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Review: "Follow the Reaper" by Melodic Death Metal Band Children of Bodom

Updated on June 15, 2022
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The Grim Reaper is seen here with his scythe in his hand in a graveyard. He has been in many of the band's covers.
The Grim Reaper is seen here with his scythe in his hand in a graveyard. He has been in many of the band's covers. | Source

Track listing for Follow the Reaper

  1. Follow the Reaper
  2. Bodom After Midnight
  3. Children of Decadence
  4. Everytime I Die
  5. Mask of Sanity
  6. Taste of My Scythe
  7. Hate Me!
  8. Northern Comfort
  9. Kissing the Shadows

Follow the Reaper Gets Off to a Good Start With Songs Like Follow the Reaper and Bodom After Midnight

Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom came into the 2000’s on a very high note. Their 1999 album Hatebreeder was an excellent display of neoclassical influenced melodic death metal. In 2000, they released Follow the Reaper and it is one of their catchiest albums ever. However, this writer sees some power metal style riffing in the song "Children of Decadence." The song is about children in a state of rebellion against social norms. They are under the moonlight night, running away and it seems like there is no hope for them. In the 1950’s and 1960’s during the height of the social protest movement in the United States, children rebelled against what they thought were unfair rules set by their parents. Note: it was 2018 when I undated this section of the review and I was covering or writing about Children of Bodom albums a few days after then President Donald Trump went to Helsinki for a summit meeting. But politics aside, in 2000 Children of Bodom were still catchy enough to please fans of melodic death metal.

"Follow the Reaper"

Are There Any Cons for Children of Bodom? Yes.

One point that must be made about Finland’s Children of Bodom is that while their keyboard play, melody and technicality has been very good throughout their career, their lyrical content leaves a lot to be desired.

The song "Northern Comfort"

About the Musical Style of "Follow the Reaper"

Next comes the classic slow paced song called "Everytime I Die." The previous album had a classic song called Bed of Razors that has the keyboard playing that makes it sound atmospheric. Children of Bodom is not just a band that focuses on speed. They have creativity, melody, and technicality. One thing I find very interesting is that the band has this sort of obsession with the Grim Reaper. The Grim Reaper is the 5th boss in the original Castlevania video game and he is sometimes known by his other name of Death.

However, it can be tough for some listeners to be able to listen through an entire album by this band even though the melodies are catchy in these early releases and much of it is due to the lyrics. The keyboard play is still very much present in Follow the Reaper as this would be the last Children of Bodom album to feature the neoclassical style of melodic death metal as the next one called Hatecrew Deathroll would be even heavier and rougher than this one.

"Taste of My Scythe"

A Song That May Be Overlooked

One song that may be overlooked in this album is the more haunting song “Taste of my Scythe” which starts with some pretty rough dialogue before the guitars and Alexi Laiho’s signature growl start this one. The middle keyboard section of this song is impressive as well. There is even a short neoclassical sort of part or riff.

Final Thoughts About "Follow the Reaper"

The song called "Northern Comfort" makes reference to the Reaper. The Reaper does not save people but he rather acts as a foe trapping unsuspecting travelers.The amount of melody in this song is really amazing and really shows the super talent of guitarist Alexi Laiho. The song also has an excellent melodic interlude as well making it a classic! The original version of the album ends with the catchy song Kissing the Shadows. Follow the Reaper would be the last album to feature the melodic neoclassical playing of Children of Bodom before the band would start using more thrash metal and speed elements in albums such as Hate Crew Deathroll. Overall, Follow the Reaper is a catchy album but it is not as good as the band’s first two releases. "Taste of My Scythe" starts off with some shouting before transitioning into the heavy melodic music we are used to seeing from this band. For those fans of melodic death metal that enjoy albums full of creativity, Follow the Reaper would be a good album to listen to.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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