They have returned to the red of their debut "Something Wild", but the reaper is more in action than ever before. CHILDREN OF BODOM are back, one of the most successful and by now also scoffed at acts of the contemporary Metal scene and if you look at song titles like "Bodom Beach Terror" or "Lil' Bloodred Ridin' Hood", then I have to admit that to not take them seriously is not that far off hand.
But the music is what is the important thing here, so what is up with that? The feared (by many) continuation of the COB evolution has not taken place, but the wild boys around Alexi Laiho have revamped their sound a little. For example do they have added some chunkier riffs, not as intricate as before, but more going for a "wall of sound" version, which does not gel too well with me, I have to say, also the slight use of an electronic sound to the keyboards, like in opener "Needled 24/7", doesn't really add to my personal opinion of "Hate Crew Deathroll".
But overall you can safely say that they in certain sections definitely have stacked up their heaviness in the guitars, just take the damn powerful start of "Chokehold (Cocked'N'Loaded)", which pounds you into your chair with ease, but at the same time gracing you with great melodies or "Triple Corpse Hammerblow" (where the hell do they get their song titles from?) are fine examples for this, while "Your're Better Off Dead" might be their heaviest cut to date, you rarely got that much force in the past, (and definitely defies the categorisation as Power Metal with Death Metal vocals, despite the still great melodies and all) and "Angels Don't Kill" could be almost called a Death ballad (comparable to "Hate Me" from their previous effort "Follow The Reaper").
Another thing that I just have to mention are the lyrics/song titles. "Bodom Beach Terror", "Lil' Bloodred Ridin' Hood"? Please do not be surprised, when people scoff at this, because you have to admit, a little cheesy, hm? And this time out of 9 tracks we get 4 lyrics. Why? Are they so gory or so bad or what?
Well, anyway, musically CHILDREN OF BODOM have at the same time stayed to their roots, but still gone through some evolution by adding chunkier riffs and going for a straighter approach at times, but as a fan of their works so far, do not fear, you still get those insane guitar runs and keyboard solos, together with the supertight play of the rhythm section Blacksmith/Raatikainen and Alexi's vocals, well, I guess that he'll never change them, hehe.
Many of their critics won't be convinced otherwise with "Hate Crew Deathroll", just like the original fans shouldn't be put off, so in any way, give COB a chance with their fourth one and see for yourself, I don't think that it fully reaches "Follow The Reaper", but still, high quality from Finland…again! (Online March 30, 2003)