be before being released to the masses. It's the worst possible outcome of their new metalcore/groove style flirting with the older neoclassical-whatsit Melodeath they used to play, mashed together into a shapeless lump without hooks, flow or any sort of memorability. We're not falling for this, you cretins. Hear me? We're not going to keep eating up this crap just because you throw in a few "old school Bodom" solos and synth melodies amidst your modern shash. Fuck that.
There was no reason to shift direction once again after the chugga-chugga tuff-guy style of AYDY? (stick with one style, idiots!), but they did it anyway. Instead of expanding on that style, as the old Bodom would've done, they took the easy way out and tried to appeal to everyone at the same time, and that is where they failed. This isn't a good modern Metal album, nor is it a good revision of the band's old sound. Children of Bodom were a good band in the first place, after all, because of their subtle progression from album to album while still remaining in their signature style. That's all out the window now, replaced with a hollow shell of a band too afraid to experiment or step outside of their little box. Now they sound like their own cover band. Artistic death; an album without any form of innovation or creativity at all, not even the band's own individual "voice." Blooddrunk is completely disposable, the epitome of pussification and cowardice. I'm ashamed ever to have liked this band. Bodom has nowhere left to go, for they have already watered down their sound to the utmost extreme. Utterly worthless.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
I held Bodom in high regards ever since their first release. HCDR was okay, and I even gave AYDY a few more listens before I made any final judgments, and it turned out to be not so bad, some crappy repetitive riffs, but also some memorable songs, and pretty decent solos.
Now onto Blooddrunk. I have listened to this cd front to back numerous times, and every time I go back to listen to it I feel as though I have never listened to most of the songs on the cd before. Some of you might think this is good, that means I am always finding new things in the music, but this is not the case. It’s because nothing in the whole cd sticks to my memory, this whole cd is completely forgettable, with the exception of the lead in Tie My Rope, and the lead in the title song Blooddrunk, and I regret saying this because Blooddrunk sounds to me basically like a Lamb of God song, but mixed with the COB formula. I know COB have borrowed a few riffs, maybe even almost copied a few from artists, but this is kind of ridiculous, not only does it show that they are running out of ideas, it also makes it look like they are half-assing their song writing. If you can’t come up with something original and you need to copy a riff or a lead, at least make it your own by adding some kind of flavor to it. Not only does the riff in Blooddrunk sound like a complete copy of LOG... need I even say anything about the vocals in the beginning of the song.
The rest of the vocals on the cd are okay, nothing bad. Great screams and some great trade mark yaw-yaws! But the lyrics are another story. Alexi always said in interviews that he never really cared for lyrics, and some of the lyrics for songs were done right there in the studio. But around the HCDR era and after, he began to try harder, and actually make sense of what he was talking about. Some songs were good, and some just sucked. But most of the lyrics from Blooddrunk are a complete fucking joke. “In the blink of an eye you're fighting, Look at me chump, champ is my name, Were you going to all laugh? I'll Always be.” I mean really, what happened to reapers, and death, and dying when your only 21, now COB think they are fucking Throwdown. Almost all the lyrics sound juvenile.
Most of the time when artists write material, they stick relatively within a central theme if anything. You don’t usually hear bands talking about Satan in one song and then singing that Jesus is your savior in the next, or talk about dragon slaying and then about muscle cars. COB are a little to scattered on this cd for my taste. One song they are talking about getting drunk and how it can ruin your life, and the next they are talking about being “Banned from Heaven.” It’s like Alexi just threw in a track from a slow paced Sinergy album and passed it off as COB, I can almost hear Kimberly Goss saying “It should have been me singing in this song Waahhh!” Another thing is the “shout outs” they happen way to often on this cd. I don’t mind them once in a while, but on half the songs it gets kind of old. Even though the lyrics and content suck, the vocals are still good.
The production is great too, it’s what you’ve come to expect from the newer COB. All the instruments are audible and clear, even if a lot of the guitar licks aside from the leads are just variations of chug-chug-chug, chiga-chug-chug-chug. Some solos are also decent, even though they are not as good as on the other albums these guys are still some very talented musicians. Overall this album is completely forgettable, with the exception of maybe two songs. I know it’s a new direction for COB, and you can’t rewrite the same shit over and over again, and you need to evolve, but to me, this is backwards evolution. It’s like going from a lion to a pussy cat. The weird thing is for some reason I always look forward to seeing what the new COB albums will bring to the table.
