Children of Bodom Album Review “I Worship Chaos”
Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom has had a few challenging years behind them. In the business for more than 20 years they had a stellar start to their career. Their 1999 record “Hatebreeder” is widely regarded as a genre classic. The next two records “Follow The Reaper” and “Hate Crew Deathroll” cemented their status as one of the most innovative and technically versatile bands in extreme metal. However, then things kind of got pear-shaped. The attempt of opening the band’s sound to appeal to a wider public clearly backfired and the Fins lost reputation and a lot of their fans from the early stages of their career. The recent departure of their long-time guitarist Roope Latvala only increased the pressure on the band.
The album starts out with two songs that include everything COB fans would expect from a new record. “I Hurt” and “My Bodom” are classic melodic death metal tracks that at times border to outright galloping thrash metal riffing. Both songs feature the classic Children of Bodom trademarks: the crisp and sharp riffs, the little melodies here and there and the angry growls of frontman Alexi Laiho who by the way has done a fantastic job covering all the guitar work on the album. This is a promising start to the album.
The first surprise follows in form of the track “Morrigan”. “Morrigan” is a very melodic even catchy song that unfortunately reminds me of the not-so-strong records of the past 10 years. The song lacks the intensity of the first two tracks and the main melody becomes a bit repetitive after a while. Fortunately the fast and heavy “Horns” gets the intensity right back up again before the band presents what can only be called a power ballad with growling vocal. “Prayer For The Afflicted” is quite out of character and doesn’t really do it for me. The power ballad / growling vocals combination is interesting. However, I still think that Children of Bodom are at the best when they are heavy, fast and angry.
They get back to the heavy, fast and angry attitude with the title track “I Worship Chaos”: a worthy title track and a well-structured song increasing the level of aggression again. From there on the band remains in their tried-and-tested territory with another 4 tracks of a melodic death and thrash mixture, only with “All for Nothing” the Fins take the foot of the pedal again.
“I Worship Chaos” is a solid album and probably the best the band released since “Hate Crew Deathroll”. Technically there is no flaw to be found. The production is modern, crisp and aggressive. The songs are well-written, not overly complex but structured enough to be not repetitive. The album will re-gain the band a lot of respect although they seem to play is safe at times. Children of Bodom are at their best when they are at their heaviest, just as they were in the first part of their career. “I Worship Chaos” does take a big step back into that (the right) direction.
8 of 10