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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.