Tuesday, March 22

Children Of Bodom - Relentless Reckless Forever

Children Of Bodom
Relentless Reckless Forever


I suppose it is necessary to say that I am not, nor ever was, one of those Bodom (or, perhaps more accurately, ex-Bodom) fans who vehemently hates everything after Hate Crew Deathroll; sure, Are You Dead Yet? and Blooddrunk are not that close to the mastery of the band's first four releases, however, they are also far from being rubbish.  Relentless Reckless Forever, the band's seventh full-length release, finds Children Of Bodom treading their own path once again, certainly to the disdain of the haters though moreso to the pleasure of the believers; spastic riffs, ripping solos, hoarse vocals, swirling keyboards and a more than competent bottom-end have adorned every Bodom release to date, however, the real question remains whether or not the magic has returned, no?

... yes, it has; err, more appropriately, yes, it has! :D  I, like many of you probably reading this, went into the album with a more or less medial stance, not being overwhelmed with excitement but not cringing with dread either and, within a minute into Not My Funeral, the album's opening cut, I felt something I haven't felt for some years when popping in a new Bodom CD (in fact, not since Hate Crew Deathroll made its way into my hands from Finland in 2003), and it was that rather ambiguous (i.e. hard to describe for a reviewer), cold Finnish magic we all know and love; indeed, it gives you that I-just-put-in-a-piece-of-spearmint-gum-in-my-mouth freshness only Finland is capable of delivering and, needless to say, it's invigorating.

The opening trilogy of songs - Not My Funeral, Shovel Knockout and Roundtrip To Hell And Back - are absolutely stunning, and are undoubtedly amidst some of the strongest material the band has penned in recent years.  Not My Funeral utilizes Alexi Laiho's sense of melodicism and layering impeccably, whilst Shovel Knockout unexpectedly morphs into one of the band's fastest and most aggressive numbers, possessing all of the band's trademarks delivered vibrantly and passionately.  Roundtrip To Hell And Back really took me by surprise, more or less instantly becoming an all-time favorite, with its strong, emotive delivery and structural simplicity tugging my heartstrings left and right; although it's not even close to being a ballad, it has the same kind of heart (and, subsequently, heartache) you'd expect from such a song coming out of Finland, simultaneously showcasing love and hate as it were.  Ugly and Northpole Throwndown (the latter being the only song with omitted lyrics, a first for Bodom) find the band further utilizing their aggression whilst Cry Of The Nihilist and the title-track showcase a more restrained, though no less effective, side of the band, in turn allowing certain musical motifs more time to breathe than we're used to hearing within a Bodom composition; it's a welcomed surprise, no doubt!

All-in-all, this is Bodom through-and-through, more refined and steady than they have been since the early 2000s; sure, Relentless Reckless Forever isn't exactly Hatebreeder or Follow The Reaper in terms of either quality or identity, but it is the most graceful step the band has taken in a long time, readying us for better days to come than those that have recently passed, I'm sure.  Children Of Bodom are back, the confidence has been restored and the metal kingdom has just knighted one of its first 2011 greats; was it worth it? ... indeed! ;)

8 // 10

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