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Timeless melodic death metal with a significant legacy - 90%

kluseba, May 16th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Napalm Records (Digipak)

Legendary melodic death metal guitarist and vocalist Alexi Laiho managed to record three songs with his new band Bodom After Midnight before passing away at the end of last year. The band decided to release this first and final extended play as a tribute to him. Paint the Sky with Blood does the outstanding artist's career justice and shows what could have become an absolutely astonishing band.

Even without the emotional connection associated to this release, this extended play offers three excellent songs for fifteen highly entertaining minutes. The opening title track is fast and gritty but also epic and melodic. The fast guitar riffs and powerful rhythm section collide with neoclassical guitar solos and playful keyboard passages. Alexi Laiho's charismatic vocals are supported by fierce backing vocals in the catchy chorus. This is easily the best song in many years written by Alexi Laiho and shows how hungry he still was so late in his career. The song would have deserved a spot on any early Children of Bodom record as well.

Second tune ''Payback's a Bitch'' starts with heavy breathing before energetic rhythm section, fierce guitar riffs and relentless vocals set in. The song is certainly less catchy than the opening tune but offers a grippingly oppressive atmosphere and more brutal musicianship that goes back to the middle years of Children of Bodom.

This extended play concludes with an excellent cover of Dissection's ''Where Dead Angels Lie''. The band kept the sinister atmosphere intertwined with melodic breaks from the original song and adapted it to its technically impressive melodic death metal style. The song is a little bit slower than the other two and this shift in pace successfully carries the track throughout six and a half minutes of almost cinematic entertainment. The original song is appreciated by many metal fans around the world but I believe that most of them would agree with me that this inspired cover song is on the same level.

Since this extended play offers only three songs, I would suggest collectors and fans to grab the splendid boxed set that includes an art print of Alexi Laiho, a flag, a pendant and a photocard of the band.

The band has played three concerts in Finland last October, performing seventeen vibrant Children of Bodom songs. These concerts have been professionally recorded. It would be amazing if one of those concerts could still be released under the Bodom After Midnight banner. The band was in excellent form and the setlist should appeal to any fan of Alexi Laiho's works.

At the end of the day, the purchase of Bodom After Midnight's excellent extended play Paint the Sky with Blood is highly recommended and already a solid candidate for extended play or even release of the year. The band's melodic death metal sound is timeless and will have a significant legacy under the special circumstances of its release. May Alexi Laiho rest in peace!