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I was about 15 years old when a friend of mine told me to check this album out. He described it as a tasteful mix of Malmsteen-influenced guitar work, black, death and power metal. So basically my favorite guitar player at the time and three genres I had recently discovered and just begun getting into. Well, I could never thank that buddy of mine enough, because he got me into a band that has since been among the ones I love the most. A band that back then helped me a lot in taking the first steps into the more extreme areas of metal.
Nevertheless, I don't really consider either this record or Children of Bodom to be extreme. To be fair, I actually think quite the opposite: this one's truly a catchy, easy listening album. True, it has harsh vocals. True, it has pounding drums. True, the riffs are aggressive, violent and fast. But it's the way all those things blend together, the way everything is so skillfully played and put alongside remarkable neoclassical melodies, that makes the listening of Something Wild such a refreshing, delightful experience.
Songwriting in this album follows pretty much the same formula for each of the songs, with significant variations being few and far in between. The basic elements of Children of Bodom's (by now) well established style are all there: a lot of solos and technically impressive guitar work, great drum fills and some melodic intermezzos masterfully created by keyboard virtuoso Janne "Warman". The amazing thing, however, is that it all manages to be interesting all record long, luckily failing to become dull, repetitive and boring. This relies in great part on the captivating and intriguing melodies, all extremely catchy, but on the album's duration as well, which is of about 35 minutes: long enough to feel like a proper full length, but short enough to keep it interesting. Another thing I retrospectively noted about this record, after having listened to other Children of Bodom releases, is that it features the most black metal-oriented songwriting of their entire discography. Of course not enough to consider it a black metal album, but the influence is pretty evident, especially in some of the tracks, like "In the Shadows", for instance. The first melody of the first riff of that song has always reminded me a little of Darkthrone's "En Vind av Sorg".
I can't deny, however, that this record isn't perfect. Its production, for a start, I never really loved, even if it's not the worst I've ever heard. At times the guitars sound almost muddy. I definitely think that Children of Bodom benefits the most from a clean, polished and refined sound. I'll further add that Something Wild doesn't reach the majestical compositive peaks of Hatebreeder and Follow the Reaper, which remain the real masterpieces of the band. But all this is quite understandable, when you realize how this record was written and recorded by a band where almost all of the members were minors, and all the more impressive considering that these kids even back then used to play like weathered professionals.
All in all I feel like recommending this record to just about anyone, but especially to those young metalheads still struggling to get acquainted with the more extreme fringes of metal, such as black and death metal. It might be enough to encourage them to make the final plunge!
Let’s get something straight: I am a diehard Bodom fan. I love their work, and even though I mocked Blooddrunk for obvious reasons (it’s just a bad record), I still listen to it, and so I thought “hey, there is probably not a single COB record that I won’t listen!”. That was until Something Wild. You see; I happen to have their complete discography, and I decided to listen to it in reverse (starting with the almighty Halo of Blood to the “allshitty” Something Wild) just because. I blazed through them, and when I finished listening to Hatebreeder I thought things couldn’t get better. I saw reviews about people commenting on how good the album was and how amazing Something Wild was. I had never listened to a single tune of that album, and quite honestly, I didn’t know what to expect.
Now, I’m not gonna go over the first song, and then comment on the last, and the best one, the worst one; no. I’m gonna do a straight-forward review highlighting why this album is bad because it shouldn’t be! If you know me, you know that I tend to declare some bands (like Wintersun for example) as “Great musicians crafting bad music”. This little catchphrase of mine fits perfect within this record profile. Not a single of these boys are bad performers; they are just… making shit up as they go! No, I am not gonna comment on how the lyrics are terrible, because, even though they are, it’s not on the booklet, and I feel that the music is more than lyrics; it is the technical aspects, and oh boy, we have some technical difficulties. Getting back to that “Great musicians/bad music”, this album feels like one of those tech-death's, a The Faceless-esque thing. What I mean is that all of these seven songs feel that they don't have a structure. None.
Remember when I said that these Finnish lads were making shit up as they go? (Was that like what, 2 minutes ago? Jesus, I’m only on the third paragraph?). Yeah, they did. The only songs I remembered after the first listen was “Touch Like Angel of Death” because it had a laughable chorus and “Red Light In My Eyes Part 1” because it had a good chorus. This is the album in a nutshell: Oh, that part was good, oh that part was terrible, yeah but that one other segment was kinda cool, whoa that intro is just kickass, yeah but that outro sucked hard. It’s just a constant battle in my head I almost fell asleep at “Red Light In My Eyes part 2”.
The million-dollar question is: how can I review an album that never repeats itself, albeit some parts and segments? That’s tough, but I’ll do it.
