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Hey, They Did Something Right - 90%

Tastychainsaws, July 14th, 2012

Ah, Children of Bodom, if there was ever a band I had conflicted feelings about. If I were caring about appearances, I would be reluctant to call myself a fan around true metal fans for fear of scrutiny and the like. It seems to me that Children of Bodom is fast becoming a band that is being held on the same pedestal of shame as acts like Slipknot, Oceano, and Whitechapel. With their last several releases, their music and image seems to be catering to mall-going teenagers and people who believe that All That Remains is the pinnacle of the metal scene. Forgive my strawmanning, would you? I have honestly never met a fan who became enamored with the band because they were exposed to material from Blooddrunk or Are You Dead Yet? Basically I’m just trying to say that the first half of their career is great, and the latter half is about as consistent as a waterslide with speed bumps. Not everything from their last three albums is an abomination under god, and there are definitely a couple good songs somewhere amidst those records.

So here we are with Holiday at Lake Bodom (15 Years of Wasted Youth), a compilation of songs spanning all of their albums. The easiest way to sum this compilation up is by saying that it’s pretty much a portfolio of pretty much the best the band has to offer. There are tracks that I wish had made it on there, and others that didn’t; but I’m positive that every other listener has that same opinion. Holiday at Lake Bodom offers twenty songs, and I thoroughly believe these twenty are enough to satisfy both long-time fans and people who have never listened to the band before.

One of the best things I can say about this compilation is that it has a pleasant lack of Children of Bodom’s newer songs. What songs that made it on here from Are You Dead Yet? and beyond just happen to be some of the only ones I really like. I was happily surprised to find Shovel Knockout made on here, being that it’s pretty much the only track off Reckless Relentless… Wreckless… Ruffles, whatever the fuck their last album is called; that I’ll go back and listen to. I also feel I must mention that Children of Bodom’s last album gets the award for have the most awkward title to say aloud in music history.

Ultimately, this feels like a great service to fans who want to sit down and listen to Bodom and get a taste of some of their favorite songs spanning over every album. There are also two unreleased cover songs as well, which is an additional treat. I’ve never been a big fan of CoB’s covers, but they’re solid enough that I don’t feel the urge to skip them. It feels to me like the band included them just to offer something new to fans as well, which I can definitely appreciate. As a longtime fan I really can’t find anything really to complain about with this release. It’s a solid 90% and the only thing in years that Children of Bodom has done that I’ve been wholly pleased with.

All in all, a solid compilation that highlights everything good at Children of Bodom. If you’re a long-time fan or just an occasional listener, I recommend it. If you even have a passing interest in Children of Bodom, then I recommend it.

A truly excellent deal for occasional fans - 95%

kluseba, May 24th, 2012

In the past years, I have always tried out a couple of Children Of Bodom records and came to the conclusion that the band always quite sounded the same and always included a bunch of predictable but heavily addicting party tracks on their records and some more or less convincing fillers. There were some records that I actually liked as the classic “Hatebreeder” or the quite underrated “Are You Dead Yet” but I rarely listened to them as a whole and always found a couple of songs to skip.

This retrospective is now the perfect release for me. It is filled with eighteen songs from the past fifteen years spanning from the band official debut record “Something Wild” up to the latest album “Relentless Reckless Forever”. From fast and hard melodic death metal like the amazing “Silent Night, Bodom Night” over catchy hit singles as “Hate Me!” up to rather electronic experiments like the wonderful “Living Dead Beat” this album includes everything I have always liked about the band.

As a special gimmick for those who already own everything the band has put out, Children Of Bodom put not only a good booklet inside but also some kind of documentary with over twenty minutes of extra footage and a brand new video clip for “Shovel Knockout” on a bonus disc that illustrate well the band’s philosophy which can be resumed on having fun without any limits and living day by day.

The two brand new cover songs also illustrate that rebellious attitude. On the other side, the two tracks prove once again that the band listens to almost all kinds of music and is able to add their band typical sound to anything. The Celtic punk classic “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys has quite the same positive energy as the original and is a great party anthem.

“Jessie’s Girl” is a very catchy hymn for jealous stalkers originally interpreted by rock artist Rick Springfield. I always felt that this song could be transformed into something heaver and the Finnish legends made my dreams come true and did an excellent job on this song in times of Glee’s and other stuff. They have kept the charming melodies and grooves of the original, underlined the melodies with an excellent short guitar solo and dominating keyboards and added clean as well as harsh vocals to the original sound. I always liked the way the band made their cover songs but this is definitely one of the best things Children Of Bodom have done from that kind of view and their interpretation made me discover the original again and the track stayed on my mind for hours and days.

In the end, I have finally found the perfect solution to my dilemma that consisted of adoring some particular tracks of the band but not quite their entire albums. The band included over seventy-eight minutes of music on this record and offers value for money. Every studio record of the band to date is honoured on this colourful and diversified release. The band pretty much chose their most popular tracks but also some fan favourite’s songs. Of course, some people might argue that their personal highlight might not be included for whatsoever reason but in comparison to so many other lukewarm greatest hits compilations in times of Icon and Company, I don’t see any essential track missing and think that the band did a quite excellent job concerning their eighteen choices for this release. The two brand new cover songs are excellent and should please to any fan of the band even though the band could have released these two tracks as a single apart for those who already own all the band’s records. A brand new song or some rare bonus tracks could have been interesting but the fact that these can’t be found on here only means that the old singles, Japanese album pressing or reissues keep their value and that some possible new material might soon be honoured in an appropriated way on an entirely new studio record.

I must finally admit that this greatest hits release addicted me a little bit more to the band than before and makes me want to try out again their old studio records. This compilation will surely be part of my personal soundtrack for the summer. Normally, I’m not a fan of best of releases at all but this one is a very well done effort and personally even my favourite Children Of Bodom record.