By Carl Begai
Children Of Bodom’s trademark Hate Crew tag is meant as a proclamation of bad-assed-ness, but the band has hit a point in their career where it can be twisted to represent just how much some people detest them. Case in point when they pre-released a handful of tracks from their new album, I Worship Chaos; for all the praise the songs received there were just as many voices cutting the Children off at the knees. The music business has never been for the thin-skinned, of course, but in the internet age any band or solo artist hoping to carve out a career has to be prepared to get knocked in the teeth the moment they release new material. For Children Of Bodom vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho and keyboardist Janne Wirman any lambasting they’ve received for I Worship Chaos thus far is simply a walk in the park they choose not to take.
Alexi: “I started ignoring that shit pretty much right away, when the whole internet thing kicked in. It doesn’t pay off to read any of the fucking reactions.”
BraveWords: Which extends to ignoring folks like Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn, who took online shots at you via Facebook (in October 2014)after you voiced your disappointment at Machine Head cancelling the North American headline tour you were due to support so they could finish work on their new album (Bloodstone & Diamonds).
Alexi: “I know, what the fuck? Honestly, it made me laugh because it was so surreal. I’ve known Robb Flynn for a long time, we’ve toured with Machine Head before and we always got along, and all of a sudden he’s out there talking shit about me? I just laughed and that’s why I didn’t say shit about it. The last thing I want to do is get into some stupid-ass internet war. If anything, that break in the schedule gave me more time to write. I stayed pretty active, I did a bunch of other shit like guitar clinics and playing bass on a friend’s band because I didn’t want to sit on my ass. I was also able to work on riffs that I’ve had in my head for quite a long time.”
BraveWords: It’s not at all surprising that I Worship Chaos has polarized your fanbase. Something would be wrong if the fans weren’t choosing sides when you release new music.
Janne: “I Worship Chaos feels right on many levels. It was the right time to release an album like this and somehow it all clicked together. You can’t plan on something like this; sometimes it just works and everything turns out great. We haven’t written the same song or album over and over again, but it’s getting to the point where we have to come up with new and fresh ideas, and somehow keep doing what we’re doing. That’s something we’ve always kept in mind, to not release the same thing over and over again. That won’t work for us.” Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
By this point Children Of Boom fans, or anyone that gave a damn about the band’s first three albums (Something Wild, Hatebreeder, Follow The Reaper) before they pushed the ugly up a few notches for the Are You Dead Yet? and Blooddrunk, are aware that the Finns’ new album Halo Of Blood is a tip of the hat to those good old days. Listen closely, however, and you’ll realize it’s not simply the back-to-the-roots album so many followers have been hoping for and harping on…
“Every fucking person I spoke to for the album said that we’d definitely gone back to the roots and that Halo Of Blood reminded them of our first three albums,” says vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho. “So you don’t have to do that; I already know (laughs).”
There’s no getting away from the fact that Children Of Bodom have taken a step back, though. A listen through Hatebreeder or Follow The Reaper back-to-back with Halo Of Blood offers loads of room for comparison, even though some of the old songs sound surprisingly thin against the new tunes. No offence to the COB legacy, of course, but production values don’t lie.
“None taken, that’s for sure. There’s definitely some truth to that. There might be some elements from the old school Bodom on Halo Of Blood, but it’s with an obvious updated sound. Like you said, there’s so much more to it than Hatebreeder or those other albums. ‘All Twisted ‘ is a song where even I get a Follow The Reaper vibe, but there’s an updated sound to it. None of that shit was intentional or thought out beforehand. It just came about naturally and spontaneous, as always.”
“At certain points I guess the new album was easier than the last one,” Laiho continues, “but it’s never easy to write an album, that’s for sure. I always hit a wall at some point trying to put the parts together, but when I look back now on the writing and recording process for Halo Of Blood, it does seem that it went a little smoother this time around.” Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
Word of a new Children Of Bodom album on the horizon always seems to be accompanied by a chorus of bitching and moaning from the fans as they hope and pray for a return to the band’s Hatebreeder / Follow The Reaper heyday. The build-up to Halo Of Blood is no different, and having attended a listening session for the record on March 16th courtesy of Nuclear Blast, I can tell you that Halo Of Blood isn’t the full-on back-to-the-roots album you’d sell your siblings’ internal organs for.
It is, however, the best damn thing Children Of Bodom have released since Hate Crew Deathroll in 2003.
First time through, chances are most fans will end up somewhere between relieved and perplexed at hearing trademark Bodom-isms from the early years back-to-back with numerous WTF moments. It’s bloody overwhelming at times trying to process how the band has re-invented themselves when you look back on Are You Dead Yet?, Blooddrunk and Relentless Reckless Forever; the three records that polarized and/or pissed off the COB fanbase. Continue Reading