After the release of the absolutely banal Are You Dead Yet? Children of Bodom had a lot to prove to their fans with their follow up since they went from one of the world's most celebrated metal bands to one of the absolute most hated and criticized. Blooddrunk somehow redeems the band and proves that Alexi is no longer trashed, lost, and strungout on jenkem anymore.
Yes many of the groove riffs are still there but this time they're actually catchy and aren't overused like they were in the past which makes the album that much more enjoyable. In fact, One Day You Will Cry is almost entirely composed of groove riffs but is still one of the absolute best tracks on the album and is one of the catchiest songs that Cob has ever made.
Another thing that becomes apparent starting with the first chorus of Hellhounds On My Trail is that the keyboards are no longer as nerfed as they were on AYDY. While they aren't as prominent as they were on the first four albums, Janne has at least become a part of the band again rather than a vestigial limb and the atmosphere that he provides on the title track as well as the 8-bit video game sounds of Tie My Rope truly make all the difference on this album.
Once again, the guitars and drums are played with an incredible amount of skill and while they may not be as fast as those of Hatebreeder, they're still extremely fast and Alexi and Roope are still putting out excellent riffs and solos while Jaska's drumming is tight as ever.
Blooddrunk's greatest strength is it's diversity since it's by far the most diverse album the CoB has ever put out and it has fast paced songs like Hellhounds on My Tail coexisting alongside slower songs like Banned From Heaven. Overall, it may not be Bodom's best album, but it's a huge improvement over AYDY and one of the best albums to have come out this year.
Here is an album capable of alot more than it actually achieves. Every time a song feels like it's going somewhere Bodom manage to do something inexplicably irritating to ruin it, paraphrasing Lamb of God at every turn. You only need to listen to the title track to hear this, which is incredibly similar to "Laid to rest" from Lamb of God's "Ashes of the wake". The frustrating part is Children of Bodom are so much better than Lamb of God so why they feel the need to make an album that sound like the apparently inspiring Lamb of God.
Let’s start with the vocals; they have gone from being possibly the flaw in Bodom's music to being exceptionally irritating. It's indescribable how they are irritating but they are, grating and lacking melody, it feels like Alexi made the vocal part up on the spot.
The guitar part is under average for Bodom, here is an example of why; there is an interlude in "Tie my rope" around 2.05 where the guitar part plays a melody that sounds promising, Alexi however then feels it prudent to put in an unnecessary scalar part at the end in which it looses all direction thus ruining the section. This is of course one small example but for me this isolates the problem.
They seem to have attempted your Pantera style stogy riffing but with their own clever slant on it that just doesn't work. They try to do the unexpected but it comes across as half baked and erratic. This is not helped by the fact that Janne appears to have totally run out of ideas playing second rate versions of Follow the reaper's countermelodies and solos. This was the proverbial final nail in the coffin, creating an album of what is probably Bodom's pissed jamming sessions.
Lyrically the listener can't really expect much out of Children of Bodom and this recent offering sticks to their tradition of barely coherent swearing and generally inconsequential gibberish. However if you were looking for decent lyrics Bodom would hardly be your first port of call, so for what it's worth lyrics had nothing to do with this albums score.
Having said all that it is still Bodom so does not deserve a lower score, the album is somewhat listenable, and while irritating has occasional moments when the listener feels its coming together, though those moments are later shattered by a totally irrelevant section of music.
All musical analysis aside I would say this is a very lazy album, it seems to me that they simply couldn't be bothered to clean up all the rough edges and produce something of decent quality, those extra long hours in the studio (and large quantities of cash) it seems were not economical enough.
It's an album that that I found myself wanting to like but grasping at straws to do so. The worst album of Bodom’s career so far.
