Sound — 10
The band's sound continues to evolve, yet it retains that magic that makes Children Of Bodom so much more than just metal. Industrial elements (I'm thinking of Living Dead Beat) add a bit of flavour, but fans will not be dissappointed. The songs seem a little less structured as compared to Hate Crew Deathroll; there a re many more fills but fewer long solos; whether thats bad is really open to preference. One standout is Jaska's drumming, which is better than it has ever been. I didn't think that Roope could replace Alexander's rhythm guitar, and though it sounds good, it isnt quite the same you may or may not even notice a difference.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrics have always been secondary to the music for me personally, but I also feel like Alexei's lyrics get better with each new album, and this is certainly the case here. His voice is much stronger, clearer, and more powerful, and this adds a whole new dimension to the music. Lyrics are typically dark, and creative, though the language barrier still is definetly a factor.
Overall Impression — 10
I was so excited for the arrival of this album, and was so angry when its Canadian release was delayed twice. But when I got it, it was well worth the wait. Living Dead Beat and Next In Line will certainly become COB classics, and as a whole, this album is extremely strong. Is it as good as Hate Crew Death Roll? I miss the long solos (think of the solo in You're Better Off Dead) but they are still there in some form, and the keys and drums make up for the slight lack of face-melting guitar work by Alexei. The msuci itself is fantastic, the lyrics are better than ever, and the band seems to be moving in a great direction. If it were lost or stolen, I would definetly buy it again, and then maybe a 3rd copy so I could listen on two cd players at the same time. It's that good.