Halo of Blood (Nuclear Blast)
By Rick Ecker
Having been together since 1993 and now releasing their eighth album, Children of Bodom has put everything into these 10 new songs. Hard-hitting and with a sense of melody and coarseness, this is the greatness we’ve come to expect from them.
“Waste Of Skin” immediately lets you know that the band has returned to their roots with full-speed-ahead leads and power exploding out of the gate. The title track employs the first blast beats since the band’s sophomore album in 1999, with a black metal riff that’s relentlessly heavy. The song also incorporates those classic elements the Finnish group is known for – namely, the gang chants and backing keyboards. “Scream For Silence” is a slower track that brings into mind a touch of Anvil and metal from the early ’80s. A great track. “Transference” is one of those songs that’d sound great live, surrounded by a huge group of fans with horns up and head banging away old-school style.
“Bodom Blue Moon” has so much incredible shredding going on that the riffs are piling up and spilling all over the place, so don’t trip on one while listening. “Your Days Are Numbered” is a wild and savage track with relentless drumming and more of those great riffs. “Dead Man’s Hand On You” is a ballad of sorts, starting with vocalist Alexi Laiho speaking in a low voice before tearing into throat-shredding screaming. The song is slow and plodding with a bombastic chorus that has an arena rock sway to it, so get out your lighters (or your cell phones, since that’s what the kids do nowadays). “Damaged Beyond Repair,” “All Twisted,” and “One Bottle And Knee Deep” end the album on a heavy and high note with all three songs being blazing, riff-heavy rockers.
The all-out metal assault of this album really grabbed me and now I can’t stop listening to it. The band is back with a vengeance and they’re taking no prisoners with the powerful display of aggression and melody.