From a production standpoint, it is quite amazing, although this might be because I own a re-mastered version that enhances the sound quality. I can clearly hear every instrument of the record. The guitars, while imaginative, are not as good as I thought they would be. They are good, yes, but they never shine as they do in later releases. Alexi does solos whenever he wants (again, no structure), and I felt lost. It’s like going to see your friend’s band, and the guitarist just do whatever the fuck he wants. Again, it is no bad, just out of nowhere. Speaking of places that don’t exist; where the fuck is the keyboard? Janne certainly plays the keyboards, and there are some moments that he appears, and he knocks it out of the park. So why doesn’t he show up more? He is clearly the most talented member of the band. Just a missed opportunity. The drums are okay; Jaska is as good as he always is, he is very technical and very precise. Also, Henkka does a great job even though he appears not to have much material to work with, and feels like a step behind. That is a step behind. What I feel is a marathon behind is Alexi’s vocals. Now Alexi has never been the best voice out there. In fact, I believe that his vocals are the cause of most of Bodom’s mistakes. If they had someone over the mic that wasn’t him, and let him stick with guitar-playing, would be a step up. Because man, why does he suck so hard on this record? The dude couldn’t give a shit about anything else. Alexi opens his mouth whenever he wants, spills some bullshit lyrics, and sometimes he just talks with no rhyme or reason. There is no logic. There is no sense. Yeah, that’s a good way to define it: No logic, no sense.
Sure, it’s an amazing riff after an amazing riff, but what’s the point if the listener doesn’t remember shit about it? The band feels as they are playing a game titled “who can play better?” and Instead of focusing in “less is more” they did that philosophy in reverse. If there is Something Wild about this record, is the fact that is literally wild. Each one of these songs is an untamed tiger doing what the fuck he wants. Why? Because he is stronger and more agile, he is more brute, he is orange. What? Jesus, this review has been going for far too long; I am comparing Bodom songs to felines... let's just get this over with and conclude the review.
Will I recommend this? *sighs* well if you are a fan of technical stuff then check this out because there is some incredible stuff to be found here, but if you like some sweet and heavy melodeath, I suggest staying with the later records. I’ll leave with this poetic phrase written by Laiho:
“What, you are the priest's son? So fuck -
SO FUCK YOURSELF AND DIE!”
-In The Shadows
This review was originally written for my blog at http://www.darkwaveunderneath.com
Time is an odd thing, inexorably tied to the changes in life. Often, these changes are jarring, leading to eventualities we would have never expected, a truth that certainly extends to the volatile career of innovative Finnish wonder boys Children of Bodom, a ride of immaculate highs and truly disheartening lows. In the beginning, though, hope was high. Though not as immediate or groundbreaking as the band would produce in their next few defining releases, Something Wild is a raucous, energetic display of classically inspired melodic death/black/power metal with a lot of heart, and it’s with a sense of forlorn nostalgia that I attempt to put thoughts concerning it to pen.
Something Wild is something of an odd experiment, a conglomeration of melodic death metal circa At the Gates, classical power metal like Ynwie Malmsteen, and even miniscule black metal aesthetics in its vocal style and windy tremolo violence, sounding at times like Dissection's overly happy younger brother. Indeed, all the aspects that would make Hatebreeder and Follow the Reaper count among my favorite albums in the medium are already at work here, if to slightly less powerful overall effect (though the black element was barely prominent, and disappeared rather quickly). The dynamic guitar/keyboard interplay is the star of the show, trading melodic punches in a cutting dance that was quite fresh for its time, a technique generally relegated to progressive power metal like Dream Theater. Alexi crafts some really strong riffs here, a number of them counting among the best he’s ever penned, and sections like the end of In the Shadows, the roiling storm of The Nail, and the lead melody of Lake Bodom reverberate even today as some of the bands finest moments. Indeed, sections of this album are straight up mind-blowingly cool. Make no mistake, this is guitar metal, epic and furious, and it holds up remarkably well, even after 15 years.
There are a few aspects that hold Something Wild back from being on the same pedestal of immortality as its next of kin, but they’re not so much faults as they are hallmarks of youth. As a band roughly and enthusiastically attempts to carve out their place in the world, a few rough edges will naturally surface. Alexi’s vocals, for one, are a bit uneven. The rasp is strong and clear, but some of the lows feel out of place, especially the attempted yelling, not nearly as strong his growls, clearly below his natural range and sounding slightly forced. The recording itself also lacks polish, but to an extent I suppose this is part of its charm. Mostly, though, the songs themselves just aren’t as strong as those on the follow-ups. There are some truly amazing parts, but the quality is not quite consistent enough to elevate it to classic status, and some of the individual transitions can feel a bit jarring, and the playing is just a bit too loose. However, I can hardly fault the band for failing to one-up the future, and Something Wild is immensely satisfying and impressive for a debut.
The tone, like most all of the bands work to date, is very upbeat, and even this early on, it was clear that Laiho was a very talented guitar player, well on his way to becoming one of the most unique shredders in the metal world. However, his unique and unmistakable riffing style was only in its embryonic stages, and the deepest impressions resonate from the neo-classical leads and infectious melodies, rather than the individual riffs. His interplay with keyboardist Janne Warman is not nearly as pronounced as it would invariably become, but they mesh very well, the keys acting as hovering, atmospheric support for Laiho’s wild licks. Despite a few incongruous, too-basic drum pattern choices, the rhythm section also does an admirable job lending a backbone to the fray, though they too would grow given time.
