Children of Bodom Are Back to Relentlessly Shred Your Face Off Yet Again
Thursday, March 10, 2011 2 Comments
Children of Bodom came out with a new record? Yeah, I’m as surprised as you. I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing, it just feels like yesterday that Blooddrunk was released, but fuck, that was in 2008? Time flies, and Relentless Reckless Forever is the new disc to melt your faces from the Finnish death metal-ers. Bodom have definitely regained their footing since 2005’s atrocity Are You Dead Yet? Though “Trashed Lost and Strungout” is quite possibly one of my favorite Bodom songs ever, besides that song and the title-track, that album was pretty much garbage; a minor blemish on an otherwise stellar discography that seems to be on the right track.
On the other hand though, Relentless Reckless Forever fails to bring Bodom back to the apex of their songwriting career that was demonstrated on 2003’s Hate Crew Deathroll. I know, I know, diehard fans will cry blasphemy that Hatebreeder was the band’s best, and though I like that album a lot, HCDR is just much more relevant to the band’s current style than Hatebreeder.
If you picked up Blooddrunk, Relentless Reckless Forever is exactly the record you’ll expect from Children of Bodom, which is neither great nor bad news. RRF is a solid album, has some great moments, but didn’t ever really surprise me at all. It seems very…safe. To me, this album feels like a cross between Blooddrunk and Follow the Reaper. There’s a lot of slower, harmonized riffs that reminded me of the very first time I heard “Every Time I Die,” mixed with the aggression Blooddrunk had to offer, though hardly as often. So if you enjoyed both those records you’ll like RRF. It’s definitely a solid effort.
There are few guitarists that can shred as efficiently as the band’s frontman Alexi Laiho, something he demonstrates about 2-3 minutes into every song. If he wasn’t so damn good at guitar all these solos would probably piss me off, but since he is, they’re still a lot of fun to listen to. Most of Laiho’s solos are accompanied by Janne Warman’s equally as impressive, albeit novelty, keyboard solos any long-time Bodom fan would expect. The dual solo in “Was it Worth it?” is made more awesome by a Pantera-esque drum and bass backing, instead of the same boring chord progression the rhythm guitarist (Roope Latvala on this record) usually gets stuck having to play.
Where this album loses me, however, are the constant slow choruses. As much as I love Bodom’s tone, I think slower choruses just really aren’t their forte, with notable exceptions, of course. Let’s be honest, Laiho’s vocals have never been truly amazing, so slowing down the chorus so frequently on this album just ends up losing my attention. I’d much rather have the pissed off gang-vocals of “Hate Me!” or the middle-finger flying chants of “Sixpounder” any day.
The packaging on this release is pretty awesome. As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for themes across bands’ releases, and after seven full-length albums, Bodom still makes their signature reaper look awesome and unique. The CD comes in a cool CD/DVD digipak, with some evil scarecrow-reaper cover art throughout. The DVD portion includes a few live videos, the music video for “Was it Worth it?” and its making of, and a couple glimpses at Alexi Laiho’s new instructional videos. The preview went as far as to name Laiho “one of this generation’s most influential guiatrists.” I’m sorry, but I had to poke fun at the huge typo, I mean, if you’re going to the screen filled with only huge type claiming this, make sure your shit’s spelled right! The band doesn’t charge extra for this either, so you can get a little extra and not feel like you’re getting ripped off. I’m looking at you The Panic Broadcast (Soilwork)!
So overall, I’d say this is a solid album, but definitely far from my favorite of Children of Bodom’s. The guitar work is still entertaining, but nowhere near as aggressive or catchy as their past work. If you’re already a huge Children of Bodom fan, you’ll definitely enjoy this album as there’s still tons of shredding afoot, but if you couldn’t get into Bodom’s sound before, I can’t say Relentless Reckless Forever will win you over. Check out my stand out tracks below and make the call yourself.
“Shovel Knockout,” “Ugly,” “Northpole Throwdown,” and “Not My Funeral.”