No introduction necessary here, right? I mean if you’re a deep fan of heavy metal, you’ve definitely entered Children of Bodom’s never-ending saga of flirting with the contemporary audience while trying to please their original fans, which essentially popped out “Are You Dead Yet?” in 2005. That particular release was, for most Children of Bodom fans, a huge letdown that clearly drove a mainstreamed agenda instead of the brutal power/speed metal apparatus like before; everything was one-dimensional, easy, foreseeable, and just plain bad. But if you got money in your wallet, plastic women at your side, midgets serving you martinis, a legion of pre-puberty brats wearing your shirts, and records selling like hotcakes, then why stop? When forced to choose between loyalty and bunking with the “hella tight,” these low-voltage goons took “Blooddrunk” down into their abyss of popular crap, only leaving a developing legacy in ashes. The metal that once gave Lake Bodom essence now stands deserted with decay all around, and temptation’s hazards pollute all that wish for survival; this is the world of “Blooddrunk.”
Here’s the entire album in a can: unmemorable speed metal occupying a strong presence of Pantera-laden instrumentation and constant repetition. Roope Latvala and the ever-so-infamous Alexi Laiho are given the irksome honor of pestering their fans beyond words when they snuggle with groove licks, ceaseless identicalness in their overall style, forgettable solos, and speed chops lurking amongst the generic. As for percussion, Jaska Raatikainen seems trapped by Laiho’s large ego, as he’s forbidden from performing fills, tom rolls, or anything potentially reviving toward Children of Bodom’s murmuring heart. Sure they still practice those semi-sweet keyboards that ironically act as the band’s only sense of identity, but what difference does it make overall? All remaining qualities have the lifeless signs of modernization, and tossing in funky chimes leaves little effect steaming from the final product when observing “Blooddrunk” wholly.
To make matters worse, Alexi Laiho’s yippy-dog barks now appear even worse than before, mainly because the overblown production puts his awful screams in charge of this musical charade, but doing so also allows our unfortunate listeners to experience the comedic gold within those stupid lyrics. Songs like “LoBodomy” portray stapler-meets-forehead retardation at its absolute worst while emitting illogical profanities only an angry teenager could write; truly an immature gesture that’s felt here entirely. I guess viewing the downfall of occasional excellence leaves one nasty mark that just can’t be ignored, and aside from Janne’s keyboards, there’s only filth for us to loathe until our hearts realize the obvious truth: these bastards just flushed forty minutes down the drain.
Frankly, this album has more holes in it than a package of rat-infested cheese, yet unlike their previous effort, there isn’t a single moment worth mentioning. It really hurts to see Children of Bodom accepting their status as a “me-too” band, but that’s exactly what they wanted; if not, “Blooddrunk” wouldn’t be such a horrendous pile of simple, predictable garbage, and you could bet your zesty ass these clowns knew what audience would sacrifice a few bucks for this sub-par offering. Unless you’ve received a LoBodomy (that’s actually clever), avoid “Blooddrunk” at all costs, because it’s just one of those albums you’ll end up hating regardless of what your metallic tongue desires.
This review was written for: www.leviatan-magazine.com
2/2008 - Norther releases their next studio album "N"
3/2008 - Children of Bodom completes their sixth studio album "Blooddrunk"
4/2008 - Kalmah will release their next studio album "For The Revolution"
Without a doubt, we are mired within an exciting stretch of months for this trio of melodeath bands from Finland. Children of Bodom has traditionally snatched 90% of the fame from the three, but after the mediocrity of their latest release, its time for them to handle the title over to a more worthy contender.
You'll be hard pressed to find a more avid Bodom connoisseur than myself, and I grabbed Blooddrunk as soon as it leaked, hoping the band recovered from the generic chugfest that was "Are You Dead Yet?" The first track: "Hellhounds On My Trail" gave me plenty of hope. The mere presence of the fabled orchestra hit within the first 10 seconds brought back waves of memories from the Hatebreeder era. Initial consensus was pretty good, Alexi's vocals still suck, but Janne Warman isn't underutilized like he was on the previous release, and the unconventional Slayer-esque solo is really enjoyable; a great track.
Then comes the "single", the title track, and everything goes downhill. Minus the catchy opening keyboard riff that is repeated throughout the song, I find trouble remembering absolutely any part of it. Sad thing is, that trend continues for almost the entirety of the album. It just seems like the band is going through the motions, and even after THREE years the material still seems rushed. We all know how skilled a drummer Jaska is, but he just plods through this album doing absolutely nothing interesting. Hennka is barely audible, and Roope has yet to do anything worth noting since he teamed up with Alexi to create this "Dream Team" of Finnish guitar virtuosos.