Something Wild is indeed that, a fresh and interesting sound for the period, full of carousing energy and passion, virtually bereft of restraint. Oddly, this is both its undeniable charm and its main failing, lacking the concise, measured coordination of its successors, but beating them all out in terms of pure, unrestrained passion. In the end, Something Wild is fun, distinct, and rather epic at times, certainly of enough raw talent and personality to set Bodom apart from the norm. In terms of overall quality, durability, and memorability, it is not quite in the same league as the next 2 records, but it’s as solid a starting point as one could ask for, and still finds it way into my rotation every once in awhile. While it has not found a place of pure immortality in my heart, I still absolutely appreciate what it has to offer, and would recommend it to anybody with a fondness for upbeat melodic metal.
-Left Hand of Dog
If someone suggested the band Children of Bodom to you, and you searched them up, listened to "Are You Dead Yet?", thought it sucked, and decided never to listen to this band again, then HOLD ON! You're missing out on a lot if melodeath greatness: Hatebreeder, Follow the Reaper, and, of course, their awe-inspiring debut, Something Wild. Why is this album so great? Well, for one, they successfully mashed up four different genres: melodic death metal, power metal, neo-classical metal, and black metal. There is nothing bad about this album. The black metal element helps build a dark ambiance, something that their other albums lack. This is noticeable on tracks like Deadnight Warrior, In the Shadows, Red Light in My Eyes Pt. 1, Red Light in My Eyes, Pt. 2, Lake Bodom, The Nail, and Touch Like Angel of Death. Wait, that's the whole album! It's that good.
If you hated "Are You Dead Yet?" because of Alexi's vocals, then you have to listen to this. His vocals are as harsh as ever, not only his black metal-inspired screams, but the occasional "clean" vocals that build up the darkness. I have to say, Alexi Laiho is one of the best guitarists ever. He says that he hates this album because he tried to copy his idol, Yngwie Johann Malmsteen, but what's wrong with that? I've heard many bands that copy their idols!
Jaska Raatikainen's drumming is actually pretty good on this album. Instead of competing for attention on the other albums, he just does his own thing without interfering. The main reason why drummers usually compete with the guitars is because the drums usually follow along with the guitars, which doesn't make them as noticeable. Here, you can hear Jaska's drums clear as day. As for Janne's keyboards, they're AWESOME! On later albums, the keyboards aren't utilized as much. They just follow the guitars until they get a solo. Here, they're almost (wait, scratch that. They ARE) a necessity on this album. Without them, we wouldn't have as dark of an atmosphere. As for the bass, I can't hear it, so it probably follows the guitars.
This album is a must-have. Forget Hate Crew, AYDY, Blooddrunk, and RRF. Something Wild is the TRUE sound of Children of Bodom.
Children of Bodom's debut album lays the blueprint for all following Bodom releases up until around "Blooddrunk" or "Are You Dead Yet?" Dark keyboard melodies courtesy of Janne Wirman, skilled drumming, and Alexi Laiho's excellent vocals and guitar work combine to create a unique brand of melodic death metal that would become Children of Bodom's signature sound.
This is a sound that was influenced both by the "Gothenburg" sound pioneered by bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. It also has a darker, more "evil" sounding influence, similar to black metal, along with some power metal-like influences that combine to produce a unique sound.
Probably the best aspect of "Something Wild," is the guitarwork, led by Alexi Laiho. It's fast, beautifully melodic, and very complex sounding. The guitarwork is different from other melodic death/power metal bands in that it is far more aggressive sounding, akin to the guitar work of death, thrash, and black metal bands. The melodies and solo's are excellent! Here is where Alexi show's off his skill as a guitar player. Every riff stands out and are all memorable and pleasing to the ear.
This guitarwork is backed up by the keyboards of Janne Wirman, and being a former pianist, having played the instrument up until high school graduation, I'm a tad bit biased towards keyboards, provided they're well done, which they most certainly are here. Wirman's keyboards add even more of a dark melody to the music, and add to the atmosphere, most notably on the opening track, "Deadnight Warrior."
The drumming is good but unusual for this type of music, and like the guitars is more similar to death or thrash than melodic death metal, at times, it almost sounds somewhat tech death in nature. The music is somewhat bass heavy, at least, the bass is sufficiently audible throughout the album to the point that you know it's there, but other than that, it doesn't really do much more than give the music a deeper, richer sound.
The last thing I'll mention before shutting up is Alexi's vocals. Sometimes they're very good, similar to Anders Friden but more harsh. Other times, like on the chorus of "Red Light in My Eyes Pt. I," Alexi tries going for this deep sound which isn't bad, but doesn't seem to suit his vocal style very well. Some of the people who have written reviews for this album have made comments about the production, however, I haven't found that. Either because I'm not paying enough attention, or I've finally blown my eardrums out listening to loud musc.
Like every debut album, "Something Wild"has its flaws, but those are more than made up for by the good points on this album.
