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Only the Wild Will Survive - 98%

Left Hand Ov Dog, September 25th, 2012

From now on we are enemies. You and I. Simple words, a simple statement, but one that acts as a prelude to an album of such character and excitement as to give me shivers to this day. I like to think this is an utterance from the guitars, as they challenge the keyboards to the epic 38 minute battle scene about to take place, to the detriment of your ability to breathe. The concept is simple as well: write classically inspired melodic death/power metal with harsh vocals and a blood-spitting, thrash attitude. To play my cards on the table in the first round, I consider this one of the highest peaks on the melodic metal mountain. Hatebreeder is the first part of Bodom’s unholy trinity (along with its direct successors, Follow the Reaper and Hate Crew Deathroll), a piece of immortal music, with some of the best guitar leads the world has ever seen. There are truly precious few albums I love enough that I know, without any measure of doubt, will be with me all through my life, if I’m lucky enough to live it, and on towards my grave. Hatebreeder was a prime influence in my connection to metal, and though it’s just a hair away from perfection, has only grown in strength and longevity ever since.

The level of maturity is immediately evident, as the band are much more relaxed and precise than in their debut, the excitable and loose Something Wild. Alexi’s vocals have also leveled out into an even snarl, and have begun to take on his trademark ‘yowling’ sensibility. The rhythm section of Henkka and Jaska has tightened considerably, pounding along with fury and grace, creating an unbreakable backbone for the real star of this show: the melodies. Oh, those sweet, delicious, battle-blazing melodies. Alexi’s guitar lines here are just to die for, framed by his cohort in crime, Janne Warman on the keyboards, as they swirl and spiral through energetic, expressive, neo-classical galaxies, swooping and diving and battling in an effort to blow your mind, the audible equivalent of 100 pounds of dynamite.

At albums core, the aesthetics of the sound here are power metal and death metal, but the crystal clear, vibrant notation feels subtly blackened, though not as much as on the debut. Alexi’s rasping also helps that feeling along, but the result is entirely too precise and uplifting to ever don such a moniker. Hatebreeder is the essence of simplicity, in terms of formula. Alexi writes riffs, and everyone else just tries to keep up, with Janne keeping pace and trading outlandish flourishes the whole way through. Alexi has a very unique riffing style, which would come even further into itself in the next few records, but the constant, needling leads here eclipse everything else. It’s not just the level of skill or insanity in the flurries of notation, even the simpler melodies are so infectious as to feel like a sweet, sweet disease, climbing into your brain and staying there interminably.

Warheart and Hatebreeder are intense and wild, fast-paced snowstorms of immaculate precision. Silent Night, Bodom Night, still a staple of their live show, features one of the best melodies in Bodom history, and an unforgettable chorus. Bed of Razors is literally just that, a strong slab of riffing with sharp, brilliant leads cutting out above, framed by ethereal keys, before they do battle high above in the heavenly spheres, veritably sundering worlds in the process. Cowards Dead End features a very Asian-flavored lead, with flutters of keyboards whirling about like cherry blossoms in the wind, leading to another inevitable epic battle toward songs end, the dueling tones like magic spells of fire and ice, clashing and brightening the dojo before it’s completely set ablaze by the enrapturing dance.

Black Widow is a bit darker, but with one of the strongest choruses on the record, Alexi varying his vocal work for maximum epic effect, before the leads once again throw us to the sky. Wrath Within is like a biting wind, keyboards creeping up below the choppy riffing to bellow us higher and higher to watch another splendid exhibition. And it still gets better! Track 8, Children of Bodom, needles along through crisp riffing glaciers to the waiting coral-toned keys, which hold their ground and announce the coming bloodshed in a foreboding Castlevania style, before they both dart off, keeping pace with each other as the classical influences take over. Downfall, another one of their most popular tracks, ends the album with an ocean of strong riffing, starry keys twinkling overhead as the percussive barge steers with confidence through storm and calm, and lightning splits the sky for one more epic Laiho/Warman battle, each showing equal ferocity. Out-fucking-standing!

I realize Bodom have a reputation for flash over substance, and while that may be true to an extent, I don’t see how one can snub their nose at such a heroic array of guitar work, with songs that build and build with energy, pulsing with creativity at every corner. Almost every moment of Hatebreeder is intense, exciting, and memorable. Is it teeming with depth? No, not at all, but it doesn’t matter one fucking bit, so well does it utilize its strengths, and every riff, each moment, is utterly masterclass. Every single lick of this is way too epic, and when you listen to this record, it’s not so big a surprise that it had such an impact. Hundreds of bands have popped up in the early 2000’s and beyond that utilize the stylistic template set by Hatebreeder, and Follow the Reaper perhaps even more so, and even more have integrated this influence in more subtle ways. It’s even directly spawned some more legends, like Kalmah, and to a lesser extent Ensiferum.

Whether you care to admit it or not, this is bright, innovative, incredibly memorable music that has left its mark on history, for better or worse. That Bodom would sink to such decrepit lows in the span of 3 more albums was unthinkable at the time, and still rather sad, but it does nothing to diminish the quality of their classic work, among the very most fun and inspired albums I’ve ever heard, out of uncounted thousands. I like Follow the Reaper just a bit more, my unchallenged favorite album from this group of hard-drinking Finns, but it’s like comparing amazing sex to slightly more amazing sex. It’s still amazing sex. Ok, I need to stop saying amazing sex. Goddamn it man, just go buy this album!

