Children of Bodom’s eighth studio album Halo of Blood is a dramatic fusion of pulversing death power and black metal. What may seem horrific to those on the outside, those familiar with Bodom can see past the death metal label and hear all that lies beneath it’s icy surface.
…And what lies beneath is somewhat glorious. Main man Alexi Laiho screams and shreds his way all through these 10 tracks. It’s great to hear some solid shred guitar still within the grounds of reality and not over indulging in the virtuostic. The title track is a full speed metal anthem complete with some duel guitar soloing and minutes of double bass at a time, not to mention chanting ‘Halo of blood!’. Being the shortest track on the album this certainly hits you one of the hardest. ‘Scream for Silence’ is a head banger with a nightmarish guitar riff. Also some of the album’s gems are included here; a fantastic battle between guitars and keyboard for solo domination, and a key change chorus.
The intricacy of the music is something that makes this album stand out among other metal albums of this year. Though sure there are plenty of shredders, riff lords, screamers and percussion masters but the way this band present their skills merges in such a way that most of the tracks has something to offer to you. Bodom Blue Moon is a perfect example of this, all the skill of the band mixed with their song writing abilities is truly explored in this song. Unfortunately due to the lack of exploration the last quarter of the album may see some listeners distracted, not that these tracks are bad but the unrelenting force presenting in these songs can leave some people wanting a bit more. ‘Dead Man’s Hands On You’ however is a stand out on the latter half and rises above most of the others. There is also a cover of Loudness’ Crazy Nights at the end of the album, a little bit gimmicky but’s it’s still a decent display of honour to an old genre.
Despite this criticism it’s still a solid release from a very well known band. Anthemic and powerful with fluid guitar and ruining passages. One for any fan of Bodom and any fan of metal, don’t let yourself be put off my the sub-genre titles, it’s just metal and that’s all that matters.
Verdict 4/5 Stars