BraveWords Interview: CHILDREN OF BODOM – Heading For Lobodomy And Begging Them For More

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 BraveWords Interview: CHILDREN OF BODOM – Heading For Lobodomy And Begging Them For More

CHILDREN OF BODOM – Chaos, Attitude, A Gig In Hel

By Carl Begai


Children Of Bodom vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho and keyboardist Janne Wirman recently completed their official press junket for the band’s new album, I Worship Chaos. It’s a record that will ultimately keep the faithful Bodomites happy the way the band’s previous album Halo Of Blood did, while offering up a few surprises as it plays out. During the interview for BraveWords – coming soon – we stepped away from I Worship Chaos a little bit to discuss some recent projects outside the band that ultimately remain linked to Finland’s favourite Hatecrew.

And yes, “Hel” is spelled correctly in the title above. Trust me.

Diehard fans are well aware of Wirman’s other band, Warmen, and Laiho’s connection to it. Unlike Children Of Bodom, which features primarily Laiho-powered songs, Wirman calls the shots along with his brother Antti (guitars) in Warmen. Laiho has made guest appearances on the last three Warmen albums, however, and has performed live with the band on occasion. Warmen’s latest record, First Of The Five Elements, features Laiho on the song “Suck My Attitude”, a track that realistically could have been submitted and recorded as a Children Of Bodom tune without pissing off the vast majority of fans. Much the same way “High Heels On Cobblestone” from Warmen’s previous album, Japanese Hospitality, could have survived the COB treatment.

“Yeah, almost, but that’s not the way we think,” says Wirman. “Sure, if ‘Suck My Attitude’ had a little tweaking done it could almost pass as a Bodom song, but that’s not the point. I think ‘Suck My Attitude’ is more Lamb Of God influenced, and it was written mostly by my brother. Obviously people can hear the Children Of Bodom influence in it, but I hear lots of Lamb Of God in there because both of us are huge fans. It’s funny because it’s almost like a tribute (laughs). Getting Alexi to sing on the song, and the ‘Suck my attitude!’ chorus, just fit perfectly. I love how it turned out, and I really love the fact we got to play it live this summer at the Tuska festival with Alexi singing with us.” Continue reading CHILDREN OF BODOM – Chaos, Attitude, A Gig In Hel

CHILDREN OF BODOM – Reaper Madness: Bleed And Feed

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 CHILDREN OF BODOM – Reaper Madness: Bleed And Feed

BW&BK Interview: CHILDREN OF BODOM – Halo Of Blood Listening Session: “There Are No Filler Tracks On This…”

By Carl Begai

Back in March, BW&BK was invited to attend the listening session for Children Of Bodom’s highly anticipated new album, Halo Of Blood, to be issued through their new label Nuclear Blast on June 7th. The ‘net is abuzz with reports that the band have taken a back-to-the-roots approach this time out, and while it may seem that way on the surface, turns out Halo Of Blood is so much more than a rehash of a successful formula. For those that have written off the Hate Crew as having their best years behind them, Halo Of Blood will be a a pleasant surprise for some, a kick in the nuts for others.

We sat down with keyboardist Janne Wirman and drummer Jaska Raatikainen following the initial run-through of the new album.

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BW&BK: Making the move from Universal to Nuclear Blast seems like a logical step considering you were on Spinefarm/Nuclear Blast at the start of the band’s career. Was moving to a smaller label a case of feeling lost in the shuffle on a big roster of artists?

Janne: “The first three albums were just licensed to Nuclear Blast, so we didn’t really have that much of a relationship with them, but we’re excited about the move. We had a great relationship with Spinefarm, but Spinefarm got sold to Universal as you know, and when a major label takes control of a smaller label things don’t always go as planned. Little by little it started to be a sucky deal for us, so when our deal ended with them we started shopping around for a new deal. A lot of labels made offers, but in the current market when major labels are going down anyway, it was a good decision to go with an independent metal label that is also the biggest metal label in Europe.”

Jaska: “Everybody always says we were a Nuclear Blast band because of the licensing deal, and the first tours we did were Nuclear Blast festival tours. Still, we knew the people involved so it was nice to come to this label. As Janne said, it was a logical decision.”

BW&BK: Alexi (Laiho/vocals, guitars) is and always has been the songwriter in this band, but there has to be more that one guy involved in the creative process for a band to be around for 15+ years. Did the rest of the band have more input on Halo Of Blood compared to the last few records?

Janne: “Maybe the whole band’s arranging of the songs had even a little bit more to say this time. Alexi is the musical director, he’s composing the music, but we played around with ideas more this time. We tried different things and experimented a lot. I think we spent more time arranging these new songs together than we ever have in the past.” Continue reading BW&BK Interview: CHILDREN OF BODOM – Halo Of Blood Listening Session: “There Are No Filler Tracks On This…”

CHILDREN OF BODOM – Halo Of Blood (Listening Session – March 16th, 2013)

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.