If you’ve yet to give Bodom a fair shake because they’re popular to hate on, either quit being a dick or start mooing instead of talking, so we can see what you really are. Conversely, if this is too ‘shallow’ for you, get that head out of your ass and smell the sunshine. Not everything needs to have impenetrable density and emotional weight to be enjoyable, and if it does, then it’s no wonder you have no friends. But I concede. I don’t wish to belittle anyone, only to guide you to one of the most kick ass albums in the world, one that helped feed my formative soul to the fire that is metal, frets aflame with skill and glistening with tasty, tasty melodies. And that driving, raucous nature is all it needs, to not only succeed, but exceed the trappings of convention and perceived limitation. Hatebreeder is immortally fun, and one of the most pleasing audible adventures available. I like it a fraction less than Follow the Reaper, and a precious few riffs fall just short of perfection, but it’s still achingly cool. I will simply never get tired of this, and it spurs my spirit ablaze instantly when played, so consuming and complete that I feel akin to Johnny Storm. And you know what the craziest part is? The best is still yet to come.

-Left Hand of Dog
http://reaperdivision.blogspot.com/

Children of Bodom - Hatebreeder - 95%

Orbitball, July 26th, 2012

This is a prime example of how melodic/power metal should be played. Out of their entire discography, nothing can beat "Hatebreeder". Sure there are some Mozart rip off melodies, but overall an entirely original album. The synthesizers didn't drown out the music. The riffs are awesome! The solos too, Alexi really dominates here. It's a shame that this band has gone downhill instead of progressing as musicians. Nothing beats this old school release.

The music is filled with chord progressions, tremolo picked riffing, and leads that are mind blowing! A lot of tempo changes but nothing played too fast. I think that what stuck with me the most were the melodic overtures. Heavy Classical music oriented release. A lot of the melodies like I said were Mozart rip offs. Most of the songs here remind me a lot of the Amadeus soundtrack. Other than that, the album for the most part are original sounding melodic/power metal.

What annoyed me the most though were the synthesizers. Even though they weren't used as much as other COB albums, I still think that they would be a better band not to have synthesizers in the music. The main reason would be because it drowns out the main rhythm guitars. That's the only beef that I have for "Hatebreeder" besides the Mozart rip offs. I tell you, Alexi is amazing on lead guitar. So fast and furious outputs. Scales, arpeggios, etc. It's a shame that he's gone to hell now.

All of the songs are noteworthy and definitely worth praise. I can't seem to find another metal album which shines so well as this one does. Their best album forever! Alexi's vocals are like they always are, screaming with some help from another vocalist as well as other backup vocals. But his screaming/talking fits the music perfectly. I would say that there's nothing at all wrong with the vocal outputs. They are awesome and like I said perfectly fits the music.

The production is decent. Nothing is left out here. Recording perfection! All of the vocals, synthesizers, lead/rhythm guitars, and quality were just right in sync here. Nothing is left without being heard. Maybe the bass guitar could've been a little bit louder, but nevertheless it still can be heard if you listen very closely. Other than that, sheer perfection! Again, definitely the best Children of Bodom release forever!

If you're into melodic death/power metal, then this album is a must have! It truly is a classic with musicians that show off their talent to the many listeners to these genres! Nothing went wrong here at all. Not the vocals, guitar, synthesizers, and music that is so well played out. I definite gem of a release, I don't know that many albums that this one can top. It totally rips in every aspect. Pick it up now if you haven't already! Worth the money, you won't be disappointed!

Energetic... - 88%

RussianMetalHead, June 1st, 2012

Energetic and melodic.

The energetic and melodic guitar work and clever combination of power metal, black metal, and good old heavy metal is an excellent listening experience. In addition, the guitarist and keyboard player tend to solos in a clever way. The technicality level is very high, however the songs have simple atmospheric melodies reminiscent of the early black metal scene. Shredding and speed is used tastefully to enhance the sound.

The guitarists utilize an interesting combination of melody and brutality. The old school black metal tremolo-picked riffs and misanthropic atmosphere is combined with ear-pleasing neoclassical work. In addition to that, the keyboard player provides atmospheric melodies as well a few shredding keyboard solos. Furthermore, the rhythm guitar uses classic heavy metal riffs combined with brutal black metal and old school melodic death metal riffs. The influences from Gates of Ishtar and early In Flames are fairly obvious. For example, the title track riffs remind of the “Bloodred Path” album by Gates of Ishtar in its tremolo picking mixed with classic heavy metal power chords and solos. The guitar riffs are simply fucking awesome and catchy as hell. This quality is the trademark for Finnish melodic death metal bands. A similar concept would be used by Insomnium and Kalmah (the melodic death metal sister bands) in their later albums ("In The Halls of The Awaiting" and "The Swamplord") Arguably, Insomnium and Kalmah have the same music spirit, but better lyrics than Children of Bodom.

The drumming and bass guitar are not overly complicated and backs up the guitars. The vocals and lyrics could be viewed as the weak point of the band. The words and the song titles are somewhat meaningless and not very intelligent at all. It seems that the band did not take the lyric writing process seriously. However, the concept is obvious: the dark imagery of brutal murders near the Bodom Lake, a place located in the band’s homeland.

Every song is fairly solid, but the title track as well the album closer, “Downfall”, show musical perfection. Weak song titles and silly lyrics take down otherwise amazing guitar work and energetic songwriting. The album is recommended to people who love metal in general. The people who listen to Kalmah, Insomnium, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Gates Of Ishtar should be already familiar with Children of Bodom's work.

Album sucks - 25%

OllieS, January 4th, 2009

I love the genre of Melodic Death Metal. The brutality combined with melody nature of it always seems to do something for me, no matter what. One of the most acclaimed albums in the genre is Children Of Bodom's second effort, Hatebreeder, but I never could get into that album, it just seemed sub-standard. And re-listening to it over and over, I realised that it was.

In case you don't know what the album sounds like, it's pretty much your standard 'extreme power Metal' - a brand of melodic death Metal where the 'melodic' parts are reminiscent of power Metal. Basically, throw fast drumming, melodic riffs, shredded guitar solos, neo-classical keyboards and harsh screamed vocals into a melting pot and you have Hatebreeder.

