Sound — 7
Children Of Bodom is an interesting band to me. They've written and released 8 albums now, have a solid following in their native Finland as well as in the U.S. and have one hell of a vocalist/guitarist in Alexi Laiho. Their sound seems to hit a certain sweet spot between other bands I like in and around Children Of Bodom's genre like In Flames or Amon Amarth. As my taste in metal music branches out, I seem to find myself drifting further away from the states and towards Europe, but that's another story. Children Of Bodom was introduced to me through Pandora with songs off of the album "Are You Dead Yet?" I was hooked, and went out to buy that record the same night. While I was very impressed with that release, and ended up buying "Relentless Reckless Forever," I can't say I was quite as thrilled with it, and was wondering if maybe the band was losing momentum since I discovered them pretty late in their discography. "Halo of Blood" has proved me wrong. Alexi displays strong examples of still being the master musician that he is by being able to write catchy guitar riffs and leads, write lyrics and being able to perform them live in front of capacity crowds. The more pronounced use of keyboards is a good touch I think, although I can't say I care much for the sound byte sampling between songs. It reminds me of a White Zombie / Rob Zombie record. I do actually like White Zombie, by the way, but I'm not sure if Alexi and the gang threw that in there for the heck of it or if they plan on doing this more in the future. It doesn't feel like it belongs to me. Overall though I'm quite pleased with the sound, barring the guitar tone which I'll speak out against despite any crap I might get from the people who comment down below.
Lyrics — 6
Constant references to "the blade" and "the bottle". Nothing wrong with telling a story about depression through alcohol and the desire to do some damage, but as this doesn't appear to be a concept album telling one continuous story, nor is it terribly interesting, I end up taking these lyrics at face value. They mostly mean what they mean as they are written. That being said, being a musician I make the sound my priority, and the quality of vocals hasn't seemed to change between albums. Alexi does a good job despite having to wear a lot of hats in the band; one of the reasons why I think he's a great musician. Even if people argue there are better guitarists, and better vocalists (which there are) you'll be hard pressed to find someone who does both of those jobs so well. A good cover song is always appreciated too ("Sleeping In My Car" by Roxette for those of you who don't have the bonus track version of the album).
Overall Impression — 7
As said earlier, I do prefer this to their last release "Relentless Reckless Forever." I don't think it's their best work to date, but the songs run into each other in a good way, not sounding as if a bunch of random songs that were recorded during different years with different mental states were simply thrown together on a disc. The album has a sense of cohesion, and that matters a lot to me. I would say that currently "Dead Man's Hand on You" and "Bodom Blue Moon" catch my interest the most currently, but favorite songs seem to change as time goes on with most albums I buy. I like the well written guitar and the layered vocals, though I can't say I love Alexi's guitar tone. I'd like to see a change there on the next album. I'd definitely get the album again because I'm a fan of the band, I have a bit of a collectors mentality, and most importantly I think overall the album was well done and I look forward to another release in the coming years.