Review: Children of Bodom - Halo of Blood [Album]

Review: Children of Bodom - Halo of Blood [Album]

Nuclear Blast Records // "Some of the best, most talented music out there. Halo of Blood is pretty good, to be honest."

Review   5454 Views
Last Edited by: Ffion Davies April 22nd, 2013.

You see the tag "death metal", you expect to see corpse paint, burning churches and a shit ton of fake blood. I guess that's why I like Children of Bodom. They're different. I mean, technically, they're "melodic death metal" - people are very picky about this whole genre lark. I'm happy to just call them metal. They come from a place called Espoo (I giggled too, it's okay) in Finland, following the overwhelming majority of death metal bands hailing from Scandinavia. Although Finland technically isn't part of Scandinavia. But it's close.

Children of Bodom really hit their stride with 2000's Follow The Reaper, and have had even more success in recent years. I personally found solace in Are You Dead Yet? from 2005, a solid album, in my opinion. Children of Bodom's latest album, Relentless Reckless Forever, released in 2011, I found slightly ... the same. There was nothing new in what they'd been doing since 1993, to be honest. But nevertheless, a new Children of Bodom album is always exciting. So, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered they will be releasing their eighth studio album, Halo of Blood this June. Here at AltSounds we got a sneak preview to tell you all about it!

WATCH // Halo of Blood Album Trailer Part 1


Halo of Blood couldn't start any more Children of Bodom. A chugging heavy riff, with a keyboard accompaniment, before it blasts into typical chords with another higher-pitched melody over the top. Then Alexi Laiho's ripping vocals tear into view, the double bass kicking in, and the scream of a 'Waste of Skin'. The title track 'Halo of Blood' appears to be the most extreme death metal COB have played, especially with Alexi's harsh growls. That drumming, man. For me, 'Scream For Silence' is the best track on the album, the mix of heaviness, melody and pinch harmonics are fantastic together. 'Transference' starts pretty same old, but it builds up to be one of the catchier songs on Halo of Blood, actually. COB always seem to include a reference to themselves somewhere; this time it's in the form of 'Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming)', the next contender for the best song on Halo of Blood.
Phwoar. Need to take a breather? Me too. Halo of Blood epitomizes Children of Bodom.
'The Days Are Numbered' is a more thrashy number, elements of Slayer clearly audible in this true headbanger. Now it gets odd; a slow, clean guitar mixed with a piano, and drums that aren't beating a million miles per hour. 'Dead Man's Hand On You' doesn't even have screaming, for a little while, at least. It's rather a nice change, actually, and fits in well with the rest of Halo of Blood. 'Damaged Beyond Repair', however, is brutal, and has the best riff of the album with that first Pantera-esque smasher, with the typical Bodom twist on it. 'All Twisted' is pretty decent, before we end Halo of Blood with 'One Bottle and a Knee Cap', another standard Children of Bodom track, chock-a-block full of fast-paced drums, melodic guitars and Alexi's iconic vocals.

WATCH // Halo of Blood Album Trailer Part 2


Phwoar. Need to take a breather? Me too. Halo of Blood epitomizes Children of Bodom. It's got everything the Finnish metallers are about: melody, heaviness and metal. The tracks are superbly well written, and the musicianship is, as ever, sublime. Alexi Laiho is an incredible guitarist, as is rhythm guitarist Roope Latvala, and the combination is absolutely killer. I'm always astounded by drummers, and Halo of Blood does not disappoint. Jaska Raatikainen's drumming is especially unique; technical and lightning-quick, he is just a freakin' god. Halo of Blood boasts all the best bits of Children of Bodom in one excellent album of ten brilliant tracks.

I can't help but feel a little twinge of disappointment though. I was expecting something that reaches the high standards of Are You Dead Yet? or Hate Crew Deathroll, and in my mind, it's not quite there. Halo of Blood has it all, yes - but I feel like I'm not gonna keep on playing the songs over and over again like I did with Children of Bodom's other stuff. They've done nothing totally new with Halo of Blood. Yes, they've gone a bit slower in one song, and a bit heavier in another. But the rest is pretty much the same old stuff COB have been doing for over a decade.

Maybe I'm only a little underwhelmed because it's Children of Bodom. By anyone else's standards, it's a bloody good metal album. Some of the best, most talented music out there. Halo of Blood is pretty good, to be honest.

Tracklisting:
  1. Waste of Skin
  2. Halo of Blood
  3. Scream For Silence
  4. Transference
  5. Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming)
  6. The Days Are Numbered
  7. Dead Man's Hand On You
  8. Damage Beyond Repair
  9. All Twisted
  10. One Bottle and a Knee Deep
Halo of Blood is out on June 6th in Europe and June 11th in North America via Nuclear Blast Records.

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