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How Did Finnish Melodic Death Metal Band Children of Bodom Become a True Death Metal Band?

Updated on January 4, 2018

Two Important Questions About the Evolution of the Band Children of Bodom

Like many bands in the music business, Finnish band Children of Bodom evolved over the years and became a true death metal band. When did this transformation happen? And did this transformation help the band or did it hurt them? With an analysis of a three year period for this band, we will discuss this question. Think of Children of Bodom as a very heavy thrash and death metal band with grooves and very rough vocals. They will never be as good as Germany’s Holy Moses though. In the early part of their career, the band’s style was neoclassical melodic death metal. Then they became more of a death and thrash metal hybrid in 2003 and especially in 2005.

A Photo of the Children of Bodom CD Called Are You Dead Yet

What Has Not Changed For Children of Bodom?

The one aspect that has not really changed is the emphasis of having the Grim Reaper on their album covers. On the cover for this album is the hand of the Grim Reaper and he seems to be holding onto some kind of stick or bar.

When the Band Became a True Death Metal Band

Children of Bodom became a true gritty, rough death metal band in 2005 with their album titled Are You Dead Yet? And this transformation did not really hurt the band that much (at least after 2003’s Hatecrew Deathroll and the departure of guitarist Alexander Kuoppala). However, the album is not as good as the band’s first two albums. With Finland being like a factory where death metal bands come into the industry virtually every year, these guys are not Finland’s best death metal band but they may be the most well-known because of Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho.

2 Cons for the Album

With this album, Children of Bodom start to have slower songs which will leave some of their hardcore fans wondering what happened. Another thing that I find odd or unusual is the fact that many of the song titles are those that a band should not have too much of and fans can figure out what is being implied here.

Why Children of Bodom Is Not Finland's Best Death Metal Band

Though the album is super heavy in terms of the distortion, they are just a tad below Spain’s Avulsed or the Czech Republic’s Krabathor. By this point in their career, Children of Bodom became a hybrid or combination of death and thrash metal. However, in terms of Finnish thrash metal bands I prefer to listen to St. Hood because of the politically inspired lyrics and the rougher voice. Alexi Laiho is a very good guitar player and the his band had their best years from 1993 through 2000 but with this transformation and the fact that there are so many good Finnish melodic death metal bands out there, the competition is challenging and makes it difficult for me to say that they are Finland’s best melodic death metal band. There are just or have been WAY too many good types of these death metal bands in the last 15 years. Don’t get me wrong Children of Bodom are good but not good enough or melodic enough to match Ensiferum for example.

A Brief Review of the Mentioned 2005 Album

After the heavy and aggressive song Living Dead Beat, we are introduced to the title track. There is a kind of slushy, feedback kind of noise in this song. The shouts in this song are pretty impressive. We hear a riff that shows a return briefly to the previous album and before. The song In Your Face starts out with a riff that resembles the sound of mini machine gun fire. It is pretty epic and spooky and then there is a riff that resembles late 1990’s and early 2000’s Judas Priest. The song is good however there are too many of the wrong kind of words repeated throughout the song. Alexi Laiho sounds like one angry guy especially in this song. What I am about to mention next may surprise some of you. The song Next In Line is one of my favorite songs in this album because of the grooves and the riff before the chorus plus the chorus itself. The drumming part afterwards is pretty stellar too. Trashed, Lost and Strungout is one of the singles on this album and there is this sort of faster punk metal feel to it. The album finishes with the song We’re Not Gonna Fall which may be the best song on the album. The song is about taking the hand of a brave person as you go through life. Don’t give up and fall when you can succeed. I have not heard any of Children of Bodom’s albums after 2011 but this one is still pretty good. But the heaviness combined with the questionable song titles and the slushy kind of guitar sound will bring the score of this album down so the final score will be a 78 out of 100 points. It is safe to surmise that Children of Bodom became slower and heavier to try and attract more fans. They would get a little weaker in 2008 and would not rebound until 2011. Even so, their thrash metal experimentation is decent.

The Song Called Next In Line

The Change in Style Really Hurt the Band by 2008

Or is their 2008 album Blooddrunk really weaker? This album is an example of how the style change hurt Children of Bodom. The speed and the rough vocals are still there but there is significantly less neoclassical elements. This is bad news for those fans that are used to the band’s older style. The title track starts with a very catchy riff and then slows down. The song is about someone that has a very relentless issue with drinking and they cannot stop doing it. Maybe Alexi Laiho loves to party, so that’s why he wrote a song like this. However, one BIG weakness that Children of Bodom encountered in 2008 is relying primarily on lyrics that deal with getting even with others through the worst ways possible. That will not win them too many fans in the long run. There is also a reliance on extra rough grooves such as in the song called Tie My Rope. The song Banned from Heaven has a decent groove to it. If the band wants to improve their standing as a band and impress their fans, they should also consider changing their lyrical content a bit as well. Their lyrics should focus more on having fun and partying while also adding the catchy riffs that made them awesome early in their career. Unfortunately, 2008 was the weakest year musically for Children of Bodom as a death metal band. So there is the explanation of how they changed their style. This style change hurt them lyrically and musically by 2008. They experienced a bit of a decline for three years and became just an average band.

Children of Bodom vs. Avulsed vs. Krabathor

Which one of these three bands has the heaviest music and guitar sound?

See results

The Song Called We're Not Gonna Fall

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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