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Hate Crew Deathroll is not only thrashier sounding than previous albums – its also more chaotic, angrier, and excessive. The fine-tuned polished sound has been replaced with all of this and Children of Bodom are moving away from the power metal influence and replacing that with a thrash influence. For fans of some of the previous work – this album is going to sound harsh to you – for thrash fans like me this is a little slice of heaven.
Children of Bodom had already hit the mark with their powered death metal ways. To keep the sound from growing stale they must have decided that they needed to challenge themselves because Hate Crew Deathroll is non-stop excess in its writing.
The guitar work is crisp sounding with a lot of speedy melodies and blazing leads and solos. In fact, a good portion of this album is solos on guitars and keyboards. Both guitarists and the keyboardist are amazing musicians and this album (even though it seems egotistical at times) fits together very nicely. The guitar work is as tight as ever with the solo and rhythm trade-offs being non-stop. The catchiness of the leads is astounding and even the rhythm is going to have some of the most critical fans nodding their heads.
The inclusion of faster and less power metal sounding keyboard lines gives the album a jacked up feeling. Warman is an impressive keyboard player who must have felt the need to challenge himself in his soloing on this album. Although in the production of the album the keyboards are now pushed a little further to the back then normally. There is a strong focus on the dueling guitars.
The bass has been stepped up to the front once again. The bass had disappeared for a while in the band’s career but now with Hate Crew Deathroll it has taken back it’s rightful rhythmical throne. The bass holds a very strong place as the main rhythm guitar on this album and during most of the soloing it’s the sole force that keeps the music from derailing and just heading off into improvised territory. Similar comments on the drums. The use of the snare and bass drum really give this album structure that it needs.
Alexi’s vocals are a big controversy on this album – and really I have no idea why. He doesn’t wander all that much from his normal sound. Hate Crew Deathroll’s vocals are definitely more thrash sounding than death sounding now. And with inclusions of some half-way sung sections and even some spoken parts (“Needled 24/7” is a great example of this) there is some new variety here. The lyrics are finally getting better - “Angels Don’t Kill” is somewhat thoughtful. But they still aren’t anything amazing.
What some people may call a step back for the band, this album gave me a similar feeling that the band’s debut did. The music is slightly more chaotic (with so many solos – this isn’t that hard) and the album in general just feels so much more threatening. There is a new angry energy that flows from the album that the band has been missing for a while. It’s not all that similar to the debut there are some new elements present. For one there is a ballad-ish type song (“Angels Don’t Kill”) that really breaks up the speed and intensity that the album really pushes and gives the listener a break.
Even though it’s not as high rated compared to the other Children of Bodom albums – this is my second favorite album of theirs. I don’t think it has as solid of writing as their last few – but it’s pure excess is enjoyable and the new found energy is really thrilling.
Songs to check out: Needled 24/7, Sixpounder, Triple Corpse Hammerblow.