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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.