Children of Bodom
Released: 1998, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Edited by EvilG
Children of Bodom - named after Lake Bodom in Finland, action site of choice for a notorious serial killer some years ago - are another fine example of the metal emanating forth from the Land of the Lakes (other noted representatives of which are Amorphis and Sentenced). Their Nuclear Blast debut album, originally recorded as a demo for local metal label Spinefarm Records, boasts 7 songs (plus a hidden keyboard track) that combine elements from both black metal and progressive/power metal.
The black metal side of Children of Bodom's music is shown mainly in the vocals, which are most of the time a rather standard black metal scream (though maybe not done in the most convincing manner possible), and in the keyboard arrangements. However, the band's influences from the ilk of metal bands like Manowar, Sentenced, Ozzy, Yngwie and various power metal outfits strongly manifest themselves in the guitar riffing, lead work, and overall song structure; the single-note open string fast tremolo picking and the occasional use of open chords, which characterize so much of the guitar work in black metal, are almost nowhere to be found; riffs and leads are complex, the lead work even heavily evoking Yngwie in places - particularly on the first track, 'Deadnight Warrior', and on 'The Nail'. Some songs lean more toward black metal, like 'In the Shadows' (no relation to Mercyful Fate), and some are more strongly power-metallish, like 'Lake Bodom', but the overall result is rather balanced and makes for an interesting listen. Classical music influences are also there, mainly in the keyboard arrangements and in places like the gothic organ interlude in 'In the Shadows', and in 'Red Light in My Eyes, pt. 2', which begins with a wonderfully executed guitar rendition of the intro for Mozart's 25th Symphony.
What the listener may not expect to find, after witnessing the complex arrangements of the songs and the high level of playing technique, is that most of the members of this band were aged around 18 when this album was recorded; however, some of the lyrics (only the lyrics for the last track, 'Touch like Angel of Death', are printed, although a large part of the album's lyrics is actually discernible by listening), and the use of somewhat lame hardcore vocals (particularly in 'In the Shadows' and 'Red Light in My Eyes, pt. 1'), might serve as a reminder of their tender age; however, this will probably disappear in the future, which can only improve things even further.