Children of Bodom
Follow the Reaper (Nuclear Blast)
by Scott Hefflon
This is the blue album. Something Wild was red, Hatebreeder was green, and this one’s blue. While I greatly look forward to eating these words later, I like Hatebreeder significantly more than this. Like the latest Primal Fear, I held off on reviewing this because the production bugged me and I wanted to give it more time… Well, Peter Tägtgren or not (I think the band co-produced), Follow the Reaper is just kinda thin-sounding. The solos and fills are all right upfront (and that’s the main reason to fall at this band’s feet), but metal is notorious for using the word “brutal,” and there’s just nothing brutal or harsh or spine-crushing about this. Stellar guitarwork, sure, a deliberate attempt to use the keyboards a little more, perhaps, but there’s no crush, just the fluttering of quick-picking and the squeal of screaming solos like bottle rockets tearing madly about the sky. Also, while it may be unfair to instantly expect this batch of songs to match those of Hatebreeder, a record I know every twist and turn of – and there are a freakin’ lot of them – these songs seem a much more simple structure for Alexi to solo madly in. And while, again, Alexi’s work is simply phenomenal, just plain mind-bogglingly beyond words, one of the real treats of Children of Bodom has always been the mixture of classic heavy metal riffs, amazing fills and solos, and death metal vocals. To repeat, I look forward to listening to this record for the next year and realizing that, yet again, I’m a judgmental prick and I hold dear what I love and am very cautious to admit anything new into the sacred place in my heart. Oh, the bonus track is a great thundering cover of W.A.S.P’s “Hellion,” by the way.
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