Over the course of their career, Children of Bodom has had some pretty great moments, but they’ve also sunk to unfathomable depths. It’s hard to believe that the band who released tracks like “Needled 24/7” and “Hate Me” could put out something like “Blooddrunk”. Nonetheless, their last record, “Relentless Reckless Forever” really wasn’t that bad. It didn’t manage to recapture their former glory, but it was a step in the right direction. With “Halo of Blood”, Children of Bodom has injected some life back into their sound and should regain a lot of old fans.
All throughout “Halo of Blood” you’ll come across prominent guitar and keyboard melodies. That’s right, the keyboards are a huge focus again. While they don’t solo as often as in the past, there are plenty of harmonized sections with both keyboards and guitars to tide old fans over. Speaking of guitar melodies, that is one area where area where Alexi has completely returned to form. The lead under the chorus of “Transference” is a prime example of how ridiculous his playing is (when combined with the fact that he’s singing over top of it). The solos are certainly less extravagant than on “Follow The Reaper”, but they should still suffice. Alexi’s vocals are a definite highlight. He sounds hungry again; it’s like his voice is 10 years younger and his growl is stronger than ever. There are two major surprises on this record: black metal, and a ballad. Firstly, the title track has one of the coldest riffs written by somebody who isn’t Norwegian. Combined with the blast beats, and it’s like listening to a totally different band. Unfortunately this style is abandoned by the verse of the song, but it’s still a refreshing change. The other point of interest is the semi-ballad “Dead Man’s Hand On You”. Granted, I haven’t heard every Children of Bodom album, but I’ve never heard the band like this. It opens with a soft clean guitar and piano passage and Alexi singing, before jumping into a heavier, pounding, almost doom-like track. It’s unlike any other Children of Bodom track I’ve heard, and while not a true highlight of “Halo of Blood”, it’s just another way the band has mixed things up.
“Halo of Blood” is a major surprise for 2013. It’s been 10 years since their last great record, and while this album does not beat the old classics, it is sure to bring back some great memories. Don’t miss out on this record!
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"Waste of Skin"
"Halo of Blood"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott