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Children of Bodom Pulled an "Overkill" - 90%

Speedking2281, June 13th, 2013

Much like Overkill with their string of slower and unenergetic albums, Children of Bodom has been a band I've been waiting to "come back" for a long time. Also similar to Overkill, Children of Bodom was one of the bands that truly excelled in bringing pure metallic ENERGY to metal. I knew both bands had it in them, as they both had released some of my favorite metal albums of all time. And much like "Ironbound" rekindled my love of Overkill, "Halo of Blood" has rekindled my love of Children of Bodom.

Within the first 30 seconds of the album, you become aware that this is not the logical successor to "Relentless Reckless Forever". The feel of that very first main melody immediately brings back that old familiar CoB feeling of the first four albums. That certain something of the melodies, keyboards and tempos that really do capture what CoB really is. Whatever "it" is, it's there. And it's here on the album in general.

Children of Bodom is built for melody and speed, not heaviness and chugging riffs. They're finally back to what they do as good as or better than anyone in my opinion. They're letting the true talents of all the members really shine, and it seems to reignite passion and energy within the band members.

In general, "the faster and more melodic, the better" is how I view Children of Bodom songs. That applies here as well, and I'm fully aware that that is likely just an issue with me and my love of fast tempos. But there's more than enough melody in the few mid-paced (and one slow (!)) songs to keep them exciting, which for me is saying something.

I'm not sure I can say exactly where this album would fit in in the landscape of different sounding CoB albums. It's not Hatebreeder Part II, nor is it Hatecrew Deathroll Part II. I'd say if you could musically combine their first four albums (and the good songs off "Are you Dead Yet?") and sum them all together, then give some sort of musical average of their sound and feel, you'd have this album.

In short, I'm absolutely thrilled with this album. It's about as much of an incredibly pleasant surprise to me as Overkill's "Ironbound" was, and for the first time in what feels like forever, I'm eager and excited to see what Alexi and Co. will be doing in future musical releases.