Children Of Bodom – “I Worship Chaos” (Nuclear Blast Records)
The gods have returned. As a follower since the days of “Follow The Reaper” I am constantly reminded that despite coming a long way, Children Of Bodom are still very much the melodic death metal band that I love. Now one of Finland’s best selling groups and global touring veterans, Children Of Bodom have mustered all that experience and cumulative talent to produce “I Worship Chaos”, their ninth studio album. Literally crashing in on you, it’s the incredibly big, bombastic sound that is so akin to their live show that first grabs you, achieved apparently by recording in a converted warehouse rather than a conventional studio. With Roope Latvala leaving the band this year, it’s main man co-founder Alexi Laiho who handles all the guitars this time round and it works a treat – huge, razor sharp riffs with a raw n heavy edge especially on ‘Hold Your Tongue’ mellowed by some of the most incredible melodies you’ll hear this side of the planet – and that’s before you get to the soloing! Master Alexi might have been known as ‘wildchild’ cos of his love for W.A.S.P. but I always associate it with his fast n flamboyant style on that fret board – seeing him live tearing into it is almost as good as hearing him on record!! Fast behind him comes keyboardist Janne Wirman who musters as much gusto when his own melodies have a very close guitar sound as well as a proggish note that adds a wider range and distinctive tint to Children Of Bodom’s sound. As for hammering rhythm of co-founder drummer Jaska Raatikainen and heavy bassist Henkka Seppälä, you don’t need to even ask twice as they lay the steam on ‘Horns’ while adding a steady beat to the magnificent ambiance of the somewhat different than usual ‘Prayer For The Afflicted’, a slow brooding piece that begins with a keyboard intro(!) before featuring more virtuosic guitar from Alexi. Bringing it all together has to be ‘Morrigan’, again another mid tempo piece that brings the darkness of the underworld together with a heavy groove, lending to a simple yet highly catchy song which has become the album’s single. For older fans like me, closer ‘Widdershins’ with its melodic raw knuckled power will take you back right to the days of “Follow The Reaper”, proving that Finland’s favorite sons have not only returned, but are still the guys we grew up with.