That leaves Alexi and Janne. Janne's keys are the lone bright spot of this release, after being wholly wasted on AYDY?. Tons of ripping solos are the order of the day, making boring songs: "Lobodomy" worth listening to. It should also be noted that "Smile Pretty For The Devil" has the best keyboard solo since the Hatecrew Deathroll days, love it.
Alexi's playing is staggered and similar in function and form to their previous release. Even the solos seem tethered to some kind of invisible chain that has plagued Mr. Laiho for the past 3 years. His vocals continue to decline, reaching new depths with almost Hetfield-like "Yeaheahhhhs" at times. My God how the mighty have fallen.
Norther's "N" absolutely blew this out of the water, and Kalmah's upcoming release is sure to knock heads off, Children of Bodom is merely an afterthought nowadays.
Never thought I'd say that.
I've loved Children of Bodom for years, I even defended Are You Dead Yet? because it still caught my attention and gave me hope of a comeback. This album has pretty much put the last nail in the coffin for me. I'll just a quick rundown on a few of the songs that make this release from a once incredible band a terrible turn down the wrong path.
Hellbounds On My Trails: The song kicks off with Alexi doing a really fast but upbeat kind of trem picking riff and then uses the same rhythm and momentum to go in to a simpler version of the riff. Normally I'd have no problem with this but there is almost no riff variation from there for about 2 minutes. There is a "chorus" in there somewhere but it was so weak almost didn't even notice the difference. The solo is good as Alexi usually delivers but is way too short. Same goes with Janne as his key solo is more of a fill than anything. It's like they've decided to completely throw out the idea of developing anything and are doing just what every other band out there is and finding a "cool" riff, sitting on it for 4 minutes and calling it a song.
Blooddrunk: Being the title track you'd think it would be somewhat decent right? Wrong. Again they just sit on the same riff for about 4 minutes and don't go anywhere. The solo is actually very good in this song (again short though) which is one redeeming factor. Also for a few seconds the keys do kick in and stray a little from the guitar.
One Day You Will Cry: I am sorry to say but it really does sound like Angels Don't Kill. The intro synth work is EXACTLY the same. Its got about the same song structure as well. this song disappointed me because they aren't just doing tried methods now, they're ripping themselves off. I did like the solos in this song however.
Basically this whole album is a bunch of tried methods and a collection of "cool" riffs. Where did the melodies go? Janne must have stopped writing or something because he strayed from the guitar line maybe three times in the album excluding solos. Its as if Alexi has decided to stop playing melodically entirely and just decided to play what all the teeny-boppers will bang their heads to. All of the riffs on the album are just fast-paced bang your head riffs, which there is nothing wrong with necessarily but it is NOT what I expect from CoB. I believe this band has already turned their heads down the path of money-making, popularity machine and waved goodbye to anything they used to be known for. I give this a 29 because at least the soloing is still there.
So here we have it, Bodom's latest album - and it only seems like yesterday that "Are You Dead Yet" was released. A lot of people have complained about that album and a lot of what people have said is true. Indeed, Bodom have rapidly turned more commercial in both music and image over the last few years but I've never seen "commercial" as a bad thing, providing the music still has attributes that grab my attention and keep me listening....
This album, however, does not. That vertically challenged wimp and his chronies have decided to stray further from their roots than ever before, and this time they've sent their catchy melodies packing in such a bad way that I'm doubting they'll ever come back from fear of being butchered into something many of us don't recognise as being music. Take "Hellbounds on my trail" for example. We'd expect a catchy chorus lead and some powerful rhythm behind it, as the usual Bodom formula would dictate, but what we have here is a lead melody that sounds so ill (in a bad way) I'm surprised it survived til the end of the chorus. I couldn't possibly think of a way to make this riff worse.
Well, that's one riff, but things get even worse. The title track "Blooddrunk" has a nice solo but other than that it plods along going entirely nowhere. The third track "Lobodomy" is composed of boring thrash riffs, except one part at 02:14 which sounds like something from one of their older albums, and I'm sure it is - but knowing I've heard it somewhere before makes it evident that it is nothing original.
