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Spinefarm (2008)
Rating: 6.5/10

Finland’s Children Of Bodom have been making waves in the metal underground for years. They have always exhibited all of the components of metal greatness; they have a good look, a solid sound that draws from a myriad of metal styles, a cool mascot, and a killer live show. And, until recently, they were even backed by a legendary, worldwide metal label.

Following the parting of ways with Nuclear Blast Records though the band seemed to lose some ground, but the musical misstep has been corrected and Children Of Bodom are on the verge of becoming as much of a household name as an extreme metal band can be, joining the likes of In Flames, Killswitch Engage, Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir.

Following the mixed reaction to the more experimental Are You Dead Yet? (2005) Children Of Bodom return with Blooddrunk, an album poised to finally push them to the forefront of all things metal. Opening with the thrash-tastic ‘Hellhounds On My Trail’, the band wastes no time in declaring their dominance. They sufficiently reinforce this statement with the raise-your-fist-and-yell, keyboard-laden, twin guitar hooked title track. While I have never been blooddrunk, you can’t help but feel like the boys in Bodom may have been when listening to this song. The closer to mid-tempo hard rock feel of ‘Banned From Heaven’ and ‘Tie My Rope’ prove that the band are just as comfortable offering more widely accessible tracks as they are thrashing the floor with a song like ‘Smile Pretty For The Devil’.

There are two things about this album that make it stand head and shoulders above many of the metal albums released over the last few years. First off, it doesn’t compromise. While it has some accessible moments, you can tell (especially when comparing Blooddrunk to all of the band’s albums prior to Are You Dead Yet?) that the band is doing exactly as they please. Lyrically, this album is dark and sinister while the music tends to be rapid fire but also very bright. Secondly, the diabolical screams are seated beside synth-style keyboards, mixed heavily in the foreground, and geyser-esque guitar solos that explode randomly throughout each song. Children Of Bodom’s sound looks terrible on paper.

The special edition of Blooddrunk is accompanied by a DVD that contains the entire album in 5.1 Surround Mix. While I’m not this technologically inclined or interested, die-hard audio junkies out there will be well pleased with this version of the album. It’s likely the next best thing to seeing the band live and in person. The DVD also includes the video for ‘Blooddrunk’, which is well done but fairly uneventful as far as videos go, as well as a making of the video section.

Overall, Blooddrunk is less straightforward than say Hate Crew Deathroll (2003) but not nearly as out there as Are You Dead Yet? was. Children Of Bodom are drawing back droves of fans with this album and it’s no surprise. While I don’t believe this is the best the band has in them, it is definitely their best to date as far as maturity and overall sound are concerned.

Mark Fisher