What do you get when you mix death metal, power metal, and neoclassical metal? Something Wild. I use that in both adjective form and the name of the album.
The guitar work on this album is phenomenal. The album is packed with all sorts of riffs and keyboard pieces. The songs jump from one awesome riff to another perfectly piecing the song together into a masterpiece. The neoclassical influence can be heard through the album as Laiho smashes his way through the leads of the album to produce exponential music. This may be some of the best guitar work around. The riffs are filled with influence and are full of pure originality. Even the simplest of riffs like those in "Touch Like An Angel of Death" and "In The Shadows" sound amazing. Classical music is used in the songs too; such as Johann Sebastian Bach, technically he's Baroque, and Mozart, who is actually Classical. The fast pace that is constantly kept will keep your headbanging even in the slower verses of "Red Light In My Eyes, Pt. 1". "Deadnight Warrior" is a great track to listen to if you only hear one song it'll be enough to give you an idea of the album's content musically. The solos on "Something Wild" are outstanding and some of the best solos I've heard. Both guitars know how to work together excellently. No where on this album will you find the guitars struggling for lead or contradicting one another negatively. The drums are great at complimenting the guitar without doing the same thing as the guitars as with other bands; Ex: Metallica. The keyboards are the source of the classical sounds on this album. Without Janne Wirman this album wouldn't sound half as good as it does. Children of Bodom seem to have put the keyboards in every good spot possible in every track. Alexi Laiho's vocals show evidence of black metal influence adding to the rich and varied influences of the album. It's been said that Alexi Laiho was truly inspired by the Swedish band Dissection at the time. Alexi Laiho mixes the death metal and black metal vocals well. Most black metal vocals sound like shit but this is just great. It's unique to see such skill, as far as I know this hasn't been repeated leaving these vocals almost one of a kind.
This comes to no surprise when the production is excellent for a debut. Spinefarm Records is a great record company as it is. The quality that Children of Bodom received for this album was excellent and fitting as well. This was recorded before the times were existing entitled you to good sound quality. When money was a factor in the recording in relation to record and not be acquired short-term.
The lyrics on this album are great, whether you can understand them is on you. If you ever got a look at them you'll realize they're weird. They are also very unique in this weird way. Alexi Laiho has always been a great writer and the proof can be seen early on. It may have been different when they were still Inearthed but there was definitely a masterful change in lyric writing. This is probably what causes the band to release another album three years later, but it's all time well spent and hard work worth listening to.
The album also uses some sound clips from movies. In "The Nail" they use a sound clip from the 1959 movie "Ben-Hur". Or when they use a clip from the movie "It", based off the Stephen King novel. The newest non-Children of Bodom song I heard use movie clips abused them in one song and from a movie half-decent at best, I apologize if "Robocop" is your favorite movie but it didn't work. Children of Bodom know how to use fitting movie clips. Always have, always will.
I always find it hard to describe an atmosphere but I'll give it a shot. Picture just red in your mind. It's really as simple as that. I just picture red when I hear this album. It's strange, yes, but you'll picture it too if your imagination will allow it.
Very rarely will I truly enjoy an album as I do with "Something Wild". It's a crazy, creative mad rush of pure energy pouring into your ears. It's definitely good at getting you pumped up or good "I'm pissed the fuck off" music unless your in that mood to listen to this album which happens to me often. I know the whole track listing by heart and in order I've heard this so many times. It's simply a great album and shows that with the right people around you can make something truly exceptional. I can't recommend one song without recommending the whole album. I do not recommend listening to just one song either. The songs are composed differently so if you find one unsatisfactory check out another; these guys don't cut and paste! I recommend this album to anyone. If my Japanese pop loving friend can enjoy "In The Shadows" you can too!
I never did really like Children of Bodom. I always wrote them off as another overhyped, undertalented byproduct of the modern metal movement. But then I heard Something Wild and, try as I might, I can’t help but enjoy the damn thing. Here on their debut, their unique OTT brand of extremist power metal is fresh and uncompromised by the growing popularity that would trendify their later work. Here everything is insane, but well-placed, leading to a product that is, for lack of a better phrase, truly something wild.
The primary pack-separating aspect of this band is their extreme take on what would otherwise be standard ‘ol melodic power metal in the vein of Stratovarius. They demonstrate this in several ways. Firstly, the drumming is uncharacteristically intense, incorporating blast beats into power metal in a manner that would not be again attempted until Dragonforce did it half a decade later. This, coupled with the heavily distorted guitars, has even led some to go as far as to call this thrash metal. While it’s not even close, that is the kind of sonic intensity this calls forth, even on the jaded listener. Secondly, and much more noticeably, is frontman Alexi Laiho’s vocal performance, which is one of the band’s defining aspects. No soaring falsetto or catchy melodies to be found here: Laiho utilizes a raspy roar that would be much more at home in the realm of black metal, but it grows on you as the album progresses. Thirdly, elaborating on my last assertion, there are no catchy VOCAL melodies to be found on the album. Guitar melodies are an entirely different story, as Laiho’s Bach-inspired guitar work, while not quite at the level of say Michael Romeo, is nonetheless pleasing to the ears, serving as a unique contrast to his harsh vocals. Lastly, there are full-time keyboards at work here, at times similar to the way they are utilized in Sonata Arctica (must be a Finnish thing). Of course the context is entirely different due to the band’s sound, but they add immensely to the album atmospherically (as keyboards often do) and serve to enhance the guitar melodies rather than compete with them the way they do in Malmsteen’s work (though these guys do imitate Malmsteen at times). There’s a fair amount of interesting breaks involved as well to add even more variety to the compositions. To be fair, the orchestra hit sound gets somewhat annoying (this isn’t the Mortal Kombat soundtrack, after all), but the various string, choir, and harpsichord synths are more than welcome.
