The metal world continues to mourn the loss of Children of Bodom's co-founder Alexi Laiho, who tragically passed away in December 2020 at the age of 41. Laiho was one of the best and most beloved frontmen of his generation. The combination of his virtuosity as a guitarist and savage vocals contributed to creating an addictive sonic potion.
In his biography, which was penned by Petri Silas, Laiho stated: "I am certain that back in the late 1990s we were the only group in the world which operated in the realm of thrash, death, and black metal yet laced its songs with guitar riffs reminiscent of Jake E. Lee, not to mention choruses and melodies inspired by Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P., and the like. A truly singular, one-in-a-million kind of mess." Formed in 1993 as Inearthed, Children of Bodom indeed captivated a massive fanbase with their intriguing mix of subgenres. Children of Bodom was a truly innovative band, and A Chapter Called Children of Bodom (Final Show in Helsinki Ice Hall 2019) is a beautiful way to honor their legacy.
As always, Laiho's skills as a guitarist provide cause for wonder on A Chapter Called Children of Bodom. His vocals here remain endowed with the authority of a pioneering legend. He brings his all and slays with the youthful charm of an emerging artist. In addition to Laiho, A Chapter Called Children of Bodom also features Jaska Raatikainen on drums, Janne Wirman on keys, and Henkka Seppälä on bass. Of course, each of the musicians delivers entrancing performances.
The powerhouse as a whole seems to be at the top of their game, even though Children of Bodom was obviously disbanding, and Bodom After Midnight would soon arise from its ashes for a brief period. Synths and effects can certainly weaken metal, but in Children of Bodom's case in general as well as on this specific offering, they contribute to a more fun listening experience and enhance the feeling of chaos. Again, polished aspects intertwine with Children of Bodom's bestial aggression and strength, which hit you like a crowbar to the back. As one might expect, A Chapter Called Children of Bodom is a record that makes you want to party hard and cause a massive amount of physical damage.
Yes, Children of Bodom was especially great to behold on the stage. Their remarkable charisma, chemistry, and momentum presented themselves as very special forces. From beginning to end, A Chapter Called Children of Bodom is exceptionally energetic and exhilarating. It is also extremely cohesive and attests to Children of Bodom's great clarity of vision, which persisted throughout the years. The 18 career highlights chosen for the generous A Chapter Called Children of Bodom were well selected. They serve as good representations of what Children of Bodom was all about. For this reason, A Chapter Called Children of Bodom is sure to please crowds. The material proves timeless and just as enjoyable now as it ever was. It still packs every bit of its rebellious allure.
A Chapter Called Children of Bodom kicks off with "Under Grass and Clover," the second number on Hexed (2019), and its sparkly synths. The band then plays the highly enjoyable "Platitudes and Barren Words," another track from Hexed, before launching into the 2005 classic "In Your Face." Children of Bodom dishes up irresistible renditions of other fan favorites like "Blooddrunk," "Hate Me," and "Hate Crew Deathroll." Yes, "Morrigan," for example, may be missing, but this release is so satisfying that you won't even notice. As it does on this album, "Angels Don't Kill," which begins with a sound clip from American Psycho (2000), very often served as an especially refreshing and magical moment at Children of Bodom's concerts.
Ultimately, the whole glorious celebration ends with a killer performance of "Downfall." We don't know how the Children of Bodom team kept up their high level of intensity during such a long set, but they have always exceeded our expectations.