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Ah, Children of Bodom, if there was ever a band I had conflicted feelings about. If I were caring about appearances, I would be reluctant to call myself a fan around true metal fans for fear of scrutiny and the like. It seems to me that Children of Bodom is fast becoming a band that is being held on the same pedestal of shame as acts like Slipknot, Oceano, and Whitechapel. With their last several releases, their music and image seems to be catering to mall-going teenagers and people who believe that All That Remains is the pinnacle of the metal scene. Forgive my strawmanning, would you? I have honestly never met a fan who became enamored with the band because they were exposed to material from Blooddrunk or Are You Dead Yet? Basically I’m just trying to say that the first half of their career is great, and the latter half is about as consistent as a waterslide with speed bumps. Not everything from their last three albums is an abomination under god, and there are definitely a couple good songs somewhere amidst those records.
So here we are with Holiday at Lake Bodom (15 Years of Wasted Youth), a compilation of songs spanning all of their albums. The easiest way to sum this compilation up is by saying that it’s pretty much a portfolio of pretty much the best the band has to offer. There are tracks that I wish had made it on there, and others that didn’t; but I’m positive that every other listener has that same opinion. Holiday at Lake Bodom offers twenty songs, and I thoroughly believe these twenty are enough to satisfy both long-time fans and people who have never listened to the band before.
One of the best things I can say about this compilation is that it has a pleasant lack of Children of Bodom’s newer songs. What songs that made it on here from Are You Dead Yet? and beyond just happen to be some of the only ones I really like. I was happily surprised to find Shovel Knockout made on here, being that it’s pretty much the only track off Reckless Relentless… Wreckless… Ruffles, whatever the fuck their last album is called; that I’ll go back and listen to. I also feel I must mention that Children of Bodom’s last album gets the award for have the most awkward title to say aloud in music history.
Ultimately, this feels like a great service to fans who want to sit down and listen to Bodom and get a taste of some of their favorite songs spanning over every album. There are also two unreleased cover songs as well, which is an additional treat. I’ve never been a big fan of CoB’s covers, but they’re solid enough that I don’t feel the urge to skip them. It feels to me like the band included them just to offer something new to fans as well, which I can definitely appreciate. As a longtime fan I really can’t find anything really to complain about with this release. It’s a solid 90% and the only thing in years that Children of Bodom has done that I’ve been wholly pleased with.
All in all, a solid compilation that highlights everything good at Children of Bodom. If you’re a long-time fan or just an occasional listener, I recommend it. If you even have a passing interest in Children of Bodom, then I recommend it.