Structurally, the songs are just as over-the-top as the music itself. What the music lacks in abrupt time signature changes and overtly progressive elements it makes up for in non-cyclical riff progressions. Rarely does it seem that these guys adhere to traditional song arrangements, choosing to just add riff upon riff, seasoned with leads and interludes, until the song’s end. In a way, this further affect the band’s catchiness, already impeded by the rough vocals, but it’s only a problem if you see it as one.
The only problem I can really find with this album, aside from the occasional lack of catchiness, is the lyrics, which were supposedly mostly improvised at recording time. It shows: there’s nothing here worth repeating and at times it’s even a bit embarrassing. But since the words are mostly indistinguishable anyway (aside from the chorus of the first part of “Red Light in my Eyes”), it’s hardly a scratch on the surface of an otherwise fantastic debut. Shame they couldn’t keep up the pace they set on here, as their future releases merely shadow this one. Ah well, they gave us one classic, that’s enough for me.
Highlights: “Deadnight Warrior,” “Lake Bodom”
Years ago I was a littlebit over-enthusiastic when it comes to buying records, so after just seeing the videoclip for Deadnight Warrior, I decided to splash my money on "Something Wild". Certainly I enjoyed it for the time being, but when I listen to it now after listening to tons of metal cd's, well....it kinda sucks, big time.
The cd has it's moments, for example in the first track deadnight Warrior, but when listening to the other songs, I get the feeling that CoB had a littlebit too much ideas when composing their songs at that stage of their opus. Most songs are composed in such a way, that every "cool" riff or breakdown could be used. Songs shift from one rythm to another, guitar riff followed by the next one, with very hectic keyboards draped over them like a blanket. This makes listening to the record one hell of a job, as CoB never really seems to catch the moment. Although I love the later work of CoB, this record is as cohesive as desert sand.
Next to the afore mentioned negative points, Alexi Laiho was no where near the singer he is now. The vocals seem to be very hard pressed, and a littlebit too much for him at times. Next to this, I feel that screams such as for example a loud "FUCK" just before a guitar riff are soo not done, that it makes it all sound a littlebit childish.
We all know that CoB are one of the bigger bands at this moment, listening to their later records or seeing them live is a great joy, and you can hear that the potential was already there on this debut. But for a good introduction to CoB, I would advice Hate Crew Deathroll. Actually I would advice every other record but this one
Children of Bodom really have something on their hands with Something Wild. It is simply one of the best debuts that I have heard in quite a while. Even though there are some faults in the album – overall it is quite impressive and creative. Some bands try to do the melodic and heavy factor and few of them pull it off as catchy and clever as Children of Bodom have.
Something Wild has its problems granted. It’s production values are pretty minimal and the mixing has some faults in it (at one point the guitars actually pop out louder in the middle of a note for about a half second – freaked me out originally). These are simple things that make the album a little rougher to listen to – and make the fans a little more dedicated to love.
The writing of the album is quite chaotic sounding. There are many stop and go sections and with breaks along with “solo” parts for almost every instrument. The guitars are fast, spastic, and catchy. There is plenty of melody (part of the charm of Children of Bodom) and with the keyboards there is plenty of moments where you can tell the band have some classical music influence. The solos are amazing (when you consider the age of the members and the age of the band – even more amazing) and the leads are well played. The guitar sound is often mudded down due to poor production but if one listens hard enough you can hear the talent.
The bass work is pretty damn good and even though I felt the bass was a little strong on this album – he keeps the variety up and really plays like a guitar player rather than an underlying element. The drums are varied and sound like death metal at times and other times sound like power metal. It’s a great combination of sounds to give the album a very unique feel. The keys in the album are also a little on the “unpolished” side but are very useful at giving us great depth to the music.
Alexi Laiho definitely embraces a death metal vocal technique (with a little variation) on Something Wild. He uses the deep part of his lungs to push out lyrics of hate, death, the reaper, and Lake Bodom. The use of movie sound clips gives the album an interesting side take – I recognized the opening one to be from the TV movie, It. They fit well on the album and even though they sound pretty of low quality, flow well with the rough edges of the production.
