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From someone who owns all of their albums and still fosters a slight amount of hope for this band, the best way to describe this album is 'all over the place'. Alexi and the rest of the band have become notorious for coming up with a few good interludes, solos, choruses, and riffs, and then scattering them throughout an entire album so that while none of the songs are absolutely horrible, there are very few memorable tracks anymore. There is no other CoB album where this issue is more evident than their latest release 'Relentless Reckless Forever'. The songs on this album range from classic ('Not My Funeral') to barely listenable ('RTHAB').
When I first heard this album, it was near the end of 2010 when Bodom released their first single for the album 'Was It Worth It?'. I have to admit that when I first heard it, I died a little bit inside. I was convinced that the band was done for and wasn't even going to listen to the new album until I stumbled upon the leak for 'Ugly'. While the song wasn't my favorite, it at least convinced me that they still might be able to recover from the disappointments that were 'Are You Dead Yet' and 'Blooddrunk'. After listening to the rest of the album, I'm convinced that they didn't completely disappoint fans, but failed to recover as fully as many of us had hoped.
'Relentless Reckless Forever' is not necessarily a bad album overall, it simply fails to employ the same consistency, technique, and engaging melodies that the first four Bodom albums all possessed. The opening track, 'Not My Funeral', demonstrates to fans that Bodom still remembers their roots and contains echoes of 'HCDR' as well as 'Follow the Reaper'. This song's riffs, chorus, interludes, and solos are all well done (the guitar solo is Alexi's best since 'HCDR'). Unfortunately, the rest of the songs on the album don't match up to the strengths of 'Not My Funeral'. 'Shovel Knockout' takes a while to get off the ground and while the keyboard solo is excellent, the guitar riffs are largely uninspired and full of chugging. 'Pussyfoot Miss Suicide', along with having the worst title, is probably the most disappointing song on the album. It contains some interesting riffs, interludes, a good chorus and decent solos, but the band seems so far removed (almost bored in fact) from the music and the song sounds so disjointed at places that CoB ruin what could have been a great song.
'Was It Worth It?' is another issue that I have with this album. I understand why a lot of people hate on this song, but to be honest, most metal bands with large fan bases like Bodom want a single with mainstream accessibility. As much as I dislike this concept, I understand why it has to happen (record label, band members need to support themselves, new "fans", etc.). However, there are far more intelligent ways to go about doing this than Bodom's approach here. Yes, the song needs to have a strong, anthemic chorus, but it doesn't have to be this repetitive. Yes, the riffs must be simplified, but they can still be catchy (see 'Were Not Gonna Fall'). Yes, you can't pull a 'Kissing the Shadows' and spend half the song soloing, but writing shitty solos doesn't attract new fans and simply pisses off the old ones. Bodom makes all of these mistakes on this song. The chorus (while it is actually a great chorus) is far too repetitive, the verses are terrible in all regards, and the solos are possibly Bodom's all time worst.
While 'Relentless Reckless Forever' is certainly better than the last two Bodom albums, it fails to make the comeback that some of us were hoping for. It's irritating that they can write a song like 'Not My Funeral' and then fail to live up to this level of writing on all of the other tracks. Its almost as though Alexi and the rest of the band are saying to fans: "We still have the talent and songwriting skills that we demonstrated on our first four albums, we're just trying to appeal to two completely different groups of fans now".