You know when you find an album with a few good tracks on it, and then the rest of the tracks are painfully mediocre? Imagine that without the good tracks, and you've got "Blooddrunk". There's nothing really interesting to say about the other songs on the album aside from that they're composed of overused generic powerchord thrash riffs and keyboards that just follow the guitars instead of straying from them and doing something interesting like in previous Bodom albums. I'd be surprised if Bodom could churn out another album after this one. It serves as evidence that Bodom are running out of ideas quickly and losing that once great, catchy, impressive sound they once graced us with.
16% for two reasons - The chorus of "Smile Pretty for The Devil" is okay, and secondly because they showed one sign of their original style as I mentioned above. I'm not sure I should get my hopes up for the next album though...
Ever since Are You Dead Yet?, Bodom was seen as a good band going down the drain. The change in style was seen as an equivalent to In Flames selling out. I have to say that listening to that terrible album, I would have thought so too. I feared for the worse when Bodom was going to release this new album Blooddrunk. I thought it would be a continuation of the downward spiral that is Children of Bodom's career.
Then I finally listened to it.
Wow! Bodom has indeed shown that they have many more tricks up their sleeve and they still have the ability to make quality songs. The music has improved greatly. The album still waves around the Are You Dead Yet? territory (I think the band has stated that they are sticking to this style) so if you are thinking this will be Something Wild pt. 2, then don't bother. The old albums are there for remembrance but people need to accept that they are changing their style for good if they want to stay interested in this band. However, Blooddrunk also veers towards that Hate Crew Deathroll feel, and it sounds very good.
The first track, Hellhounds On My Trail, opens with a multitude of thrash and speed metal riffs infused along some epic chords and you know that there is some fury in this band. Already this album shows a lot of promise. But then the title song comes and this is the part where some might get worried. This and LoBodomy are a lot slower and more moody. But I have to say, the songs sound effective, mixing Janne's haunting melodies with driving death metal riffs. Then on out, the album gets a little tricky.
As you can tell the album as a whole is a mixed bag, stuff like Smile Pretty For The Devil, Hellhounds on my Trail and Roadkill Morning are very vicious speed metal assaults. Blooddrunk, One Day You Will Cry, and Done With Everything, Die For Nothing are slower, but still ballsy enough to head bang to. Though devoid of the neoclassical feel, they still embody strong melodies that sound fresh. Lobodomy and Banned from Heaven are very weak; they are rather slow and get pretty tedious, almost drowning out the few good riffs in these songs.
Tie my Rope. Ahhh yes, the song that probably worried quite a few people when the demo version came out. When I heard it, I was sure that the album had no chance of being good. But the re-recorded version on the actually album is a huge turnaround, it completely surprised me. It isn't the fasted track on here but it is perhaps the strongest. The better production gives the riffs a lot of power and the keyboard parts thoroughly enhance the piece. It also has a lot of good hooks that keep the song consistent all the way through On the demo Alexi sounded like he really wanted to sound intense, and it just made him sound lame. However here, he is fully in control with his vocal performance, slightly dipping into the growls to make this track vicious.
The guitar work as a whole dwells deep in the melodic death metal, thrash metal, and speed metal territories but develop well, thanks to these experienced musicians. The songs sound complete and professional, be it the slower tracks, or the aggressive hits. The solos are ace, quite simply. Hellhounds on my Trails is just a spurt of notes after a wail of the whammy bar the is somewhat reminiscent of Slayer, as they try and release that energy in a destructive way. Blooddrunk is more melodic and thoughtful in how the solo affects the songs, which is how most of the solos are on this album.
The keyboard work is pretty good. They could have done better but the songs as they stand now benefit quite well with the keys. There are plenty amount of epic string chords, enhancing the pieces. But there are also a good assortment of melodic bridges with the keys dancing around the fury of the rest of the band. Janne does some great solos, mostly bringing in some serious melody to the solo sections (though his solo in Hellhounds is pretty badass).
Alexi's vocals sound great to me, but am sorry to say to the old school fans, they are not like before. He either screams or harshly yells out the lyrics, instead of growling. This might be a warning sign to those who might not prefer their newer vocals. However his performance singing-wise is great and fits the album well.