A large part of Hatebreeder is the solos. Every solo section on the album follows the same pattern - guitar first, then keyboard. The keyboard always plays something incredibly similar to the guitar, so it's like a recycled version of the solo I've just heard, and combined with the keyboard's annoyingly chirpy tone the keyboard solos are pretty awful. Such is best on display during the painfully bad solo duel at the end of the title track. The guitar solos, sadly, aren't much better. I don't know if Alexi just needed more practice at this point, but many of the guitar solos are just not as well composed as later works - listen to the closing solo of 'Black Widow' to see what I mean. Also, considering there's a lengthy solo in each track and a lack of substantial diversity between them, there's just too many solos on Hatebreeder overall.

Talking about the keyboard, there are parts of the album where Janne plays (on his own, the rest of the band stops) something 'atmospheric' with his keys. Sometimes these will appear flat bang in the middle of songs, for example, the 'atmospheric' keyboard line which comes in at 1:53 of 'Silent Night, Bodom Night' hurts the momentum of the song (which was going pretty good) while adding nothing to it in the process; completely unnecessary. The atmospheric parts try to make things sound eerie, but with all the cheesy, happy sounding riffs throughout the album (more on that later), it just doesn't work at all. The intro to 'Bed Of Razors' is another example - you can see they wanted it to be atmospheric and all, but it's such a catchy riff/tune that it totally fails to create the eerie and cold atmosphere they seemed to be going for. Another example is 'Downfall', it just doesn’t work.

The riff work on this album is pretty poor. The main problem here is that many of the melodic riffs sound incredibly cheesy and thin. For example, the part from 2:03 - 2:35 of the title track sounds ridiculously happy, largely due to the guitar riff which sounds like a watered-down version of something you'd get in one of Iron Maiden's cheesier songs. Another example is the opening melody in 'Towards Dead End' and the melodic riff at 0:22 of 'Children Of Bodom'; they sound childish and borderline nauseating. Another problem I have with the riff department is the fact this album lacks something all Extreme Metal albums should have - heavy, headbangable riffs. I honestly couldn't find one riff that was good for headbanging in all of Hatebreeder, which is something I can't say about Follow The Reaper or Something Wild.

The rhythm section is pretty unspectacular. The bass mostly follows the guitars and is barely audible, although there is an awesome bass lead in 'Warheart' and another gem at 2:53 - 3:00 in 'Children Of Bodom'. Apart from some well placed blast beats in a few songs, the drums do absolutely nothing of interest, sticking to samey patterns and fills the whole way through. While they can't save Hatebreeder from the monstrosity it is, I can't say Laiho's vocals are bad. His screams are nice and brutal throughout, and there's even some variance with a lower, almost guttural growl he does occasionally.

And as for the songs themselves, well, there's not much to say. All have very similar structures, tempos, melodies, solos and whatever else, making them hard to distinguish from one another and ultimately unmemorable. Some songs do stand out though, those being 'Warheart', 'Silent Night, Bodom Night' and 'Downfall'. Besides those though, no one song sounds better than any other.

Overall, despite some good parts and general catchiness, this album just fails in every way. The solos are poor, the attempts at creating atmposphere sound silly, the riffs generally sound incredibly cheesy, the rhythm section does nothing of interest and the songs lack diversity. If you're looking for some good 'Extreme Power Metal', try Bodom's Follow The Reaper, Something Wild or early Norther and Kalmah.

Intriguebreeder. - 91%

hells_unicorn, May 1st, 2008

Children of Bodom were, at least during their early years, one of those bands that contradict the rule that if something gets mainstream attention that it will be hollow and uninteresting. They have had their fair share of exposure along with Cradle of Filth on the whole Hot Topic bandwagon, and are often lumped together with musically inferior acts such as Slipknot and a whole barrage of mallcore acts. Naturally the traditional fan of melodic metal would be embarrassed at associating with the abomination that Korn and Limp Bizkit pioneered, which explains the hostility that is often unfairly levied at this band’s older material.

I can’t fully explain the enigma of this band, particularly during this juncture of their career, being on the listening list along with bands that give Road Runner Records a bad name, other than there perhaps being a level of eclecticism amongst the monkey see, monkey do crowd that can associate real metal with Marilyn Manson. Perhaps it was my own personal lack of interest in anything associated with said scene that kept me unaware of this album, but upon first hearing it a little less than 2 years ago, I began to understand what all the hype was about.

“Hatebreeder” is a literal breeding ground of melody and flash with a thick sheet of seething rage guising as human shouts superimposed on top of it. At the time, the seemingly clashing elements of consonant melodic material being merged with toneless barks and growls was a melodic death convention, mostly lacking the blistering speed of the thrash and power metal genres which were also making serious headway at this juncture. The entire presentation on here is as tight and disciplined as a seasoned Neo-Classical outfit, unlike the sloppy mess heard on early Gothenburg acts, to who this band is often compared. I don’t think I’ve heard of a single guitarist in the melodeath crowd that has ever tried to capture a balance between Kerry King’s agitated brevity and Yngwie Malmsteen’s majestic speed, let alone put forward a keyboard solo to rival it, as is the case here.

The album is often hard to follow because there are so many old and new influences packed together into each individual song. “Warheart” kicks off with a rapid Joey Demaio inspired bass riff before landing on a blur of tremolo notes and a tight yet vicious blast beat that conjures up memories of Mayhem, yet with a slight hint of Kreator as well. Harmonically speaking the song mostly resembles a really aggressive power metal song, but the attitude put forth in the lyrics and vocals scream late 80s thrash. “Cowards Dead End” and “Silent Night, Bodom Night” combine the epic sensibilities of fellow Finnish acts such as Stratovarius with the same Kreator-inspired, knock you senseless, thrash metal punch. Some of the time the band actually presents some material not all that far removed from Slayer’s “Hell Awaits”, particularly the main riffs of “Wrath Within” and the album’s title track.

