Halo of Blood review by Children of Bodom

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  • Released: Jun 7, 2013
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (97 votes)
Children of Bodom: Halo of Blood
2

Sound — 9
Children of Bodom started in Finland in 1993 under the name Inearthed. After several unsuccessful demos they undertook the recording of their first full length album and caught the interest of Spinefarm Records, but changed their name to Children of Bodom to avoid legal entanglements with their previous label, Shiver Records. In subsequent releases the band had a tendency to tweak their sound, adding keyboard and different compositional elements, but having most often been associated with death metal or melodic death metal. In 1997, after opening for Dimmu Borgir, the band caught the attention of Nuclear Blast records which began their entrance to an international stage. Since then Children of Bodom have become a "household name" to the international metal community and have released numerous successful albums, including a cover album in 2009 called "Skeletons in the Closet." Their album, "Blooddrunk," released in 2008, is the one that caught my attention and I've listened to them since shortly after that release. The current lineup is Alexi Laiho on lead vocals and lead guitar, Roope Latvala on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Henkka Seppala on bass guitar and backing vocals, Janne "Warman" Wirman on keyboards, and Jaska Raatikainen on drums and backing vocals. Alexi and Jaska are both founding members, and Roope is the newest addition having joined in 2003 after Alexander Kuoppala left because he said the touring lifestyle no longer worked for him.

"Halo of Blood" is Children of Bodom's eighth full-length studio album and contains 10 tracks, clocking in at just under 42 minutes. The overall mixing and production on the album is perfection, with driving bass and the guitars maintaining the essential rawness and power to convey the aggression of the songs. The drums are precise but still have an organic feel. The album opens with the track "Waste of Skin" with a riff syncopated with the drums that builds into an instantly classic CoB track. The title track, "Halo of Blood" comes in like 3 minutes of pure aggression from the first note until the last. "Transference" is one of the most melodic songs from the album and probably some of the most successful use of keyboards on the album. "Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming)" has a frenetic almost schizophrenic vibe to it and is well placed in the middle of the album, forcing you to lean forward and start listening fresh to the album. The track "Dead Man's Hand on You" is a great slow-burner type of track with a creepy feel and the most vocally dynamic. The album closes with "One Bottle and a Knee Deep," which is probably the most interesting track on the album for me, having a weird metal pirate shanty feel to it and also containing the most memorable guitar solo.

Lyrics — 8
Alexi Laiho has made small changes to his vocal style throughout his career, and with the release of "Halo of Blood" he periodically uses slightly cleaner vocals than he has on previous releases. He still uses death metal screams, but lets his vocals clean up occasionally. The rest of the band does a great job backing him up on vocals. In several places on the album they use "gang vocals" for parts of the lyrics. The lyrics to most of the album are loosely narrative while remaining abstract and pretty interesting, though it always takes me a couple of listens to pick all of them up. From the song "Transference," here are some of the loosely narrative but abstract lyrics I'm referring to: "Dragged in the light/ Like nothing was wrong/ Pulled towards where I don't belong/ I hear the fallen angels/ Sing my requiem/ Take a step/ Cross the line/ Have a thin/ Glance back and you're living in sin/ It hurts so bad/ Like a war within/ Looking at the blade/ Aiming at my eyes/ Staring to where the evil call my lies/ Keep a promise/ If you ever will/ Don't say a word/ Just kill, kill, kill!"

Overall Impression — 8
"Halo of Blood" was a fun album to listen to. There is a fair amount of variety on the album including some really interesting keyboard use to help make songs sound "epic." While Children of Bodom have been predominantly labeled as "melodic death metal" I've always thought of them more as thrash metal with elements of power metal and this album is a good argument for that, from my point of view. Really, the vocals are the main thing that give Children of Bodom that death metal label. My favorite tracks from the album are "Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming)," "Transference," "Dead Man's Hand on You," and "One Bottle and a Knee Deep." Overall, this album stacks up fairly well with their previous releases and I think it will be seen as one of their best releases, at least rivaling with "Blooddrunk," in my opinion.