This album is an extremely interesting one. It is hard to say it it is amazing, but it would be ludicrous to say this is less than good. The range of songs make the album hard to digest, even with their turn towards the Hate Crew Deathroll style. I will think that I will like this album more, as time goes on, as I can be with some of Bodom's albums. But as it stands, it is a very good album that shows much improvement since their album Are You Dead Yet? though it will never be like the old albums. Interested patrons and skeptics alike should give this a shot because it is a very strong record from the great Children of Bodom.
Children of Bodom, such a fall from grace.... this band held so much promise when I first heard them around the Hate Crew era, and they actually were a very large reason that my taste developed towards the more extreme style. Follow the Reaper and Hatebreeder are both absolute classics, no doubt about it, I'd even possibly rank the former in my top 10 favorite metal albums ever.
So what happened? Why the low rating? Because this is Hate Crew Dead Yet? You can take either of the last two albums, slap Part 2 on the end and describe this album perfectly. Why is that bad? I obviously liked Hate Crew Deathroll, but how would you have felt if Judas Priest had released Screaming for Vengeance or British Steel over and over again? They weren't bad albums, but they were stripped/dumbed down for a more mainstream audience and are some of the band's most accessible/popular records, as is Hate Crew or Are You Dead Yet? for Children of Bodom. This album is not terrible, per se, but it is the final nail in the coffin for them to me. They have completely abandoned the beauty, technicality, catchiness, songwriting, and just that... that essence they had back in the late nineties for a more simplistic style that is easier for these Hot Topic shopping mouth breathers that are for some reason seen as the next generation for metal. These dopey twats also love Marilyn Manson. As soon as a band finds themselves catering to Marilyn fucking Manson fans, they need to step back, reevaluate why they chose metal over everything else, and either publicly admit that they have completely abandoned their old fans, kill themselves, or kick everybody in the nuts and decide to go back to kicking ass. This band did neither of the three.
The album starts with Hellhounds on my Trail, which sounds okay, but it just makes you wonder if this is really the same band that wrote Bed of Razors. Where is the fury? It's fucking gone! The opening track seems like a stripped down version of one of the lamer tracks from Hate Crew, as does One Day You Will Cry (which is almost a carbon copy of Chokehold (Cocked and Loaded)). What is up with this groove bullshit the band has fallen into? I swear to god the verse riff from the title track could easily be a Lamb of God throwaway. Also, I swear I've heard the main riff for Smile Pretty for the Devil (by the way, they have never been good with song titles, but this is no longer hilarious, it is now insulting) somewhere on Are You Dead Yet? And is that Now You've Got Something to Die For I hear in the breaks?
The solos... well, they are still okay. They can't touch what they used to be, but you can't expect a band to constantly rip out awesomeness throughout the duration of their career... but it kind of sounds like Alexi is just going through the motions now that he noticed that fanboys will worship the ground he walks on if he played Twinkle Twinlke Little Star. Also, is Janne Wirman even in the band anymore? You only hear him about once a song now. What happened to all of the cool runs from Towards Dead End? Children of Decadence? Downfall? Mask of Sanity? Lake Bodom? What the hell happened? He doesn't even play mind blowing parts anymore, he's just there for atmosphere now.
This album is giving me a headache, Tie My Rope sounds just like In Your Face from the last album. Why are people hailing this garbage as masterful? Done with Everything, Die for Nothing... another typical song. This one actually could be great, but the same problem that's been plaguing the first batch is here as well, and that is Jaska. It's like he either forgot how to play, got too old and/or feeble from drinking and can now only double bass for twelve seconds at a time, or the band is telling him to chill out and be boring every time he starts reminding us old fans why we used to love the band so much. Seriously, the break before the solos in the title track has potential, but after the snare hits, he just descends into a super simple and super slow beat that even I could learn in a matter of seconds.
Now, the worst track on the album, and the worst Bodom song ever recorded.... Banned from Heaven. I can sum up this song with simply Angels Don't Kill part II. They somehow took the formula from that inexplicably popular shit burger of a song and beat it against the rocks until you could no longer count the fragments of skull bashed all over the shore. This song is plodding, boring, annoying, overlong (and it's only five minutes), and just goes nowhere. I am 100% serious when I say that I've heard better Devildriver songs.
