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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.