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Another CoB album of brutal perfection - 93%

OSheaman, July 27th, 2003

It's official. Hard, ass-kicking metal simply does not get any better than Children of Bodom. With the release of their third full-length masterpiece of brutality and harshness, the band has officially established themselves as the benchmark for both harsh vocals and intense guitar riffage, blowing the shit out of all but the best harsh bands.

It's all here, and it's all great. Alexi Laiho features both harsh-as-fuck vocals and incredible guitar playing. Janne Warman is constantly kicking ass on the keyboard, whether it's with his mirroring of Laiho's guitar riffs or his fast-as-a-flying-fucker solos. Blacksmith's bass work is incredible and features all of the talents of this amazing and underappreciated bassist while still remaining under the main instruments. Finally, Raatikainen is constantly pumping out a new beat that manages to both keep the music intersting and push it along at light speed at the same time.

The overall speed is a bit slower than Hatebreeder, but what is lost in blinding speed is made up for in pure fucking riffage that forces you into a death spiral of nonstop headbanging. All of Children of Bodom's signature stylistic stuff is on here, though, including the lightning-fast guitar and keyboard solos, the thrashy, pounding beat with riffs and chord progressions that could have come out of a twisted, evil Stratovarius. Everything in here is just solid style, topped off by Laiho's amazingly addictive harsh vocals that blend in seamlessly with the music instead of sticking out like a sore thumb, as many harsh vocalists tend to do.

Highlights. Bodom after Midnight is very catchy and features quite an amazing selection of riffs and solo numbers. Children of Decadence has one of the coolest opening riffs that I have ever heard on a Children of Bodom album, and it is yet another indication of the primary intention of the band--to make you headband until you can no longer hear the music. Mask of Sanity sounds a bit like Downfall at first, but it quckly progresses into a unique combination of riffs centering on a main theme, and the soaring guitar notes will have you wetting your pants. Finally, Hate Me! sounds like something off an Alfred Hitchcock film, and could be perhaps the most Power Metal-oriented song in terms of key and general chord progressions, although those amazingly brutal harsh vocals won't have you confusing this band with Sonata Arctica anytime soon.

I liked Hatebreeder better, but Children of Bodom fans definitely won't want to miss out on this spectacular performance by the Hate Crew.