Not willing to be restrained to merely a power/thrash model of aggression, the band also ventures into territory similar to that of the Gothenburg scene, but with a lot more finesse. “Bed of Razors”, “Black Widow” and “Downfall” embody brilliant marriages of soft, atmospheric keyboard work and a slightly less aggressive take on speed metal more proper to the melodeath sub-genre. If At the Gates and all of their various bastard spawn had a better sense of how to write a song, I’d venture they’d come up with something close to this, save the keyboards of course.

And as far as the band’s self-titled song “Children of Bodom” goes; if you want to create some sort of top 10 list of most amazing songs in the aggressive yet melodic style, this one should definitely be on there. As most of what is on here has so many twists that memory retention becomes an issue, this song basically cancels out most of this very present flaw with a simple idea that gets developed like crazy. Tom Petty once said something to the affect that all the best songs make use of 3 to 5 chords, and this beast is no exception to the rule, although it’s probably far more ambitious technically than anything any hard rock band would ever dream of creating.

As far as this checkered metal band goes, you don’t really get a better picture of how they sound when they get it right than you do here. Most people tend to view “Follow the Reaper” as the band’s songwriting zenith, but this has a lot more gusto and lacks the overly polished studio work that takes away from the aggression that this band touts in their lyrics. If you have a problem giving this album a chance solely because you don’t like the bands fan base (I’m also not particularly fond of the crowd in question), I’d suggest getting over yourself and learning to separate the scene from the sounds, because you’re missing out on some great music.

Overrated - 71%

Dasher10, April 26th, 2008

Hatebreeder is an acquired taste. I will admit that I didn't like it the first time that I heard it, but it is an album that grows on you after a number of listens, it's just difficult to get past the excessive tendencies of this release. It may be flawed and it certainly isn't the best LP put out by Children of Bodom, but it's still worst hearing. It'll just take a few spins to actually get into.

First off, the production is well done except for Alex's guitar which is often mixed in lower than the drums even in parts where Alexi and Janne aren't playing. Otherwise the production is just as good, if not better than most other late 90s albums. That leads to another issue that I have with the release. The production is too clean and it often doesn't feel as heavy as it needs to be in order to get as much out of this CD as the band intended. It's understandable that the band didn't want to repeat the same mistakes of Something Wild, but a harder sound to the guitars wouldn't hurt and would make Alexi's voice sound less awkward.

Then there's the actual vocals, Alexi uses the harshest vocals that he ever has on here and while there are some punk-inspired vocals on here as well, Alexi just comes across as being monotonous, especially since he's never been one to annunciate while singing or publish his (improvised) lyrics. This issue combined with the production problems on here just make the entire CD sound awkward the first few times that you hear it.

As for the musicianship, it's amazing. The guitars, keyboards, and drums are all equally important to the sound of this album and each have their time to shine. Even the bass gets a cool opening part in WarHeart. This is by far the most technical CoB release and it's

As for the music, there are certainly some tracks that are better than others. Children of Bodom, Hatebreeder, WarHeart, and the almighty Downfall are much better than everything else on this album by such a large margin that it actually detracts from the quality of the other tracks on here. I will admit that there are a lot of cool parts to the other five tracks, but the aforementioned four seem to have received much more attention than the remaining tracks, which isn't surprising given that Children of Bodom and Downfall were both written before CoB entered the studio.

That isn't to say that I dislike Hatebreeder, I just feel that it is nowhere close to being the strongest album put out by CoB and isn't a good entry point to the band. It's a release that demands patience from the listener in order to appreciate and many listeners aren't willing to give it the time that it deserves, but once you truly get into it, then you'll begin to understand the hype.

Hatebreeder, indeed. - 3%

evildude, March 10th, 2008

Children of Bodom are one of the most hyped bands in metal. I don't know about other places, but in Bucharest, out of 10 metal T-shirts, 3 are with CoB. Still, I was not very anxious to hear them because I really hate harsh vocals and it was very obvious I would dislike them. Recently, after a friend insisted on how much they suck, I tried them out. I had Hatebreeder on my computer - mainly due to the fact that disk space is not a problem - so I gave good old winamp yet another band to chew on. I had expected them to be bad, but not that bad and I had expected them to be monotonous, but not that monotonous. This album is one of the most horrific thing I've heard, and here's why:

I won't talk about the vocals. Many like harsh vocals, I don't. The only thing worth mentioning is that they are very repetitive. There is not a single song on the album with some diversity, nothing that slows down, gets faster, higher or lower, just some very angry vocals over and over again. The real problem here is when it comes to the instruments. I still can't understand why lots of bands would rather make half their instruments inaudible by using the double-bass pedal extensively. There are only a few moments in which a guitar can actually be heard, mainly on Black Widow. Also, the keyboards don't ever seem to stop thus not giving the music some time to breathe.Combine this with the fact that they never slow down and you have some top-quality confusion. There are only a few memorable moments, all of them on Black Widow (clearly the best song, though that's not much at all). The rest of the songs just fold together in one huge and boring ...thing. The lyrics aren't helping either, all of them being about war and hate. And, if I'm not mistaking, they are saying "fire", "pain" and "light" in too many songs (With my salvation within your pain You gotta develop pain into your desires what it always about: you raise your pain). During the entire album CoB are just repeating themselves and ripping themselves off. Now, I may not like them at all, but some diversity would have been nice.
Take Bed of Razors - a fast song about pain and death. Just like Towards Dead End and just like Wrath Within. Should I even mention Downfall? There are minor differences between these songs but not nearly enough to justify having them all on the same album. If they would have reduced the track number to 6 and worked on some atmospheric parts, the album would at least have been mediocre.