40 comments sorted by best / new / date

    siganos
    this album is the best album tey have released since hate crew deathroll..it combines that "feel" of the first 3 with the kickass melodies of the new ones..really i cant see how this can dissapoint and cob fan! --HATE CREW FOREVER--
    Sakke
    They haven't done anything more than mediocre after Hate Crew Deathroll.
    crushingmetal
    Please go and listen to Trashed Lost and Strungout, Hellhounds on my Trail, Banned from Heaven, Not My Funeral, Shovel Knockout, Roundtrip to Hell and Back, Ugly, Cry of the Nihilist, Northpole Throwdown etc. Thank you.
    Sakke
    I own AYDY and I have listened to all those songs. I am not a COB hater, pretty much the other way, I used to be Ale Kuoppala fanboy. I fancy myself some Alexander Kuoppala CoB every now and then. Back then Alexi was much more creative with his guitar work and same goes to Janne Wirman with his keyboard soloing. If you find any of those songs you listed above anything that is in Something Wild-Hatecrew Deathroll era, that's fine. I don't.
    turtleboy
    Please don't. Put HCD, Hatebreeder or SW in your player and don't even try to listen albums after as "Children of Bodom". They should've changed their name after Alexander left the band since they have changed their style. Anyway, Halo of Blood is pure 10 for me. Thank me later.
    overkill127
    they shouldn't have to give up their name and identity as a band in order to progress musically. progression is integral to artistic development
    klynch
    In my opinion "Halo of Blood" is a solid album. I'd say their best since "Are You Dead Yet?" The album has a Hatebreeder/Are You Dead Yet? combined sound to it.
    Cazman
    "Children Of Bodom: Halo of Blood Compact Discs: The band's first album with Danger Mouse is summery and psychedelic but rather listless."
    RyanDahl1080
    Best album since Follow the Reaper. The kickass melodies that this band were originally known for are back, and there's not a single filler track. The whole album even feels more inspired than their previous few releases.
    Viotto
    "Transference" and "Halo of Blood" seem like fillers to me. More simple, repetitive and uninspired compared to the rest of the album.
    Megadeth2011
    Have you heard the album? I'm not trying to sound like an ass, I'm genuinely curious if it's leaked online or anything... because I'm really anxious to hear this thing!
    Cavalcade
    There's some good stuff on here. I thought they might be on the right track after RRF, and they were. But the chorus from "Transference" gets annoying so fast (even though the rest of it is great).
    HardRock369
    Eh, I don't understand the hype of this album. I hear 'Halo of Blood' on SiriusXM all the time, I just don't find it anything special. Nothing against the band, I like some of their stuff, but this doesn't do anything for me
    iammclovin
    I've found that since Are You Dead Yet, there have been a few songs that I've liked each album but they're nothing compared to the old stuff. I'll listen to it occasionally but this will most likely stay in the archives for me.
    HardRock369
    Yeah that seems to be the same, I find myself listening to their newer stuff simply to see what Laiho's guitar work sounds like, but I haven't sought out one of their albums in years
    vIsIbleNoIsE
    yea, his guitar work is what i still listen for, mainly. he's got a really convincing combo of rock'n'roll and neoclassical shred.
    Unholy Crusada
    "Overall, this album stacks up fairly well with their previous releases and I think it will be seen as one of their best releases, at least rivaling with "Blooddrunk," in my opinion." Is this reviewer seriously suggesting Blooddrunk is one of their best albums ever? REALLY? As for the album however, this one will take a few more listens for me to form a complete impression, but I can say with certainty it's the best since HCDR. It's a real return to form, combining the best elements of old-school Bodom with the newer sound. It's no Hatebreeder (I doubt they'll ever be able to top that one) but it's definitely a step in the right direction, and a very solid release at that.
    Burnzyburns
    Yeah, that last sentence cracked me up. Almost everyone hated that album.
    Mr Winters
    I love Blooddrunk.
    thf24
    I feel like Blooddrunk had some good ideas mashed up with a lot of filler, resulting in a very sub par album compared to the others. I don't think it's as awful as most people say though.
    link no1
    Blooddrunk is the only album I dislike by them, I don't even like one or two songs from it. I know it's about preference and opinion but, I still don't see how Blooddrunk can be named to be even in the top 5 albums by CoB.
    Chronologo
    So far these 2 tracks have been a pleasant surprise, it's nice to see Warmen getting his spot back with melodies and solos. And finally a decent guitar tone is back, I'm tired of that thick chugga chugga riffing downtuned (yeah I know that CoB always downtuned half step, but it's different) tone.
    eVwaylon
    Have you ever listened to COB? These guys are shredders, not emo pussys with nothing better to do.
    ithappenedquick
    I love something about literally every bodom song ever released. I have the entire discography and I never understand people who dislike the new stuff, I see every album as progress, not regression. Every riff is full of either balls to wall aggression, pure melodic heaven, or both. Don't get me wrong, to each his own, but if people disliked HCDR, AYDY, FTR, BD, RRF, or HOB I honestly wonder if they've heard the albums and what there is to dislike. Bodom is everything I've ever wanted musically my whole life and I can't wait to get in the pit again and go insane
    VoXBOss2011
    I like the album so far, some tracks have a very glam style to them (Sleeping in my car) which is good because when COB did Don't Stop At The Top, I loved it. It's good to see they have kept in touch wih their influences
    dnamra13
    Transference reminds of Are You Dead Yet?. Halo of Blood has a cool black metal-esque riff. At the same time the songs don't really stand out and grasp my attention. Anyway I might buy this album but on the other hand it is certainly not on my priority list.