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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 CHILDREN OF BODOM – Halo Of Blood (Listening Session – March 16th, 2013)

ALEXI LAIHO – Lick This!

By Carl Begai

Children Of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho is equally recognizable as a vocalist and a guitarist. With that in mind, during our recent interview for BW&BK (found here) about the band’s new album, Relentless Reckless Forever, we sidestepped from the standard Q&A about how much he and the band shred and kill to discuss a few guitar related odds and bits…

For starters, Laiho’s gives axe-slinging partner in crime Roope Latvala his due. He makes it clear Latvala is an integral part of Children Of Bodom even though he’s often overshadowed – in the press, at any rate – by Laiho and keyboardist Janne Wirman. Nobody should underestimate Latvala’s contributions to the Bodom soundtrack, because even though Laiho plays musical director, he isn’t about to start ordering around the former guitarist of the legendary Stone, a band he idolized.

“(Laughs) Exactly. Roope’s the kind of guy that obviously knows how to play, so he brings his own twisted ideas of letting music out to the table. He’s always coming up with crazy ideas and half the time it’s like, ‘Dude, what’s going on in that head of yours?’ (laughs). The other half of the time he has these crazy and ingenious ideas.”

In recent years Laiho used some of his rare downtime to film instructional DVD material for Rock House. Basically, a Shred-Like-Laiho video handbook for the serious musician.

“I’ve done two of those Rock House DVDs,” he says. “I’ve done guitar clinics before, so it’s not like it was a new situation for me to do things from a guitar teacher’s point of view, but the first DVD was kind of awkward because I had a script to follow. Sometimes I had to make them stop shooting and do another take because they were making me say stuff that just didn’t sound like me. Stuff I’d never say (laughs). There’s a lot of cool stuff in there and it’s worth checking out, but I pretty much had to play along with it. I haven’t even seen the damn thing but if felt kinda weird. The second DVD, I think it brings out my real personality more.” Continue reading ALEXI LAIHO – Lick This!

BATTLELORE – In The Key Of E(pic)

By Carl Begai


In 1986, the Sacramento-based band Tesla released their blues-based shred rock debut, Mechanical Resonance. Stamped at the bottom of the liner notes were the words “No Machines” placed above a graphic of piano keys with a line through it. It was the band’s response to the pop-happy ‘80s’ love affair with sickly sweet keyboard pre-sets that had infected the realms of rock and metal. As if the Max Factor-sponsored glam movement wasn’t bad enough, the instrument that Deep Purple legend Jon Lord made respectable had become the musical equivalent of a chick flick. Thus, keyboards and their players in general were saddled with a reputation for softening up a band’s potential backbone-of-steel sound and / or being completely dispensable. In the world of soaring vocals, screaming guitars, crushing bass and tribal drums, anyone caught behind a Korg was often considered “just a keyboard player” with nothing special to offer. Things have since changed, with the likes of Janne Wirman (Children Of Bodom) and Jens Johansson (Stratovarius) re-establishing the instrument’s credibility, and Nightwish owing their millions-sold existence to the almighty keys.

In the case of Finnish bashers Battlelore, the soft spoken Maria Honkanen is responsible for filling out the band’s trademark Tolkien-inspired sound. In many cases it’s her contributions that carry the songs without dulling her bandmates’ fangs. A member since the band’s late ’90s inception, it’s safe to say Battlelore would be a much different animal without her. Continue reading BATTLELORE – In The Key Of E(pic)

WARMEN – Lord Of The ‘Board

Warmen_2009_5By Carl Begai

Four albums into his long suffering Warmen project and Children Of Bodom keyboardist Janne Wirman can officially say he has a second band. Not that he needs one. Bodom has grown from a little known Finnish punk-fried neo-death flavoured export to one of the most popular and equally loathed metal bands around, giving Janne very little free time between touring and the studio. Even so, he and his brother Antti (guitars) managed to spit out what is hands down the strongest album of Warmen’s career. A song-oriented platter rather than a showcase for Janne’s keyboard acrobatics – although there’s plenty of pseudo-ivory shred to be had – Japanese Hospitality sounds like a band effort. Straightforward and to the point, it touches on everything from rock and pop to a full metal racket that smacks more than a little of Children Of Bodom, yet keeps things streamlined and focused. No dicking around this time. At this point the music is easily identifiable as a Warmen album rather than an attempt by Janne to do something away from the comfort of home.

“Everybody’s been saying that Warmen finally sounds like a band with this one and I agree,” says Janne. “Warmen has found it’s path, I guess you could say.”

A path that was beginning to look like the one that swallowed the long-awaited and presently lost Sinergy album featuring Children Of Bodom vocalist / guitarist Alexi Laiho and guitarist Roope Latvala…
Continue reading WARMEN – Lord Of The ‘Board