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HARDWARES

CHILDREN OF BODOM

Halo Of Blood

(Nuclear Blast)

Reviewed by : David Perri
Rating : 8.5

We’re all guilty of wanting bands to return to form. It’s a natural craving fueled by nostalgia and the brain’s biological reward system: if only your group of choice released another record like the debut, maybe you’d feel 10 or 15 years younger, with all the uncompromising positives that accompany such a concept. But nostalgia is deceptive. Because, as we all so readily know, things were never as uncompromisingly positive as we remember them. When you think back to this moment a decade from now, it won’t seem quite this mundane and ordinary.

So, yes, CHILDREN OF BODOM has written and executed a true throwback record with Halo of Blood, one that is entirely grounded in Follow The Reaper and Hatebreeder, in that order. And, despite the anticipation that sort of talk effortlessly creates, Halo of Blood causes confusion on first listen, if only because the brain has difficulty processing another lifetime ago being re-created, literally, in the here and now. But, as Halo of Blood reveals itself, a wry smile creeps up and all the reasons your previous incarnations decided to pay attention to Bodom are once again in full effect as these Finns retro their way through melody-on-melody, high-flying solos and, unbelievably, the blastbeats that have been absent since Hatebreeder. Suddenly, the last 15 years of metal haven’t happened and it’s a world dominated by IN FLAMES’ melodic death trap, CRADLE OF FILTH’s drama queen symphonic black and the unclassifiable buzz band that once was Children of Bodom. Halo of Blood is that sort of veritable time machine.

But make no mistake, this is one motherfucker of a ride back, one that is just as wild as the Bodom albums that preceded it. ‘Waste of Skin’ is the declaration of war opener (complete with old, old, old school melody), while ‘Halo of Blood’ begins with blastbeats and black metal riffing before giving way to classic Bodom sin and debauchery. Elsewhere, ‘Bodom Blue Moon’, ‘Damaged Beyond Repair’ and ‘All Twisted’ are as impressively aggressive and listenable as anything found on the band’s first four albums, while record highlight ‘The Days Are Numbered’ incredibly channels DISSECTION’s classic ‘Night’s Blood’ (yes, THAT Dissection).

While 2011’s Relentless Reckless Forever hinted at Bodom’s imminent revisiting of its past, Halo of Blood is the end-point of that process, one that will no doubt massively please the band’s original fans. It’s surreal to hear this kind of record from Children of Bodom in 2013 and Halo of Blood is, in effect, Bodom’s Death Magnetic, with one very important distinction: Halo of Blood actually succeeds, on all counts.




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