Reviewed: July 1999
Released: 1999, Nuclear Blast Records
Hailing from Finland, a country that reportedly has a culture which thrives upon depression and brooding, these youngsters created quite a stir in the metal community last year with their debut CD Something Wild. All still in their early twenties, Children of Bodom have combined black metal, power metal, thrash metal, classical, and folk music along with their exceptional playing skills and the negative emotions of their heritage to create yet another great album.
Led by former Thy Serpent guitarist Alexi Laiho (who also handles vocal duties), this quintet has developed a rather distinct sound for themselves. Unlike a lot of other bands in the genre, CoB infuse the aforementioned styles with both technical and melodic grace. The musicianship displayed on Hatebreeder is absolutely amazing, especially Laiho’s lead playing and the work of keyboardist Janne Pimeys.
The CD begins with the crushing “Warheart” and with the exception of a few slower tempo (but not slow) songs, maintains the same feel throughout the entire disc. Highlights include “Silent Night, Bodom Night”, “Bed of Razors”, “Black Widow”, the already mentioned “Warheart”, and the title track. But in all honesty, there are no weak songs on this album whatsoever. The only thing I found that may turn some potential fans off from CoB is Laiho’s vocals. I know that there many metal fans who can’t tolerate this particular singing style. Personally, I found the vocals to be very fitting of the music. Actually, (to me, anyway) Laiho sounds a little like Kreator’s Mille during the Terrible Certainty/Extreme Aggression period.
So in closing, I really don’t know what else to say since this disc contains no throwaway material. If I had to make one complaint, it would have to be the fact that not all of the lyrics were printed in the booklet. Why the lyrics for only six of the nine tracks would be printed makes absolutely no sense. Did the label have too-low a printing budget? The same thing happened with Something Wild when the lyrics for only one song was printed. But with or without printed lyrics, Children of Bodom are definitely a band with immense musical potential. And with a little luck, the next CD will have ALL the lyrics printed in the booklet.
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