The closer doesn't sound like a closer at all, it just kind of starts and just goes without any of the magic their previous closers have had. That's not the reason I'm marking this song down though, that would be foolish. I'm slagging it because it sounds exactly like all of the rest of the songs from this god awful turd from a once mighty band. That said though, it is definitely one of the few strong tracks on Blooddrunk.
I will say this though, the obligatory "Bodom" track this time 'round has not only one of the funnier names in metal (LoBodomy), but it is actually the best song here. It sounds, once again, like it could've been on Hate Crew, but it sounds like it would've been like Sixpounder instead of Bodom Beach Terror, that is, it would've been one of the best songs on the album as opposed to one of the mediocre ones.
I decided to download the leak instead of actually buying this one because I really wasn't impressed with the promos I'd heard (Blooddrunk, Tie My Rope, and Banned from Heaven), and because these reviews on the site were just fishy. There is no way the rest of the album is good enough to constitute scores in the nineties when those three tracks were so terrible.
So there is my two cents, a 27%, and it would've been lower if LoBodomy wasn't actually good. So yeah, this album is a festering turd that has for some reason been praised heavily so far. I hope people who aren't fanboys review this soon enough, because this is honestly a horrible record. I used to love this band, but is a very large turd, I honestly wish death upon it.
One of the most disappointing falls from grace yet witnessed in the metal world. I turned on Children of Decadence afterwards, and I could actually feel my headache rescinding. Wonderful feeling.
But yeah..... big fat piece of shit.
Now, Children of Bodom has lately established themselves as one of the most popular metal bands on the planet, an accomplishment that inevitably irked dedicated metal fnas worldwide. Their last few albums featured much more mainstream song-writing than their early efforts, leaving many old fans skeptical about the direction Children of Bodom would take on "Blooddrunk".
The question arose: would Children of Bodom write and album showing a return to form or an album for Billboard charts?
Well, the answer is that they seemed to have a found a happy medium on "Blooddrunk".
The industrial overtones present throughout "Are You Dead Yet?" are still very present on "Blooddrunk" as are the catchy chorus song structures. However, the overall feel of the album is more akin to thrash metal than their previous experiments with power metal and traditional/heavy metal asthetics.
The instruments are all played exceptionally well throughout the effort, something we've come to expect of Children of Bodom. The lead guitar work and vocals of Alexi Laiho are as fantastic-sounding as ever, but tend to grow stale over the course of the album. There are a lot of cases where you will happen upon riffs and solos that you could have sworn you have heard a million times before on Children of Bodom's past albums. Still, a few melodic gems can be found on the album, such as sections of the the album's title track. I'd sum up the overall feel of the vocals with the word "monotony", but he has never been known for his vocal range or technicallity.
Children of Bodom's rhythm section has always been phenomenal, and the performance on this album is no exception. Rhythm axe-man Roope Latvala once again demonstrates his technical prowess, holding down faster riffs than ever. Why they let Alexi play lead instead of Roope, I'll never know. The drumming of Jaska Raatikainen has evolved to include more technical metal elements such as prominent blast-beats and double bass passages, but still retains the legions of interesting fills that makes him stand out in my mind. Henkka "Blacksmith" is another excellent player lost in the mix, save for a few well-executed bass passages.
So, with all this criticism of mixing and organization problems, why did I feel the album deserved such a high score? Two words: Janne Wirman. Somehow, this man manages to use the keyboards to turn a fairly typical album into something fresh and interesting. From the opening passages of "Tie My Rope" and "Blooddrunk" to the increased use of prominent keyboard presence found throughout the album, Wirman shows once again why he is one of metal's most revered keyboardists. The evolution he displays here is amazing in itself. The odd keyboard structures in tracks like "Banned From Heaven" are absolutely stellar.
So, the final verdict? Children of Bodom explores all possible meanings of "If it's not broke, don't fix it" on this album, which sometimes results in repetitive and indistinct songs. Improved elements such as more professional "gang shouts" and the growth in the band's use of keyboards in their writing more than balance out the negative aspects of the album though, in my opinion.
This is the album you want if you're a Children of Bodom fan (or even just a general thrash metal fan) who is looking for a more keyboard-driven album than their past work.
Stand-out tracks include the title track and "One Day You Will Cry".