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There are three fanbases that piss me off. The first is ICP because clowns wielding CLEAVERS (not fucking hatchets) doesn't seem as scary they try to make it. The second is Slipknot, but who doesn't hate maggots? Finally that leaves me with Children of Bodom. I'm so tired of people writing "COBHC" everywhere and saying that Alexi is the best guitarist ever. I used to listen to them a lot, and some of their early album hits are really fun (especially the song, "Mask of Sanity" - Follow the Reaper, 2000), but overall, they are one of the most overrated bands. The fact that the members have talent is nice, but there is so much better music out there. I guess it's pre-bias, but I had low hopes for this album, especially since Blooddrunk was a total bomb.
Though this album was on the bottom of my listening list, it actually didn't suck as much as I thought it would. On this album, they went back to the sound right before Are You Dead Yet? and used that to form a new sound. Ironically, it sounded a lot like Follow the Reaper with more metalcore aspects to it. Most of the songs made me either laugh (at how goofy the lyrics felt) or actually get into them. I felt myself getting lost in a few songs, especially "Shovel Knockout", which was arguably the most technical song they have ever done.
The guitars were mediocre for the most part focusing around moderately hard chordal structure, tremolo picking, blues-esque solos and pinch harmonics, but it was catchy, so at least you can get into it sometimes. After a while, it can get boring, but I feel that way about this band in general, so that's not stating too much. Personally, this album's song structure (for guitar) was really similar to Hate Crew Deathroll. It was nice to hear that sound again. Especially when the chords of the guitar matched the keys in the right way. It often felt like they knew what they were doing - or just sobered up for the recording sessions.
Speaking of the keys, they were fantastic. I have always thought the keyboardist in this band was the one with the most talent, and he shows it (especially in "Roundtrip to Hell and Back"). It's really amazing to hear him be playing such a complex song while making it seem effortless. You know a keyboardist is good when he can play solos damn near as fast (if not faster) than the guitarist.
I have nothing to say about Alexi's vocals or the rhythm section of this album. It was completely cut and paste from any other Children of Bodom release. I seriously think they have a soundboard of Alexi so they can get that sound EVERY. GODDAMN. TIME. Personally, other than Something Wild, I think he's sounded like he has the same sound. It gets vexing.
Concluding this review is easy. I know who will like this album - Fans, people who like keyboards and people starting out on metal. It's not the greatest thing I've heard, and by far not the worst.