After four essential albums, Finnish metallers Children Of Bodom lost themselves in the heady perfume of fame and fortune. Their output following their success in the States was poor to say the least, and I for one never thought we'd get another decent album out of them. Enter "Halo Of Blood", their eighth full-length, and while they haven't quite gone back to the crystalline sound that made monsters out of "Hatebreeder" and "Follow The Reaper", they have covered enough old ground to get me excited about this band again.
The movie quotes are back, so are the melodies, the rasping vocals, and the guitar/keyboard trade-offs. This could have been released after "Follow The Reaper", as it contains a lot of that album's high points, especially in the guitar work, which is surely Alexi's finest and most polished since Sinergy's "Suicide By My Side". Tracks like "Your Days Are Numbered" and "All Twisted" recall the same gnarled, blackened power metal strokes that made songs like "Bodom After Midnight" such a treat, but the odd chord sequences of later works haunt the opening manifestos. Much has been made of the blast-beat-leaden title track, but where this album shines is in its latter half. It ends in spectacular fashion, forcing you to hit the repeat button.
I never thought Bodom would get themselves sober for long enough to make an album like this. Colour me impressed.
I have always been a fan of this band, since I discovered them almost a decade ago. And I have been always eager to take in my hand their new records, put them at the max. volume on my cd player and enjoy the blast coming out of it. But as of 2011 my expectations for the band's next records and steps, in terms of music, had diminished, since I had been overly disappointed by what they had released with "Relentless, Reckless Forever". An album which appears uninspired, dull, boring, showcasing the repetetion of riffs and melodies, and despite the many times I played it, it hadnt grown on me at all. Hence, I was very skeptical about the outcome of ther very next record, Halo of Blood. I feared that their lack of new ideas and inspiration would still be perceived in the new album which would be just a "routine" duty to release it, just for the lads to keep their job and paying off the bills. Yet, I was unexpectedly surprised by playing the record the first time, few days after it came out ! It surely sounds nothing like the earlier records, Something Wild or Hatebreeder, and yet, it's an amazingly fresh and powerful record, full of energy and catching riffs and melodies which not only will not annoy you but it will really captivate the listener. There are several good songs in it, from the title track to the slowish ballad-like track of Dead Man's Hand on You, the usual Bodom-titled song and the cover track which they got used us to. Overall is a worth-having record which will not delude the old fans and will surely appeal to the new ones that are not yet accustomed with the darkness (And randomness) of the Bodom world. Horns Up. Yawwww.
Halo of Blood is another fantastic album by Children of Bodom. Although Relentless Reckless Forever was good I felt it was possibly COB's weakest release but this is definitely back to their usual high standards. They get everything right, even down to the producer Peter Tägtgren and awesome snowy reaper album cover. It is full of energetic and euphoric heavy metal with plenty of stunning guitar and keyboard solos. Every song is strong but my favourite was surprisingly Dead Man's Hand On You (the slowest COB track to date), it's very different to their typical lighting speed melodies but is performed to perfection and far from sells out. Another quality song on the Special Edition version is Sleeping With My Car (a cheesy Roxette cover!). Check out Skeletons in the Closet for more random COB covers, you wouldn't believe some of the songs they manage to pull off on that. The only negative thing about Halo of Blood is it's still not quite up there with Follow the Reaper and Hatebreeder, however considering those 2 albums would be in my all time top 5 it's a pretty irrelevant point! Top stuff, enjoy...
Finland's finest never really disappoint with their releases, but Halo Of Blood is in a level of its own. This album houses some of the best songs of Bodom's entire career. From the undeniably Bodom opening track, "Waste Of Skin", to the uncharacteristically slow pace of, "Dead Man's Hand On You", there is not a single disappointment on this album. Its entirely brutal and completely beautiful. Every track on Halo Of Blood is an entity of its own. The title track is laden with Emperor friendly, Black-Metal riffs. Meanwhile, "Damaged Beyond Repair", displays blast-beat style riffs, resulting in a song destined for mosh-pit stardom. If your a fan of Children Of Bodom, you NEED this album. If your a fan of Metal in general, then you NEED this album. Worth every penny!!! \m/
I think that this album is amazing. I really like the artwork as well. The songs are great too. The vocals are also very powerfull. I would personally recommend this album to anyone who likes metal. Great work Children of Bodom.