Finland has produced some pretty awesome metal bands over the years and for me personally, Children Of Bodom is right at top of that list. Throughout their career they’ve developed a unique brand of melodic death metal that is truly their own. They have a very atmospheric sound, it’s epic and dark, and has an almost classical edge to it. They’re one of those bands that you know it’s them before the vocals even kick in, it’s very distinct. The distinct sound is mostly credited to the combination of the incredible guitar playing of Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho and the equally impressive keyboard mastery of Janne Wirman. Together they create the perfect blend of atmospheric playing combined with incredibly precise, complex and interesting leads, then they shred out the most insane solos, sometimes trading back and forth like they are having a guitar/keyboard showdown. A lot of people, including myself would say Children Of Bodom lost their “touch” a little on a few of their more recent releases but then 2013’s Halo Of Blood came out and it felt like they were getting back to their old ways. Each song was unique, memorable and it was characteristically Children Of Bodom all the way. Now they’re back with a brand new album, I Worship Chaos and one less member with long-time guitarist Roope Latvala leaving the band in April of this year (2015), making it their first album as a four piece. They sound great. The Children Of Bodom that grabbed the attention of melodic death metal fans all over the world, including myself is back to making incredible albums from start to finish.
Children Of Bodom was formed by lead guitarist/vocalist, Alexi Laiho and drummer, Jaska Raatikainen in 1993 in Espoo, Finland. When they first got together they went by the name “Inearthed.” After three failed attempts at recording demos that record labels would be interested in, Children Of Bodom found the missing piece to their sound, keyboards, more specifically, Janne Wirman’s keyboards. During this phase of their career they also found their bass guitar player and backup vocalist, Henkka “Blacksmith” Seppälä and their first rhythm guitarist, Alexander Kuoppala. They recorded their first full-length, Something Wild in 1997 and found a small Belgian label called Shiver Records to release it. Right after Inearthed (Children Of Bodom) signed the contract with Shiver, SpineFarm Records got a copy of Something Wild and wanted to sign them for a country wide release which was obviously a better deal for them seeing as Shiver Records was giving the band no help with distribution and selling the album. Only problem was Inearthed (Children Of Bodom) already signed the contract with Shiver so Spinefarm wanted them to come up with a different name for the band. They eventually settled on Children Of Bodom after finding a place called Lake Bodom in a phonebook and learning about its dark history and the famous “Lake Bodom murders.” In 2003 Alexander Kuoppala left Children Of Bodom unexpectedly and was replaced by Roope Latvala, a founding member of Stone, a staple in the heavy metal history of Finland, and he was a part of Children Of Bodom right up until April of this year. Children Of Bodom has released a total of nine studio albums (including I Worship Chaos), two live albums, and a cover compilation album entitled Skeletons In The Closet. They’ve toured all over the world with some of heavy metal’s biggest acts and they’re one of Finland’s bestselling artists of all time. They’ve developed a very unique and distinguishable style that has earned them a very solid following.
Like I mentioned earlier, one thing Children Of Bodom has done throughout their career is put out quality albums as a whole. There’s not just two or three songs per album that stand out, they all do for the most part. I Worship Chaos definitely continues that trend. All ten songs are different from one another and though you may like some songs better than others (or none at all), each song composition is complex and unique. The album opens with a track called “I Hurt.” A perfect opening track to prove their sound hasn’t changed with Roope Latvala out of the picture. All rhythm and lead guitar was recorded by Alexi Laiho so as you can probably imagine the rhythm playing is pretty technical. Once Children Of Bodom remind you that they still have it with “I Hurt,” they jump into a track titled “My Bodom (I Am The Only One).” It’s has some thrash elements with the gang style vocals and general feel but this is Children Of Bodom so there’s symphonic parts of course and then they give it a bit of 80’s flair. The next track “Morrigan” is my personal favorite on I Worship Chaos. The song composition is just awesome. It has a much more melodic sound than the previous two tracks and it has a bit of a dark, gothic feel to it. Everything from the catchy keyboard riff, to the flawless guitar work, vocals, and drums, it’s really well written and performed even better. “Horns” is a straight up melodic death metal song done in a familiar Children Of Bodom style. Packed full of blast beats, ripping leads and that traditional C.O.B. flavor. From there I Worship Chaos goes into the dark and doomy “Prayer For The Afflicted.” I really dig this track as well, it’s a much slower tempo than Children Of Bodom usually venture into and it came out brilliant. The whispering between verses was a really nice touch to the overall gloomy and dark atmosphere of the song. It’s a very different sounding song compared to the usual Children Of Bodom formula but it’s a good kind of different in my opinion, it adds dynamics and unpredictability to their sound and the album in general. After Children Of Bodom demonstrates their new doomy side they jump into the title track of the album, “I Worship Chaos,” a fairly fast paced song that has some cool elements to it like the pummeling intro and the big chorus with the gang style vocals. “Hold Your Tongue” is another favorite of mine. It’s a well composed, mid-tempo song with killer riffs, technical drumming and a catchy, sing (or scream) along chorus. Track eight, “Suicide Bomber” is another song that has that familiar Children Of Bodom sound and tempo to it. “All For Nothing” is another favorite of mine off of I Worship Chaos. The tempo is fairly slow for the most part but has moments where it picks up the pace. It has a very melodic and almost a ballad type feel to it. Alexi’s vocals really give it a dark feel, also his guitar work again is nothing short of spectacular. It’s the longest track on the album clocking in at almost six minutes and it is certainly is deserving of every second. There’s a lot of complexity to this song and had no problem keeping my attention throughout. I Worship Chaos closes with a track called “Widdershins,” another song packed full of riffs and really tight drumming. It’s a perfect closer.
I Worship Chaos was recorded in an abandoned warehouse and whether or not that is reflected in the sound, I can’t tell, but it sounds pretty damn good. All the instruments are distinguishable and clear and the mix is solid. I Worship Chaos has ten tracks and the deluxe edition features some cover songs as bonus tracks. Children Of Bodom is known for their obscure choices of songs to cover and this time around they chose Kenny Loggins’ pop hit “Danger Zone,” “Black Winter Day” by Amorphis and “Mistress Of Taboo” by Plasmatics. Overall I think this is a solid record. Whether or not it matches up to their older material like Follow The Reaper or Hatecrew Deathroll, probably not, but it easily matches up to Halo Of Blood and in my opinion is even a little better. They added some dynamics to their already one of a kind sound by adding melodic death metal style ballads and just incorporating their musical influences into their song writing. I really enjoyed this album from start to finish, there weren’t any songs that felt forced or thrown in as filler and the riffing is incredible. There’s some great tunes on this record. Overall I give I Worship Chaos, Children Of Bodom’s ninth studio album, 664/666. It’s a really solid record from a veteran band. Not their best effort, but far from their worst. Children Of Bodom are still bringing it after all these years and putting out quality albums as a whole. I Worship Chaos was released on October Second on Nuclear Blast Records and is available through the Amazon link in the sidebar.
Shawn “Short-Fuse” Carter