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As far as Children of Bodom go, this is definitely a new low for them. Honestly, this release appears to have only ever been attempted to kill that small section of time between Blooddrunk and the next release coming in 2-3 years. As this album features their customary guitar solos, albeit lacking any lyrical substance and strength at all, and if I was going to be perfectly honest, it sounds like the lyrics and vocals were an afterthought on Alexi's part. A SEVERE let down on his part and a definite let down for the listener. After all, lyrics didn't feel to be an after thought on Hate Crew Death Roll, Follow the Reaper, or Blooddrunk for that matter regardless of what you think of the album.
After the first few listens this release really got under my skin and left a horrible mess on the way out. The lyrics were at best, shoddy. Guitarmanship (if it's not a word, it is now) is the same as it has been with with Alexi for the past 10 releases, phenomenal as a soundtrack and for that it earns points. The drumming was on par, but there's just something about Children of Bodom and the lack of lyrics that's both off putting and worrisome about their next release, especially if their systematic degradation since HCDR is anything to go by, they'll be doing guitar covers of Lady Gaga with Alexi dressing up as Freddie Mercury.
The effort's there clearly, but possibly not in the right areas to make this a decent album in relation to the time taken to produce it as the format of half the songs are pretty much the same: singing amidst solo after solo, making me wonder if they were written before the lyrics were, and then implemented in such a fashion to put emphasis on the solos. If not, why not? Because it sure as damn feels that way, especially with every song seemingly starting with a guitar solo of some sort or other, most notably Northpole Throwdown.
Were this anyone else but Bodom, it wouldn't have been aired as a brilliant album, but as it's Bodom they get a positive review across the board and a pat on the shoulder, claiming they've made yet another amazing album to add to their catalog, but it's not ok! This is something of a massive failure on their part to everyone who's fervently listened to them for the past decade, or for 5-6 albums, making Blooddrunk look like an absolute masterpiece of an album, and whilst I liked Blooddrunk, it was nothing compared to Hate Crew Deathroll. They may as well have not released this album and kept their good name in my opinion.
Definitely not their best offering and if it were possible, I would listen to this album to simply claim I have, much like I'd do many things to merely claim I've done them, but this is definitely no guilty pleasure at any stretch of the imagination. That being said, Northpole Throwdown wasn't too bad, nor was Relentless Reckless Forever, but they simply weren't redeeming songs. The solos + the name earned COB above 65%, but not by much.