Sunday, 19 October 2008
CD Review: Are You Dead Yet?, by Children of Bodom (2005)
Few CDs can boast an opening triple-threat of perfect metal songs. On Children of Bodom's fifth studio CD Are You Dead Yet?, they manage the commendable feat of stacking three brilliant songs at the front end to supercharge the rest of the album.
Living Dead Beat is a terrific opener. The song itself has a bouncy keyboard intro before settling into a melodic power groove that chugs along with an irresistable force. For once, Alexi Laiho's guitar and vocals take a bit of a backseat to the rhythm guitar, bass, drums and keyboards that dominate the song.
The title song Are You Dead Yet? is a perfect second act. Laiho jumps to the forefront and sets the pace on the riff-dominated yet bottom-heavy track that slowly builds to the spine-tingling chorus, featuring a spooky yet soulful harmony.
And the third song If You Want Peace...Prepare For War explodes with a straight-ahead fast-pace and a classically memorable chorus / riff combination.
Just in case anyone had any thoughts about the rest of the CD being packed with lesser songs or filler material, along comes the brain-melting In Your Face at track five, which sounds like a barely-in-control locomotive careening down the tracks, emitting classic "incoming!" warnings and something about not caring enough to provide airborne intercourse directed at people who are mean to mothers.
The rest of the CD features tight, well-constructed songs that emphasize the consistent interplay between lead guitar and keyboards that defines Children of Bodom's sound. Laiho's vocals are more controlled than on any previous Bodom CD, the song compositions are extremely focused, and the nine song set is an appreciated and efficient length. It may be that new rhythm guitarist Roope Ukk Latvala helped mature the sound of the band, or it could be that five CDs into their catalogue, Bodom have achieved a new career peak.
Roope Ukk Latvala - Guitar
Jaska W. Raatikainen - Drums
Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho - Guitar
Henkka T. Blacksmith - Bass
Janne Jameson Warman - Keyboards
Songlist (rating out of 10):
1. Living Dead Beat - 10 *See video below*
2. Are You Dead Yet? - 10
3. If You Want Peace...Prepare For War - 10
4. Punch Me I Bleed - 8
5. In Your Face - 10
6. Next In Line - 8
7. Bastards Of Bodom - 8
8. Trashed, Lost, and Strungout - 8
9. We're Not Gonna Fall - 8
Recorded, Produced, and Mixed by Mikko Karmila
Mastered by Mika Jussila
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