As for the songs in particular:
First off comes Warheart, which is mediocre from a creative point of view. It starts off with a nice quote and then turns into one of the most boring songs about war. Not to mention that it doesn't make any sense. This is one of the most cliche songs in metal, with nothing above your most suck-ass and narrow-minded black metal band.
Silent Night, Bodom Night and Children of Bodom are a bit better, with some unicity to them due to the theme. While the instrumentation is not any different than other songs, these songs are quite ok by CoB standards, even if they have an obession with "blood red".
Black Widow has a few nice moments. There were a few seconds which I actually enjoyed. Unfortunatley, this is the song with the worst lyrics on the album and one of the worst in metal. Not only they don't make any sense whatsoever, the entire song revolves around "fire" and "murder". Every other word seems to be there just to lead to the next moment in which these two are repeated. And after hearing the same riffs and annoying layers of keyboards over and over on the other songs, it's very frustrating to hear a something with potential ruined by the lack of lyrical inspiration.
The rest of the songs should not even exist. This album would have earned a 35% if not for the rest. All the reasons are explained above and there is no reason to go though them again. Overall, the songs suck very much with only a few moments worth listening.
I did not enjoy this album and I still fail to see why anyone does. In my opinion, there's more to music than sheer speed and there's nothing else worth mentioning here.

Miscellaneous:
The album cover is pretty bad, not really showing the album's theme.
The Mozart part is an insult to anyone who likes classical music, including me.
The total playing time does not reach 40 minutes, which is almost a good thing.

Back when Bodom was still a viable force - 98%

BastardHead, March 2nd, 2008

I figured I should get through all of the Bodom albums, so here goes my second favorite, behind only the flawless Follow the Reaper, Hatebreeder. This was Bodom back in their heyday, in their prime so to speak. The follow up is a bit better, catapulting it to stratospheric proportions, but this one is just about to break out of Earth's atmosphere, just not quite there.

This is the album where the neoclassical style was the most prevalent, and the songwriting was still top notch. I've heard somebody describe this album as a collection ridiculously overblown novelty songs, and I can kind of see where he was going with that comment, but he also just hates Bodom in general. If you dislike this band to start with, there are two courses of action. You either go in and hope that they actually were good before their last two abortions that some people call albums, or you go in convinced that they were always shitty and so you look for things to call out. I don't think these are ridiculous novelties, but a huge Suffocation or Nile fan might think so, so it all boils down to your previous opinion for the most part (I'm assuming every metalhead on the planet has heard of Bodom).

Every band member is at almost their peak, a summit which everybody would reach with the next album, the only difference is that the drumming seems more intense here. It is mostly just simple double bass beats (although there is the occasional blast), but it's a hell of a lot more intense on this album. The leads/melodies/riffs/solos are phenomenal as usual on both the guitar and keys. The bass never really has any standout parts, usually following the rhythm guitar (barring certain sections of Downfall). The vocals are still indecipherable, but that's a good thing considering Alexi is the worst lyricist in metal. Janne's keys are used the best on this album from a player's viewpoint. I prefer his performance on Follow the Reaper, but here he is actually able to use them as an instrument (like he did on FtR), but he also creates excellent atmosphere. Most bands with a keyboardist tend to use him for just big hits and atmosphere, few use it as an instrument, this is the album where Wirman is able to do both flawlessly.

The album opens with Warheart, a fantastic speed filled monster, and the album never slows down for the most part. Bed of Razors isn't quite as unrelenting as fast as Silent Night, Bodom Night, but it is still a fantastic and nearly perfect song. Hatebreeder as an album has a few songs that aren't quite as heavy as what they would later write, but it's hard to knock them down a notch.

In fact the only song that isn't amazing is Wrath Within, starting off in a style that we would all unfortunately become very well acquainted with later down the road (Trashed, Lost, and Strungout nearly steals that opening riff). Luckily, the song gets back into the late nineties Bodom sound soon afterwards, but the intro takes the song down a bit, and it's the only song that isn't quite memorable. I can't recall parts from it from memory, whereas I can probably sing/air guitar the entirety of Downfall with no provocation to do so. It's like whatever magic they are usually working just fell a bit short on this song. Otherwise the entire album is great.

Seeing Bodom live has made me decide that Downfall is pretty much the coolest closer to any album/show I've ever witnessed. The suspense it builds in the beginning is breathtaking. Children of Bodom as one of the most party-tastic final minutes of any song I've ever heard outside of Motorhead. It's kind of hard to explain, but once you hear it you'll understand. Most of the riffs are extremely fast, tremolo picked patterns with bits of neoclassical shred thrown at the end. I mean that, there are leads at the end of the fucking RIFFS, that's nuts. Silent Night, Bodom Night, Hatebreeder, and Towards Dead End are good examples of what I'm saying. Not to mention Alexi actually plays those really complicated leads whilst singing, I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's not a studio trick, I've seen him pull it off live.

This is a review that's hard to write for me, because Hatebreeder really is an album that you have to hear to understand. Judging by the mixed reviews here, I wouldn't recommend buying it until you've at least heard it once because it is definitely different. If you're an old school Bodom fan, chances are you probably have this, and if you haven't it's pretty much the same style as Something Wild and Follow the Reaper. A well deserved A+ to the Finnish shredders for back before they sucked. They are really comparable to Metallica from a philosophical standpoint. Their fourth album got them mainstream attention, the fifth album WAS mainstream, and the sixth was a large pile of commercial shit. Therefore, Hatebreeder can be considered Bodom's Ride the Lightning. An excellent album from back when they actually wrote good music.

