Stop the press and ring whatever gongs you happen to have close to hand, Melo-Death titans Children Of Bodom have conquered all with their epically awesome new record, “Halo Of Blood” (yes, I’m a wee bit excited, keep reading and you’ll see why).
I’m going to be honest, being the fan boy that I am, I was a tad disappointed with “Blooddrunk” (2008) and “Relentless Reckless Forever” (2011). Don’t get me wrong, the albums were chock full of good songs, but as cohesive records they were missing something. That fiery fury that had been present on “Follow The Reaper” (2000) and “Hate Crew Deathroll” (2003) had seemed to fade from memory. It was then I remembered a quote from the band admitting that they had become “lazy” with regards to writing and practice, and I think it was that energy missing on the last two records. .Well that flame’s been rekindled now with ““Halo Of Blood.” “Halo Of Blood” is one of the band’s finest records to date,(almost as if, Hatebreeder, Follow the Reaper and Hatecrew could somehow have a child) serving as both a great record for getting into the band, and as a great example of COB returning to their melodic roots and giving fans the album we’ve been waiting for.
This album entertains from start to finish, with almost every song brining something to the table as well as some of the old Bodom flair that we haven’t seen or heard in a long long time. “Waste Of Skin” provides an awesome intro, leading into a great melodic main riff with almost a “Hate Me!” vibe, as well as having an awesome set of solos (the integral point of most Bodom records) and those signature gang vocals we know and love. Easily one of my favourite tracks on the album, this only sets the tone for the barrage that is to come.
This record also offers listeners some clearly black metal influenced tracks, that haven’t been heard since the band’s sophomore album “Hatebreeder” (1999). “Halo Of Blood” and “The Days Are Numbered” contain some of the band’s fastest playing to date, with drummer Jaska Raatikainen to go totally bat-shit crazy (as well as showing us that he is in fact half octopus).
Other standouts include the album’s slower tracks. “Scream For Silence” features the standard solo battle between lead axe-wielder Alexi Laiho and master of the keys Janne Wirman (probably the most prominent since “Everytime I Die”) as well as an extremely catchy chorus. “Deadman’s Hand On You” has been quoted as Bodom’s slowest song to date, and they really were not wrong. The song isn’t quite a doom-metal track but it’s pretty damn close, giving both Laiho and Roope Latvala to display their non-shred oriented abilities as well.
The return of the “Bodom” series of tracks is also resurrected with “Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming). Honestly, it’s like “Bodom Beach Terror Part II”, and seeing as that was the track that got me into metal, you can imagine how I felt when I heard this track. It’s punchy, thrashy and just balls out aggressive. Album closer “One Bottle and a Knee Deep” ends the album with the perfect bang, leaving us with that same mid-tempo pump that we began with (that and I’m pretty sure Alexi has transformed into a werewolf or something, he sounds like a fucking beast!)
I cannot big this album up enough. We may have waited a while for an album like this, but it’s finally arrived and Children of Bodom have reclaimed their crown. Production has definitely become tighter, Alexi’s vocals now sound less processed than a ready-meal lasagne and there are Roxette (Swedish Pop) and Loudness (Japanese Glam Rock) covers featured as well! I’m giving Halo Of Blood a rating of:
“Halo of Blood” – 4.5/5
If you listen to one album this summer, then this is definitely it (and I’m pretty sure that’s my highest rating…I’m pretty buggered now). To quote Alexi:
“It’s 10 new songs of pure Nordic metal and whether you enjoy it with a beer or a glass of water, I’m sure you will have a good time.” – Alexi Laiho
Halo of Blood is out NOW via Nuclear Blast