Children of Bodom are a force to reckon with. An original mix of styles along with some interesting concepts and so much talent that seasoned bands may get jealous; Children of Bodom are on the edge of greatness with this debut release. The production may get on some people’s nerves but overall the writing is well done (chaotic but amazing).
Songs to check out: Red Light in My Eyes Pt. 1, Lake Bodom, Touch like Angel of Death.
Countries like Finland are amazing places. From what this ignorant Canadian is aware of, metal of all kinds is appreciated a lot more there than it is here. Reading that over 13, 000 copies of Iron Maiden's A Matter of Life and Death had been sold to those crazy Finns (and 500, 000 in a matter of three or four days) only reinforced that opinion. So it shouldn't be any surprise that the country of 5 million churns out some excellent metal bands. Whether you like power metal, death metal, or black metal, you're sure to find something you like. One of the bands that has risen to the top of the metal scene, not only in Finland, but the entire world is Children of Bodom. Fusing a neo-classical power metal sound with a harsh vocal style normally associated with extreme metal, the band is a favourite of many. Bodom released its first album, Something Wild, in 1998. They have since recorded 4 studio albums and one live album, with their latest, Are You Dead Yet?, being released over a year ago.
Something Wild is a very fitting album title. Though it clocks in at just over 32 minutes, listening to Something Wild is like taking a musical adventure. The album is very atmospheric, with excellent keyboards and riffs which make songs like Lake Bodom, Red Light in my Eyes Pt. 1, and Touch Like An Angel of Death all that much more enjoyable. Bodom's axemen are definitely talented players, as heard in several of their complex solos and riffs. No member of the band lets up on their musical assault, which remains very aggressive through the 32 minute running time. This is great, as it seems Children of Bodom is at their best writing heavy material that's full of hate, which whiles it seems silly at times, I'm not going to complain about.
Bodom looses a lot of listeners when it comes to the vocals. Vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho has his vocal approaches rooted firmly in that of extreme metal. Though this may open doors to new audiences for the band, fans of a more traditional approach to power metal may be put off by Alexi's screaming and growling. I will admit, at first I was not quite a fan of Laiho's efforts, but I gave them another chance and began to appreciate them a lot more. Alexi's vocals are done very well, and not once do they take away from the music. Alexi does not present a distraction and his screaming actually fits the band's chaotic, hateful sound very well. When you think Children of Bodom, you think not only of the epic keyboards and neo-classical soloing, but also Laiho's vocals – the two go hand in hand. In addition to being vital to the band's sound, Laiho's vocals are also preferable due to the fact that each of the song's lyrics (save for those of Touch Like An Angel of Death) were made up by Alexi on the spot, and as a result, are not very good. The harsh vocals cancel out the horrible lyrics for the most part, as they are very difficult to make out on your own. Perhaps on of the only moments where one can understand Laiho is in the chorus of Red Light In My Eyes Pt. 1, one of the catchiest parts of the album. Like them or hate them, Alexi's harsh vocals are important to both Something Wild and the band's sound itself, and are not likely to disappear.
As mentioned earlier, Children of Bodom have a very impressive neo-classical element in their sound. This is likely what draws me to this album so much. Bodom's guitarists really know their stuff and they put it to good use on Something Wild, as heard in the likes of Lake Bodom, Touch Like An Angel of Death, and The Nail. The pitch on the guitars is perfect for such a sound and very enjoyable to listen to. Simply put, the instrumental section is very well done. It would have been interesting to see how the band would have handled a full blown instrumental on this release. As the album is only 32 minutes long, it certainly would have been very welcome.
Overall Something Wild is a very good album, one of my favourite debut albums of all time. On this release, Children of Bodom introduce metal fans to their extreme power metal sound which dominates the much of the band's discography. Though the vocals might not be your cup of tea, if you are a fan of melodic metal, there is very little to be disappointed about. Something Wild is well crafted power metal at its finest. Get this if you have not already.
(Originally written for Sputnikmusic)
This is where the legacy of COB began and it is worth mentioning that this album has a very different sound than those that followed it. This is a much darker Bodom, one that had more ties with their black metal roots than on the last few records.
The songwriting on here is arguably their best. The fusion of classical passages with extreme music is done extremely well here. The riffs in the opener "Deadnight Warrior" are catchy and heavy at the same time. The guitar tone is nice and heavy but the leads are very smooth and tasteful. This is another element to the record's sound, the melodic lines are much more tasteful than those you'll find on their later material.
To me, this is Alexi's best vocal performance. His sound on this is a total growl which I find fits the extreme sound very well. The songwriting is top class here, with catchiness and chops to show off. This is very fun music to listen to, even though it has a dark allure to it.
A lot of killer tracks here. Since there are only seven songs, they were really well crafted and they all have their unique charm. The classics on here however are "Deadnight Warrior", "Lake Bodom" and "Touch Like Angel of Death" the album closer. This track is an excellent finisher. It's fast, it's melodic and the solos are mind boggling. Musically, the performance is that much more impressive if you consider that most of the band hadn't even reached their twenties yet.
All in all, this record slays. The songwriting is excellent, the performance is pasionate yet tasteful, and it's all heavy enough for any metalhead to want to headbang to it.
