Children of Bodom - BlooddrunkChildren of Bodom are one of those bands, like Slayer, from whom you know more or less exactly what to expect from one release to another. Blooddrunk — out April 15 on Spinefarm Records — is no exception, offering up nine melodic death metal gems full of pounding rhythms, guitar acrobatics, gothic keyboards, and Alexi Laiho’s blood-curdling growls all wrapped up in concise songs that don’t waste any time getting to the point or getting on with life. Though Blooddrunk doesn’t do much to expand the band’s repertoire nor does it offer much in the way of the unexpected, it further solidifies Children of Bodom’s reign atop the European metal pyramid with their undeniable mixture of technical metal and pointed songwriting.

When technical metal was the hardest road towards getting signed, there were Children of Bodom waving the flag. When American bands started copping European guitar styles in the early ’00s, there Children of Bodom were, refusing to back down. And when those bands rose to metal superstardom, Laiho and co. were still there, soldiering on. Their style may have been bastardized by countless kids today, but Bodom’s sound remains unique to them; no one does melodic death metal quite as dark and gothic, and no one else write songs this good.

The title track and “Lobodomy” are perfect examples. A pounding double-bass drum intro in the latter gives way to a Slayer-esque riff followed by a keyboard-driven pre-chorus straight out of Dracula; a chorus both punishingly brutal and insanely catchy follows. The band leaves their musical prowess on display at all times, whether it’s Laiho’s scorching Maiden-cum-Vai guitar solos, Janne Werman’s trapeze keyboard theatrics, or Jaska Raatikainen’s precision drumming. But it’s Laiho’s songwriting that ultimately reigns supreme and has been the key to Bodom’s continued success; as God Forbid’s Dallas Coyle said, “It’s the songs, stupid.” It’s a formula the band repeats ad nausem throughout all of Blooddrunk, but it never gets tiring — at least not for me.

“Tie My Rope” opens with a sick, almost techno-esque keyboard intro before opening up into sweet, riff-laden goodness, harmonized guitars, pinched-harmonics aplenty and a non-chorus that’s really just an excuse to lead into a series of solos — guitar, then keyboard, then both together, then guitar. Who can resist this? “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing” combines Dragonforce guitar shred with an In Flames sense of melody, a winning combination if ever there was one. “Banned From Heaven” is the obvious made-for-radio cut, but doesn’t lack in any of the aforementioned qualities that make the songs on Blooddrunk interesting.

Blooddrunk ends up doing nothing to push the envelope forward, but really, who cares? If you go to the party expecting strippers, blow, and Cristal you’ll be let down 99 times out of 100, but if you go just expecting some beer, good friends, and a good time, you’ll probably be right on the money and go home happy. Blooddrunk is the latter. Check out this album and go home happy.


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[Children of Bodom on MySpace]

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