Overrated and pretty boring. - 68%

SRX, July 22nd, 2007

Supposedly this is one of Children of Bodom's best albums and an essential album for any metal head. Being a Bodom fan I of course thought to get this album as I loved their other three albums of the first four they made. But alas I found this album not what many people say it is. After continuously trying to get into this album, I finally have come to a conclusion on what I think of this album:

Well first off lets note the particular style Bodom are going for. Well the obvious Something Wild feel is still there. The big Neoclassical style is quite prevalent along with the urge to be Symphonic. Also the overall darker feel surrounds the album. Some new aspects are the power/speed metal direction with the more faster and virtuous songs.

Janne plays his keyboard with grace and complexity. His use in Hatebreeder is strongly atmospheric and his powerful playing is a strong aspect of the album. First of all he covers a huge amount of instruments on the keys. There is String Choir, Orch Hit, Harp, Saw Lead (with more presence on this album than Something Wild), Chamber Strings, Church Organ, and Piano. All used very often and mixes well all together in unity. He gets a lot of playtime and puts a lot of cool bridges in with the Harp and Chamber Strings. The complexity is of his playing is hard to match, he switches between instruments quickly and seamlessly in a perfect flow throughout a song.

The solos are pretty neat. Rather shred-tacular as is the nature of Bodom, with less Neoclassic and more thrashy style playing. The keyboardist is finally recognised for his skill as you heard a few signature Saw Lead solos, sometimes in harmony with Alexi.

What makes this album not so good then? Well basically every other aspect of the album. The riffing is boring as hell, playing off of simple scales and chord progressions and posing little complexity on any aspect in these riffs. Also every song, when it comes to the rhythm and basic guitar parts, sound almost the same. There is little variance at all. Some of the songs are more unique in some fashion but this happens very rarely. The keyboardist however saves the album from being completely worthless despite the boring song writing by Alexi Laiho.

Another point is the shitty production. Everything has a metallic (not in a good way) tinge to it, the type that makes the album sound completely fake and unnatural. The drummer as he plays his basic power metal beat with double base, sounds like he has a complete metal covered kit. Everything is clunky and clicks too hard without echoing right. The guitar sound is too sterile for the type of distortion you hear is trying to be played out. The bass is hardly audible.

Also Alexi's vocals are freaking terrible! He sounds like hes choking on his own blood while getting stabbed in the neck. Its a gurgly screech that pierces your ears as his vocals are idiotically too loud in the mix. He sounds completely inhuman and irritating.

The only songs on this album that feel like they have some real value are Warheart, Silent Night Bodom, Children of Bodom and Downfall. The rest are repetitive wastes that just fill the album with mediocre song ideas. There is no doubt going to be more people to love this album and claim it is a "essential power metal piece" but for me, this is an album made at a time when the band was already running out of ideas and needed to change fast. Thank god for Follow the Reaper...

The Pinacle of Bodom - 95%

darkreif, March 4th, 2007

Hatebreeder is one of the most intense and stunning albums I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. Everything that was even slightly faulty on the Children of Bodom’s debut, Something Wild, has been righted. This album is a culmination of amazing musicianship and some of the most inspired writing that metal has seen.

With the new, immensely superior production value, Children of Bodom have finally found their niche. With their classical and power metal influences, this increased production helps the band immensely. It’s not top of the line production but compared to the debut it’s a massive improvement. Some bands thrive on poor production (Venom comes to mind) and then there are some bands that need a little better production to be able to show their true colors. Children of Bodom benefit a lot from having this better production.

Musically, the band is focused and the music writing shows it. Rather than chaotic guitar work and stop and go writing, the music flows very well. Concerning the guitar work (the pride and joy of Children of Bodom) the dueling guitars are well spun with a lot of melody being brought to the front of the music. The solos and leads are catchy and feel as though they could make sparks fly with their amazing fret work. The rhythm for the guitars is more chord work than thrash riffs although the riff in the beginning of “Wrath Within” is pretty impressive. These chords give the album an even more power metal feel then previously.

More of the rhythm section is taken by the bass and drums, including a killer bass intro to the entire album on the song “Warheart.” The bass and drums are a little more toned down then previously and there is less variety in both compared to the guitars and keys. The keyboarding down right obliterates most of the keyboarding in the metal scene. It borderlines guitar work on Hatebreeder. The solos on the keyboards are well done and even though I am a huge guitar freak – I felt the keyboards outdid the guitars in some of the songs.

The vocals from the singer aren’t as varied as much as I was hoping. The understandability of the lyrics is pretty decent for death metal vocals and sometimes there are parts that are harshly spoken. The addition of some whispers and band chants give the album some great variety even if they seem a little out of place at times. The lyrics are the weakest part of this album (and would be the bane of Children of Bodom into the future too). They aren’t the best and most thought out. Most of them don’t really rhyme and the topic of hate is a staple for the well titled hate crew.

Hatebreeder is the best album by Children of Bodom I believe. Granted when compared with their debut (which was also quite impressive) this album is particularly superior. The writing has an amazing flow for a powered death metal album and even though the lyrics need a little work they don’t detract from the amazing musical talent of all the members.

Songs to check out: Warheart, Bed of Razors, Downfall.

Back in full force - 90%

Mikesn, February 14th, 2007

Initially, I had very low expectations for Children of Bodom. My friend was really into them, but during his infatuation with every one of the band's records from Something Wild to their latest, Are You Dead Yet. I myself was more interested in the seclusion that bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, and Avenged Sevenfold gave me, and didn't feel the need to listen to a band which screamed about hate and death. I gave Lake Bodom a listen, and while the vocals really killed it for me, the guitars and keyboards drew me back every now and then. Pretty big mistake on my part, I guess. It wasn't until much later that I gave the band a deserved, unbiased listen. Predictably, I loved it. That's how things usually turn out with me. Bodom's debut album, Something Wild, was the first Children of Bodom album I checked out, and remains a favourite to this very day, getting constant listens from yours truly. But what do I think about their other albums, you ask? Outstanding releases as well. The first one of these records to be released to the public was 1999's Hatebreeder. No sophomore jinx (if such things exist in music…) is apparent on this release, as listeners are treated to a fine 38 minute performance from the young Finnish quintet.