The album that started it all. Back when they were just kids from Finland, they had a lot of fresh ideas to bring to the table. In 1997, you would be hard pressed to find a blend of tasteful guitar virtuosity, black metal atmosphere, neoclassical influenced keyboard parts, and heavy metal attitude. This album has it all.
Deadnight Warrior starts the album out with a drumfill right into orchestra hits. Before you're a minute into the song, you already hear everything that was mentioned in the previous paragraph. As the album goes on, there are blastbeats to be had, melodic passages, headspinning keyboard runs, and not one instance that would make you want to skip a track. This is an album to be played from beginning to end.
The best part about this album is that most of it is very memorable and CATCHY. Some tag them as power metal with harsh vocals, but they were not power metal yet on this album. They were on their way there, and they definitely nailed the catchiness of the genre early.
There are no songwriting formulas used here, either. The songs progress seamlessly from part to part, interlude to lead, etc., and it never resorts to a concrete verse/chorus formula. Perhaps the most impressive example of their progressive mastery is the song The Nail. The Nail is perhaps the best song this band has ever penned, and it baffles me as to how these guys enjoy their newer stuff more.
An impressive start to a great career for these five talented kids. Though their songwriting ability would eventually deminish in favor of the almighty dollar, they still have some of my respect due to their back catalog. If you don't own this album, you're missing out on Children of Bodom's finest hour, er, half hour. The only complaint would be that the album is too short. Even with only seven songs, it stands strong and will end up being this band's "Beneath The Remains", so to speak - their true classic album overshadowed by the more commercial sounding albums.
The first album by these Finnish power/speed-metal giants is definitely worth getting, just like everything else in their catalogue thus far. Not surprisingly, the COB album it's mostly comparable is the follow-up, "Hatebreeder", with lots of razor sharp and insanely fast single-note based riffs on a nearly constant full-frontal assault to kick your ass time and time again. Like all their releases, "Something Wild" takes frightening horror moods and almost psychotic, creepy atmospheres built up by some mesmerizing keyboard work, adds brutal aggression to the mixture with the monstrous riffwork and harsh vocals by Alexi Laiho that we all love or loathe.
On top of this, they put complex and quite unusual song arrangements that manage to keep the songs flowing well and constantly keeps the album fresh and surprising, while not being confused or incoherent in the slightest (Hi, Dream Theater). Though because of the frenetic moodswings and countless amounts of riffs in each and every song, they sometimes get a bit hard to tell apart from eachother. But when you listen to the album enough, it'll all sink in anyway. If you hear one part of the album randomly, you probably have no idea what song it is from, but you'll sure as hell know it kicks fucking ass.
Some parts do stand out though, mainly some incredibly memorable and well-written melodies, like the one towards the end of "In The Shadows" or approximately 15 seconds into "Red Light In My Eyes Part I". Especially the main melody of the later song is amazing, never fails to give me goosebumps. Some incredible emotion conveyed into the whole song, really. The keyboard work of the band and on this album especially gives an almost melancholic edge to some moments of the album, which works surprisingly well with the intensity and aggression of the rest of the album, and Alexis vocals go perfectly with it. Again, check out the beginning of "Red Light In My Eyes Part I".
"Lake Bodom" also has some fucking great moments. It starts with a magnificent keyboard melody, going into a melodic guitar riff which then takes us into total ownage mode throughout the entire song. Also note the brilliant keyboard solo, gotta love those.
The whole album though is filled with great moments all over, and there isn't really a weak moment on here, which is pretty fucking impressive considering the ever changing song structures. With this album, Children of Bodom took power metal to a new level, and brought us something that at the time, 1997, was quite unique (though bands like Sacred Warrior have used harsh vocals on power metal songs way back, it was not at all as overt as this) and more importantly, totally kickass. To name highlights is hard since the songs tend to blend together, but that's the only flaw I can find on this album, and since it's all great shit anyway that's not much of a problem.
The song structures are not quite as overwhelming, the keyboards not as perfectly atmospheric and the riffs not quite as menacing, as on the album that was to come two years later, "Hatebreeder". Nonetheless, this can definitely hold it's own against alot of classic metal records. Modern metal needs more bands like these, who have the balls to do something that's fresh and interesting, yet still kicks your ass like real metal should.
At the date of the writing of this review, it is 5 days until I see these mad finnish fuckers on the third day of Sweden Rock Festival, and oh Satan am I growing impatient or what? I'm expecting to get my ass kicked more times than you can count with both parts of your brain, both musically (all of it) and physically (Exodus).
This is the beginning of one of the coolest bands to ever hit the metal scene, and it features all the shit that makes them the band that all other harsh bands want to be when they grow up.
Children of Bodom has become legendary in the metal world for their combination of amazing technical skills and their shit-kicking attitude, and you can hear all of their greatness in this well-made album. The band's sound isn't as mature as it is by the time we get to Hatebreeder, but it's a great debut album and it happens to feature one of the great Children of Bodom classics.
