|Review: Children of Bodom - Hatebreeder|
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year released: 1999
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Review online: April 6, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.4/5 (87.92%) (53 Votes)
It is surprising, considering moral value, how much I miss Children of Bodom. Watching them explode onto the pages of Metal Hammer and Kerrang! Has been a rather tooth-pulling experience for me, as I can so fondly remember when no one else had heard of the Finnish crossover sensations for bloody miles. To be honest, I was proud. I had discovered a band that weren't about the corporate bullshit most artists of this monolithic stature stand for; a band that played music that simply had no boundaries what so ever. That was back in 1999. Now of course, CoB are fast becoming a commercial joke due to the surprising amount of nu-influences they have picked up trawling the states on the eminent Ozzfest bill. Still, just for kicks, I stuck their second full length "Hatebreeder" on the stereo the other night, and couldn't believe how good it sounded.
Simply put, "Hatebreeder" isn't the bands finest hour. Far from it. Their mighty third album "Follow the Reaper" wins my vote hands down for that accolade, but the space in between that and their obscurely dark debut "Something Wild" was filled by an album totally unique, devoid of pretension, and quite possibly a mini masterpiece in its own right.
Kicking things off with an unsettling sound bite from Milo Forman's Amadeus, "Warheart" devastates the listener with a plexus of influence, tumbling from hyper-intense blast beats to neo-classical insanity. Stratovarius with harsh vocals would indeed be a good analogy to describe the fruits on offer, with the fabulous "Silent Night, Bodom Night" and aggressive title track all baring their influences like a line of whores in a Emperor's harem. "Towards Dead End" possibly leans too far towards euro-power metal but the murder-metal assault of the chilling "Black Widow" and the sleepless approach of closer "Downfall" are a progressive amalgamation of musical finesse. Alexi Laiho's raspy vocals rip the music to shreds, and his super-technical, melodic guitar wizardry is something that has to be heard to be believed. The sinister synth sounds and perversely specialized keyboard solos are so perfect; it's hard to tell which is guitar and which is synth. Both Laiho and keyboarder Janne Warmen sprinkle their talents all over the album's expanse, adding to the variety with every note. Obviously, most people reading this will already have the album, but if you can imagine a world without music for 10 years being exposed to Children of Bodom, they may just sound like the most original band in the world. Here's to good times.
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