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It is quite often that melodeath bands are compared to Children of Bodom, this with the fair reason of them gaining so much fame out of doing so much shit and basically just two good albums. This happens with several other genres, too. As for me and all the melodeath I've heard, the genre is bound to be epic, sometimes even symphonic, and extreme at the same time. Eternal Tears of Sorrow certainly knows how to balance this element not to abuse any of each and keep a perfect equality, thus creating a masterpiece such as "Chaotic Beauty" is. Melodeath is a genre that has always catched my attention easily, as it blends in many of the characteristics of metal together and sounds really good if done properly, just as it is in "Chaotic Beauty".
Altti Veteläinen has some real talent for generating the harsh vocals, keeping them as sharp and grunty as needed, giving aggressivity and a monstrous touch to the music, unlike some other *cough*Alexi Laiho*cough* melodic death metal singers that would fit much better in a thrash band. Kimberly Goss sings in a few songs for this album, too. I must admit I really hate her because of what she did to Warmen's "Beyond Abilities", but hell, she did an awesome job in here; so good that my favorite song from the album, "Bride of the Crimson Sea", has her really often in the vocals. Along the songs where she sings, she balances all that horrendous (said in a good way) singing by Altti with some operatic, Tarja-style singing that adds melody to the songs.
As for the guitars, they do an excellent job. Not all of the riffing is just some insanely fast root-notes, but it keeps the music interesting mixing along the drum's rhythm with some nice power chords and giving relaxing bends in pre-choruses and the likes. As for the solos, well, Antti-Matti is not the most talented guitar player ever, but if he was just too good the album would have been over-the-top and just really out of place. He does some good enough scale runs and whatever to keep it interesting, yet essential.
I must say I bow to Pasi Hiltula. He adds mostly all of the melody to this masterpiece and, hell, he does it in a great way. The keyboards are, most of the time, some really loud orchestration that are just behind the guitar adding a lot of ressonance to it, but at times they catch the attention quite nicely. Yes, there are keyboard solos in the album, too. Pasi has a sound that resembles a bit Janne Wirman. His style of playing is pretty similar, he uses triplets, bends, and tremolos almost as much as Wirman; not nearly as fast, though. I must admit he did a good job with the solos, even though I can't say these are the best keyboard solos I've heard, although his strings backup is among the best.
The drumming is quite essential. There is not much to say about it, some nice cymbal-playing here and there and the rhythms are nice, too, but nothing to impressive. Hell, I was forgetting something! Check out the drum solo outro in "Shattered Soul", that's where Petri lets his soul go out.
I consider "Chaotic Beauty" to be perfect because of how good Eternal Tears of Sorrow blend everything in and prevent it from being repetitive, which is a syndrome many good albums suffer. In "Chaotic Beauty" you'll find just everything: from fast, string-cutting riffs, to slow and melodic bends; from some nice keyboard backups to key-ripping solos, and from epic to extreme. After listening to this, you'll see Children of Bodom (except Janne) are just a bunch of whimps trying to do melodic death metal.