Children Of Bodom
A forerunner of Children Of Bodom, IneartheD, began in '93. The Espoo, Finland group started with vocalist/guitarist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen. Bassist Samuli Miettinen completed the line-up with the group recording a demo, "Implosion Of Heaven." Miettinen served as the group's lyricist but left the band to move to the U.S. in '95. His lyrics were used on the group's second demo, "Ubiquitous Absence Of Remission" which also had Laiho and Raatikainen adding keyboards. Now Laiho, who'd previously focused on the music, added lyrics to his duties.
In '96, the group added rhythm guitarist Alexander Kuoppala and Miettinen's replacement Henkka "Blacksmith" Seppälä, who had been an art school friend of both Laiho and Raatikainen. The increased use of keyboards necessitated Jani Pirisjoki's recruitment.
A third demo, "Shining," also failed to garner any label interest. In addition, Pirisjoki had a tendency to skip rehearsals. This rather annoying trait got him bounced with Janne Warman stepping in - greatly impacting the group's sound. Having put out a self-released album IneartheD finally caught the attention of a Belgian label. After being signed but not provided any promo budget the group then heard from Spinefarm Records. Since they were already under contract the band needed a new name in order to record for Spinefarm.
Checking a phone book they came across Lake Bodom - site of some dreadful murders - and that led to renaming themselves Children Of Bodom.
"Something Wild" hit in '97 and led to two European tours. Spinefarm also released a compilation, with a couple new tracks, that hit the top of the Finnish album chart. '99's "Hatebreeder" provided the opportunity for another round of European tours before the group embarked on a brief run through Japan.
"02's "Follow The Reaper," recorded in Sweden, did well but it was '03's "Hate Crew Deathroll" that became the group's first gold album. They were named Finnish Band of the Year and made their debut North American trek. There they received an unexpected and hardly welcome surprise mid-tour. Kuoppala decided to pack it in. When a replacement guitarist declined, Roope Latvala signed on.
The EP "Trashed, Lost & Strungout" contained the single "In Your Face," and other songs that later appeared on the "Are You Dead Yet?" album. The set garnered some additional attention due to a cover of Britney Spears' epic "Oops!... I Did It Again." The live DVD Chaos Ridden Years - Stockholm Knockout Live arrived in '06, six months after it was recorded in Swedish city. Back on the road, Children Of Bodom took another crack at the U.S. as part of the Unholy Alliance tour with Slayer and Mastodon.
Just when things are on the upswing, life sometimes life just takes a weird turn. In early '07, Laiho slide down a bowling lane, after trying to stop from going over the line. Instead of nailing a difficult 7-10 split he slammed into a wall breaking his shoulder. He was out of action for six weeks causing the cancellation of festival shows and tours. But the group returned to action with the '08 release of "Blooddrunk" which moved just under 20,000 copies in its first week to land at #22 on the Billboard Album Chart.
It's not unusual for a band to record a cover or two. However, it's very rare for a name group to release an album of covers. Predictably, the reworked songs were by artists the group admired. Hard to figure that was happening on the aptly named "Skeletons In The Closet," a collection of covers - some previously released. Children Of Bodom took on Kenny Rogers & The First Edition's "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" and Britney Spears' "Oops! I Did It Again." There was also the Country classic "Ghost Riders In The Sky" and the neo-Country Creedence Clearwater Revival chestnut "Lookin' Out My Back Door." More expected were versions of Suicidal Tendencies' "War Inside My Head," Anthrax's "Antisocial" and Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell."
Back to recording their own songs, tracks were laid down for "Relentless Reckless Forever" in August - September of '10. "We worked super hard on this album," claimed Laiho. "We were determined to make the best COB album ever, so we were willing to do whatever it took."
Produced by Matt Hyde and recorded at Petrax Studios, Hollola, Finland, '11's "Relentless Reckless Forever" went to #1 on the Finnish chart. It was their 4th consecutive chart topping album. In the U.S., the set peaked at #42 on the Billboard 200, making it the group's second best showing (behind "Blooddrunk").
Containing the single "Was It Worth It" and the dark humored "Pussyfoot Miss Suicide," "Relentless Reckless Forever" sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.
"Halo Of Blood," the group's eighth studio album, dropped in '13. "It's 10 new songs of pure Nordic Metal," said Laiho.
The album's artwork was created by Finnish artist Sami Saramaki who created the cover art for previous Children Of Bodom albums "We wanted to have a winter scene," said Seppala. "It could be Lake Bodom actually, frozen, with people trapped under the ice. Very Finnish looking scene."
Children Of Bodom confirmed in '15 that Latvala had left. The band claimed there was no bad blood and that Latvala's departure wouldn't have an impact on finishing their ninth album.
1997 Something Wild
2000 Follow The Reaper
2003 Hate Crew Deathroll
2005 Are You Dead Yet?
2011 Relentless Reckless Forever
2013 Halo Of Blood
Intense vocals, machine gun guitars and an insanely driven rhythm section are the markers of killer Death Metal. Children Of Bodom can blast and rail with anyone but they also deliver majestic riffs and high drama. Pick up Children Of Bodom at "Follow The Leader" then roll forward to "Are You Dead Yet?" and "Blooddrunk."
"Skeletons In Closet" is right out of left field. "Lookin' Out My Back Door" raises the question, "is the world ready for banjo Metal. Sure, AC/DC made a bagpipe work but this is a bit of a stretch.
Not surprisingly, Children Of Bodom does best with the Metal covers. The pop and Country shots, aside from being a novelty, simply don't work but "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" is amazing.
"Halo Of Blood" is not all churn and burn. The strutting doom of "Scream For Silence" and "Dead Man's Hand On You," a mash-up of Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, take a different tack but nail it just the same.