Much like their other albums, Hatebreeder is highlighted by Bodom's two strongest points. Their take on extreme power metal is a very impressive mix of shredding; thrashy riffs; neo-classical passages; melodic yet fast melodies; infectious keyboarding; and of course, am eerie atmosphere. Ok so that's all fine and dandy, but does it work? A resounding "HELL YES!" would be the only appropriate response to question such as that. Though their formula may seem too good to be true for some, Children of Bodom still manages to relentlessly pound out track after track after track without slipping up. Each track flows flawlessly from one to another and any momentum that is picked up by the band transfers excellently into the next song. The opener, Warheart, is a perfect example of the band's solid musical direction. When necessary, the speedy riffs from Alexi and Alexander are supported by the melodic keyboarding of Janne Warman, and vice versa. But saying that, Janne's keyboards do not mark a dip in the heaviness of the music. The riffs and leads still scream with the strength and power of a German power metal band and the aggressiveness of a thrash metal band. Though it may not be accessible for the masses, the music found on Children of Bodom's second effort should (and is, I guess) definitely be popular among the metal fans of the world.

The band's other strong point lies in the technical skill of its members. This is most apparent in the likes of Alexi 'Wildchild' Laiho, the guitarist and vocalist of the band. Not once does he cease to impress through his exceedingly impressive leads. Laiho's tactics take skill, speed, and power to the highest extremes, yet unlike some, he manages to hold off when such a performance would be harmful to the flow of the album. This is a talent that is not limited to Alexi, but is also shared by the rest of the band. Throughout the album, Laiho's shredding is fun to listen to, as not once does he let up on his relentless assaults. Yet in my opinion, Alexi is not the most impressive member of the band. That honour belongs to keyboardist Janne Warman. Never is he left in the dust by any of his band mates, as his speed and virtuosity are more than enough to make him stand out. When he isn't providing a very adequate rhythm to the music, Warmen can be heard soloing with that same strength and power found in Alexi's shredding. The keyboards really stand out during the second and third tracks, Silent Night, Bodom Night and Bed of Razors, where they maintain a very consistent presence in the music.

Children of Bodom is quite the talented band. While to those not immersed in the extreme metal may find them slightly difficult to get into, once you started liking the band, there's no going back. Hatebreeder is one of Bodom's essential albums, and should you find yourself liking the band, it's definitely an album worth looking into. Almost any type of metal fan could find something that they like in Hatebreeder, whether they're fans of power metal, thrash, black, or even death metal. Hatebreeder is a very memorable listen and while not my favourite album from Bodom, it's a very fun collection of music to listen to. Pick this up if you have the chance

(Originally writeen for Sputnikmusic)

Uncompromisingly Aggressive Slab O Metal - 92%

Demon_of_the_Fall, October 29th, 2003

Children of Bodom are definitive masters at what they do. What they do or what niche do they fit into you may ask. Well there is no easy answer, but for a best fit description I would say that COB blend almost Bach like masterpeices and add aggression with plenty of ballsy hate that is going to leave you metal fanatics begging for more. COB (the name taken from a murder in their hometown) immerged in 1997 with their outstandingly unique "Something Wild" album that took the extreme metal world by storm. Their creative use of keyboards and guitar riffery won them many fans. The back to back guitar/keyboard solos are very impressive to say the least and I'd say since COB first started there have been quite a few bands trying to immitate this sound, but most have either did a pretty good job or failed miserably. Hatebreeder is a continuation of their maped out Something Wild sound but is more refined and mature than Wild. The hooks with Hatebreeder are fucking stellar as well, this album is merely flawless, the production is great, and obviously the musicianship is all there. Alexi's death vocals are unique, and somehow they never get anoying, although at times you wonder if they are even there. The music really takes a hold of your mood, so sometimes the singing is left in the background. Most rate this their finest release to date and i don't blame the majority but I do opt for Follow the Reaper as their greatest accomplishment, as this is a close second. Warheart breaks the album in nicely with some speed metal slashing and hacking, the double bass flailing. You know what your in for once you hear Warheart, some outstanding Melodic Death Metal. I would compare this album to Carcass's Heartwork, i think that is the best example i can give. These guys are the kings at getting you pissed off, or if your already plunged into that mood, their music almost puts the listener in a trance where you feel like you should hate everything and everyone. Crazy that music can have that effect on people. The bach like influences are very evident with this release just like Something Wild and Follow The Reaper, but that is what makes these guys so good. Have you ever heard a Melodic Death metal band use Classical infuences and actually try and reinact what the composer did on a guitar? Listen to Hatebreeder and im sure you'll all understand what Im talking about. Hatebreeder should be enjoyed at it's loudest possible volume.
Cheers

Best Tracks: Warheart, Silent Night Bodom Night, Hatebreeder, Towards Dead End, Black Widow, Children of Bodom, Downfall

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! - 96%

OSheaman, July 14th, 2003

This album is fucking insane! Riff after riff and note after of note of pure madness and total fucking hatred combine to make a fucking amazing masterpiece of epic proportions.

