Children Of Bodom: Follow the reaper
19/04/12 || BamaHammer
I’m actually not a big COB fan. I’m also not a huge fan of painted fingernails, mascara, pinstriped Rhoads guitars, the bratty punk faux-attitude, the keyboard orchestra hit, or most of the other little annoying things that COB is known for. What I do enjoy is the world-class musicianship (the guitars and keyboards in particular), the infectiously catchy songwriting, and the sheer unbridled energy that the Bodomites showed on this, their magnum opus, “Follow the reaper”.
Obviously, Children of Bodom, for some reason, doesn’t hold as much credibility and reverence today as they once did. I don’t think that COB ever really jumped the shark or changed what they do to the point that people started either loving or hating a polarizing new image (like In Flames). In fact, Alexi Laiho is still an amazing and ever-improving guitarist, and their albums still sound like COB, but I feel like I have personally just “grown out of them”, so to speak. Or something.
Anyway, “Follow the reaper” is undoubtedly the best this band ever got. Almost every song is memorable and immensely enjoyable, and as a whole, the record sounds fantastic. I remember that the energy completely blew me away the first time I heard it, and it honestly still does today. The band is in a mode of relentless and aggressive attack, and they never let up for a second.
If you’ve heard Children of Bodom before (and honestly if you haven’t, you’ve been living under a rock for a decade), you already know what this album generally sounds like. However, what gives “FTR” the decisive edge over the band’s other decent works is the reliance on the pure quality of the music as opposed to the added focus on that silly image, which might be one of the reasons why this band lost me along the way. The bottom line is that you just do not find tracks like “Everytime I die” or “Mask of sanity” on any of their other albums, and especially the albums release since this one. The overall quality on just those two tracks alone in terms of song structure are light years beyond anything you’ll find on their last three albums.
The guitars and the keyboards work in a symbiotic way that you don’t hear often as well. I have no idea how deep the relationship was between Warman and Laiho during the writing process for this album (and frankly I don’t want to know), but they sound like they’re existing inside each other’s minds for pretty much the entire duration of the album. The way they trade off leads is almost creepy in how they resemble each other in style, seeing as they are both extraordinary wanking virtuosos anyway. It’s not just the leads either. Both instruments absolutely shine in the riff department as well. Everything both guitarists and Warman do, they do with an inhuman tightness that’s just flat-out impressive.
If you hate COB with a passion, will “Follow the reaper” perhaps be something you might enjoy? Hell, it might possibly be. It’s surely the most mature and highest quality release these dudes have ever had, and I’m fairly certain they’ll never even remotely approach this level of greatness again.
- Released: 2001
- Label: Century Media Records
- Website: www.cobhc.com
- Alexi Laiho: vocals, lead guitar
- Alexander Kuoppala: rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Henkka T. Blacksmith: bass, backing vocals
- Janne Warman: keyboards
- Jaska Raatikainen: drums
- 01. Follow the Reaper
- 02. Bodom After Midnight
- 03. Children of Decadence
- 04. Everytime I Die
- 05. Mask of Sanity
- 06. Taste of My Scythe
- 07. Hate Me!
- 08. Northern Comfort
- 09. Kissing the Shadows