Saturday, June 28, 2008
CD Review: Something Wild, by Children of Bodom (1998)
Children of Bodom's first album sets the stage for what most of their career will sound like, which is a compliment for out-of-the-chute maturity, but perhaps also a mild complaint that their later efforts are just more polished, not much different, than what you get on Something Wild.
This is a solid debut, with most of the songs featuring memorable passages, typically when Alexi Laiho stops singing and allows the band to soar in the neo-classical, euro-metal-with-folk-shadings style that defines the CoB's early career. Much like every over Bodom CD, Laiho screams the lyrics in an indecipherable Finnish-accented English that is more entertaining than enlightening. While Bodom's sound and Laiho's lyrics are indelibly linked, it will always remain an interesting question how much better the band would sound with a dedicated vocalist.
Many Bodom songs are characterized by excellent melodies, and equally unfocused, meandering sections where the band appears to be lost in transition. Something Wild is no different, and it's no surprise that the best song on the CD is the one that maximizes the melodies and minimizes the meandering: Lake Bodom stands out as almost uniformly strong from start to finish, driven forward by a hauntingly melodic riff and the excellent interplay between keyboards and guitar, and it remains one of the band's most well-loved songs. In The Shadows and The Nail are also very good, but more inconsistent. Interestingly, the last track before the bonus tracks, Touch Like Angel of Death , already starts to sound like it belongs on future Bodom CDs, with more powerful, distinctive, and confident lead riffs.
The bonus tracks are two covers, both from 1988, and both are handled very well. Bodom manage to infuse their distinctive sound into Slayer's Silent Scream (from South of Heaven) and the Scorpion's Don't Stop At The Top (from Savage Amusement) while maintaining the solid integrity of both songs.
Alexi Laiho - Vocals, Guitar
Alexander Kuoppala - Guitar
Janne Wirman - Keyboards
Jaska Raatikainen - Drums
Henkka Blacksmith - Bass (5-String)
Songlist (Ratings out of 10):
1. Deadnight Warrior - 7
2. In The Shadows - 8
3. Red Light In My Eyes, Pt. 1 - 7
4. Red Light In My Eyes, Pt. 2 - 7
5. Lake Bodom - 9
6. The Nail - 8
7. Touch Like Angel Of Death - 8
8. Silent Scream - 8
9. Don't Stop At The Top - 7
Produced by Anssi Kippo, Alexi Laiho, Jaska Raatikainen, and Children of Bodom.
Recorded and Mixed by Anssi Kippo.