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The inconceivable aberration known as Relentless Reckless Forever has done the previously impossible: It has made me appreciate Blooddrunk. Laiho's previous opus was lambasted upon its release for embodying a half-hearted attempt at reviving Hatebreeder-era stylings in a safe endeavor to win old fans back while preserving the newer fanbase. At the time, I agreed with the popular opinion, thinking the band couldn't sink any lower. Obviously, we were all wrong.
No, Alexi. No number of orchestra hits will make this material compelling to your original fanbase; not when the material is barely passable as a B-side of Blooddrunk or Are You Dead Yet? The last two albums suffered from a severe lack of keyboards. A controversy which was haphazardly remedied in a lethargic way here. Relentless Reckless Forever has plenty of keyboard solos and leads, none of them memorable at all. For the first time ever I can state with replete confidence that Janne is simply going through the motions, bringing nothing innovative to the table. His entire repertoire consists of tacky sounding bells/strings, badly placed orchestra hits, and heartless solos. I have never been so disappointed.
Bodom's rise to fame was largely dependent on their memorable melodies and catchy hooks: blistering leads and harmonies that you couldn't get out of your head for days. Now, just as in Blooddrunk, melodies often start promising then degrade into pentatonic sections which completely destroy the catchy nature of the section. This was a dilemma that has grown from a nitpick in the previous two albums to a major complication here. I would hazard a guess that the band's collective attempt to replicate American-style metal caused this corrosive paradigm shift.
Positives are hard to come by, however I will say that Jaska Raatikainen has improved dramatically from his previously dull outing during the Blooddrunk sessions. The title track, sections of Shovel Knockout, and Was It Worth It? are Bodom-worthy moments just making you wish that the band stopped trying to appeal to the watered-down American audience and got back to what made them such a force during the turn of the century. Immature track titles and an overuse of irrelevant audio clips put the final nail in the coffin. I feel like I just got a Lobodomy.