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*Looks up from newspaper*. - 90%

sparklewhooves1, April 21st, 2015
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Witch of the East (Enhanced, Digipak)

Well what have we here? An intriguing little opus from a band I've ignored far too long? Yeah I haven't managed to start digging in Children Of Bodom's backyard until recently. It was a backyard that I was told had a really cool shed, but was filled with rabid dogs that had swoopy hair and daddy issues. Well fortunately, the entrance to that shed seems to be right near the front gate. Because I'll be honest, "Something Wild" was an album that I had ZERO expectations for, but came out pleasantly attached to.

This album has an almost Iron Maiden- esque sense of drama to it. But at the same time it has an almost adolescent, some would say "child-like" aura of rebellion. Initially, it was this rebellious, 16 year old aura that drove me away. And now it's a strange kind of draw. This album is really just kind of a balls out, no holds bar joy ride. But it's a skillful joy ride that ends in a jump off of a bridge in slow motion, right back to the driveway. I guess you could say that these guys are the W.A.S.P of extreme metal in a strange way. And I'm assuming that's an honor for these guys. As luck would have it, the wheels on this ride are the riffs. They really have no set standard of genre. While they are obviously mostly rooted in melodeath, I heard a HEALTHY amount of black metal on this album. More specifically on the song "In The Shadows", which after a quick bass interlude jumps into a pure black metal riff in the style of Emperor or Dissection. This album really is "jumpy" in that way. There are no simple transitions, it's like this album is perpetually on a diving board to the next riff. While most bands would make that jarring and uncomfortable, Children of Bodom give it an almost zany and crazy feel. This is due in no small part, to how much each instrument plays a part.

While the riffs are by far the most important part of this album, the keyboards are certainly not satisfied to just sit in the corner and do crossword puzzles. Heck, the first track "Deadnight Warrior" is pretty well keyboard driven in itself for the verses at least. They have a snowy and glittery presence to them. And I think I should explain that as to avoid sounding 80 degrees of gay. The keyboards have a flaked sound to them, like they're falling from the ceiling in particles. They sound "dusty" if you will. And they compliment the absolutely beautiful guitar melodies. There is some serious skill in the guitar department of this album. It's like the rest of the instruments are running in a straight line, and the guitars and keyboard are weaving in and out of that line in skillful and fluid manners.

Each song has a symphonic sound and structure. You could almost say that it's borderline neoclassical. But this album certainly does not waste time with wanking around, no sir. The structure and songwriting is absolutely superb...minus the vocals. Good lord poor Alexi. I genuinely feel bad for the guy, it's not that his vocals are particularly terrible, it's more how he kind of "yowls" them out. And this certainly doesn't get helped by the fact that nearly all of his lyrics are improvised. I mean this is some embarrassing writing here ladies and gentlemen. Just think of the worst thing you said when you were 13 years old and angsty. You probably wanted to forget that didn't you? Well too bad because Alexi has immortalized every uneducated and hormone dripping mistake you ever made into his lyrics. If this band wanted to go instrumental, I don't think anybody would have a big problem.

This album's coup de gras would lie in it's almost Victorian gothic atmosphere in some songs. More specifically in the song "Red Light In My Eyes". It's almost like the band was told to write a song that summed up the events of the Castlevania franchise. Everything is so web-covered and stone cold. The second part even interludes near the start with some wind tunnel toned organs before jumping into a frantic and speed picked melody. You could almost assume the band was wearing some frilly shirts and practicing poor hygiene to get in the mood. I guess you could say this is where people say the power metal rears it's head from, but I don't really know.

I mean, I can certainly see where people are seeing the power metal angle from, but I can't say I totally agree. While this album does share some traits commonly seen in power metal, these don't strike me as power metal riffs. They lie more in the range of traditional heavy metal riffs with some neoclassical influence if you ask me, but maybe I'm the idiot here. Either way, the atmosphere is absolutely dripping with classic neo-gothic and Victorian texture. It hearkens back to that sense of Iron Maiden-like drama that I brought up at the beginning of the review. The band takes it time to build up and be as theatrical as possible. Like each song is a castle being built up in front of your very eyes. And as you're watching it be built, the more narrow and sharp it gets near the top. Much like the songs on this album build up to a strong and fitting point.

While this album might have a flaw or two strewn throughout (Alexi's poor cat yowling and the somewhat unremarkable drums), I think it's a prime example of classic late 90s melodeath, with some theatrical and atmospheric structure.

I think those who see melodic death metal as a bastardization and poor representation of what death metal is about should check this record out. You might very well be eating those words in your cereal while Alexi reminds you of how much you hate your parents.

Final rating: 9/10