The most important part of Children of Bodom is the absolutely ass-kicking lineup they have. First and foremost is Alexi Laiho, who I would very simplistically describe as a harsh Kai Hansen, although there is a lot of hatred and hyperfast brutality in Laiho that you won't find in any of King Kai's numerous endeavors. Laiho is, frankly, the King of Harsh Vocals, and nobody, no matter what genre they play in, can even come close to his completely brutal supremacy. The only thing as impressive as Laiho's vocals is his guitar playing, which is extremely virtuosic and incredibly fast (for a view on just how fast, check out his guitar solo in War of Roses in the Tokyo Wearhearts live album. The next member of importance is bassist Henkka Blacksmith, whose talents only shine through marginally on this album, but prove useful in keeping the fast-as-fuck style of Children of Bodom to a steady, headbanging beat. Next is the recently-departed Jaska Raatikainen, the fastest drummer this side of The Berzerker and infinitely more talented than the aforementioned. His drumming is solid and headbanging, no question asked. Rounding out the lineup is Janne Warman, whose lightning-fast keyboarding is in the band for the sole purpose of blowing you the fuck away by realizing just how fucking fast this dude is tearing off his solos (really fucking fast, in case you weren't sure).
As I said, this album marks the maiden voyage of the Hate Crew, and it features some excellent songs to mark their blazing emergence into the metal world. Deadnight Warrior opens up with a little sound clip that suddenly dies to give way to a hyperfast drum thrash, and then some serious opening riffage from the guitar as the band works its way to the main headbanging chorus. In the Shadows is notable for its showcasing of Blacksmith's excellent bass work. The killer song on here is Lake Bodom, a classic Children of Bodom song which I assume is about the Lake Bodom murders (you can never tell with harsh vocals), but who the fuck cares, anyway? The important thing is that the riffage in here is extraordinary and you will quickly be thrashing your ass off. The other song of note is Touch Like the Angel of Death, which has a very cool opening guitar riff that leads into some great howls from Alexi as the keyboard joins in the can-do-no-wrong riff frenzy.
If you can handle harsh vocals at all, buy this motherfucker right now. This is the sort of fast-paced brutal shit you want firmly in your collection. Black Metal-heads who live and die by the next Mayhem release might also want to hear what real brutality sounds like. This album, and this band, is the shit-ruling shit-kicker masterpiece that you need to hear RIGHT NOW.
When I first heard Children of Bodom, the style blew me away -- it was a very progressive styles done in a very aggressive manner. The fact that most of them were about 18 years old when this was done was far more impressive. Most of the best electric guitarists of all time out there either are faded into obscuraty in their 40s, dead, or sold out, and kids today need someone other than Korn, Tool, Creed, Slipknot, and new Metallica to look up to as the pinnacle of guitar ability.
This album has slight black metal influences, and the vocals are somewhat raspy in their harshness, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the genre at all. It's also obviously not the most serious work out there, but
Deadnight Warrior just leaps out of the thunder with a fast, memorable introduction of complimentary keyboards and guitars. Alexi's harsh, screamed, unintelligible vocals punctures the song, keeping is rapid pace and providing contrast and conflict to the melodies. The all too brief sweep-picking solo on this song is killer.
In the Shadows begins with utter fury, with polyrythms creating chaos among the quasi-evil riffs. The song continues to speed up and slow down, but remains intense even with all the neoclassical work.
Red Light in My Eyes Pt. 1 begins with a harpsichord of dissonance, and slows down into some really off-key, funny growling, which soon picks up and just as quickly returns to its neoclassical nature. The funny vocals return, but before you can laugh, you are twisted upside down again with a furious barrage of drums and diminished riffs. The too-brief solo is amazingly fast, though.
Red Light Part 2 begins with a Malmsteen-style flourish and continues in much of the neoclassical style, reaching a crescendo of the scream of "FIRE!" The melodic guitar and keyboard work through this whole song is excellent, as intense as it stays.
Lake Bodom begins with a legendary intro of dueling keyboards and guitars, and would make almost any guitarist want to grab his axe and try to imitate it right away. The main song is intense and complex as usual, which only whets your appetite for a return of the intro. The guitar and keyboard solos are excellent rapid-speed, and help reach the pinnacle.
The Nail continues with the intense fusion of neoclassical styles and eclectic thrash/speed styling. Though it's heavy and fast to begin with, it gradually grows faster and reaches a climax of melodic fury after inventive riffs that showcase just how good the children in CoB really are.
Touch Like Angel of Death finishes the album with a simple rythm upon ghostly keyboards, slows down, and picks right up with an excellent high-speed melody and a very catchy (although typical CoB stupid/funny in lyrical content) and crushing chorus. The skilled and fast solo fits exactly right as usual. The only thing I don't like is the silence and the little keyboard thing at the end.
I'm giving this album a 90 because it's not perfect and it's a bit too short, but it's is damned good. It ushers in something new which I actually happen to like for a change, and those kids can play their instruments with amazing ability, know their music theory, and know how to make something memorable out of it.