Let me stress that while this album is so fucking fast and powerful that the slowest song will be giving you whiplash within 30 seconds, it is not TOO fast. TOO fast is something like The Berzerker, or like that turdsucking subgenre known as Grindcore, where the band is playing so damn fast that a) every song sounds exactly the same; and b) that sound is the sound of a drum going at 500 rpm's and maybe, if you listen closely, some unrefined howling by a desperate vocalist. This baby is fast enough to thrash you straight into next year, while being manageable enough to create completely different sounds and bring out the full talents of Alexi Laiho, who is without a doubt one of the best harsh vocalists of all time (not to mention a fucking insane guitarist and, judging from the band bio, a fellow Stratovarius fanatic).

The riffs here are monstrous. Alexi is simply kicking ass nonstop. If he isn't pumping out riff after riff, it's because he's too busy playing an insanely fast solo on top of a solid bass/drum line. Every song introduces a new plethora of riffage guaranteed to blow you away, leaving your throttled, lifeless corpse still headbanging away into nothingness. The keyboard doesn't fuck with the brutality of the album at all. It exists for one purpose and one purpose alone: to kick the shit out of you with lightspeed solos. It works. The sheer speed of notes coming from the keyboard is unlike anything I have ever heard. They throw in the occasional bass solo, but it doesn't overwhelm the song and fits in well with the general ass-kicking nature of the songs. The drummer is inredible; he is one of the few drummers I know who can pump out meatbeats while playing an actual rhythm at the same time, all the while allowing the guitars and bass to play above him, something The Berzerker's drummer desperately needs to learn.

The coolest song on here is without a doubt Downfall, which is the aforementioned slowest song on the album, though I guarantee you will be headbanging like a monster the moment the guitar comes in. The melody is brutal on here, and the riffs are unbelievable.

The only downfall (no pun intended) of the album is its length. It's far too short for an album, but hey, they have to catch their breath after a while, right?

If you can handle Alexi's harsh vocals, buy this album right fucking now. I recommend, however, that you not play this CD while in heavy traffic, or you may find yourself accused of a few murders before the day is out. You'll know what I mean when you hear it.

Insanity and atmosphere in a perfect mix. - 92%

Nightcrawler, January 31st, 2003

"From now on, we are enemies. You and I." Thus begins Hatebreeder, an album packed with intensity, melody and pure hatred.
This is definitely an amazing album, and definitely one of the best I've bought lately.
The guitar riffing is absolutely excellent. Dark, heavy and insanely fast riffs build a strong spine for this album. They're rarely very memorable, but that's not their point. Their point is to brutally tear you apart over and over again, and that's exactly what they do.
The usually quite high toned lead guitars and the atmospheric keyboard melodies create an amazing contrast to the dark riffs.
The bass is quite low and is often hard to hear, but we get some really sweet bass parts, like the one in the beginning of the opening track Warheart.
The drummer Jaska Raalikainen is absolutely insane. He delivers mindblowing double bass onslaughts all the fucking time, and does it very tight. He does everything with excellent precision, and the drum patterns rarely stays the same for more than 10 seconds.
On top of it all, we have the shrieky vocals of Alexi 'Wildchild' Laiho (who is also the lead guitarist). His vocals and the heavy riffs mixed with the high toned lead guitars and melodic keyboards make Children of Bodom a fresh and original sounding band, and a force to be reckoned with.

The songs are interesting and don't get boring, as all songs are built in different ways, and the order of the verses, bridges, choruses and solos is not in the slightest predictable, but it all fits very right. Riff changes are all over each and every song of the album, keeping the songs interesting and varied.

There are a few downsides though. The biggest one is that the songs in themselves don't really have much personality and some parts sound somewhat the same in different songs. But this band doesn't really need personality in their songs, that's not their main point. Their main target is to create asskicking brutal riffage accompanied by an amazing atmosphere, and they do it just right.

The lyrics are among the less intelligent I've read in my life. They are about hate, war, death, pain and other happy and uplifting subjects... Yeah...
But the lyrics fit well with the dark music and as Alexi Laiho has stated but which some people fail to realize is that the lyrics are not at all serious, and must be taken with a grain of salt.


Now, to the highlights of the album.
It's quite hard to name highlights as most songs sound quite similar and are therefore all equally asskicking, but if I had to choose one favourite, I think it would be Bed of Razors. Every instrument works perfect, and the haunting keyboard intro is very memorable and creates a killer atmosphere, which the song maintains all through. Other excellent songs are the opener Warheart, the brutal title track, and the final track Downfall, which has another great, atmospheric intro.
I think Wrath Within is slightly weaker than the rest, simply because the riffs aren't quite as crushingly great and the melodies aren't quite as memorable.
It's very good nonetheless.

All in all, what we have here is a masterpiece of an album that should please the ears of most listeners, as long as you don't have anything against the shrieky vocals. The album has insanity and atmosphere mixed together in a way rarely, if ever, matched before.

One of the most insane albums ever - 85%

UltraBoris, October 18th, 2002

This is definitely a very overwhelming album - there is just so much going on at all times, so either you're gonna love it, or hate it. This takes the speed elements of power metal, and combines them with many layers of guitar work, and some pretty harsh vocals, creating a sound that was, well, at the time anyway, pretty unique.

Again, this album is just fucking relentless - they don't drop below about 240 beats per minute until the intro to the last song, Downfall. Other than that - it's just insane guitar and keyboard work, with some really great shredding solos. "Warheart" and "Towards Dead End" have some especially magnificent soloing, with some pretty good sense of melodic progression - fast as fuck, without becoming incoherent. There really can be found here a quantity of riffs that is best described as "a whole fucking motherfucking shitload, and then some". There's 75 minutes of music here, except smashed into 40 minutes. You will bang your head until it fucking falls off. Then enjoy the crazy keyboards, and the shredding solos, and of course the insanely fast riff work.

Did I mention it was fast? Well, if I didn't... it's really fucking fast. You will have the worst case of whiplash ever if you try to headbang to this album. Imagine Reign in Blood meets Yngwie Malmsteen. Fucking insane.