Children Of Bodom - Are You Dead Yet?
Finnish metal squadron Children Of Bodom are back with their highly anticipated 5th full length album, following up the critically acclaimed Hate Crew Deathroll (2003). Since just recently, the band is now under the roof of Universal, a major label, and that might have caused some talk among fans regarding if they have sold themselves and taken a new and not suitable direction. This really means nothing, as Universal bought Spinefarm, Children Of Bodom's long running label, in order to get their hands on Nightwish and it has actually nothing to do with Children Of Bodom. The past years they have also, beyond my comprehension, become one of these bands that it's trendy to hate. Nightwish and Hammerfall are two other good examples of this phenomenon.
This aside, how have Children Of Bodom dealt with this, how has it reflected in the music and how does the new album come out? With the last album Hate Crew Deathroll, the style changed a bit from the more power metal oriented guitars toward a more aggressive and straight approach. Musically, Are You Dead Yet?, follows Hate Crew Deathroll in terms of being sharp and aggressive and very to the point, although not quite to the same extent. It ends up somewhere between Hate Crew Deathroll and Hatebreeder.
The major part of the keyboard elements have had to stand back this time in favour of more riffs with groove but there is still a great deal of melodies remaining which give them their characteristic and unmistakable sound. This is apperant during the whole album but especially in the closing trio Bastards Of Bodom, Trashed, Lost & Strungout and We're Not Gonna Fall - classic Children Of Bodom songs built in a classic way with a melodic guitar lead and a very catchy refrain. If you allow me to use the word "mature" when talking about Children Of Bodom, I will definitely do that for this album. The album is short, only 37 minutes, but very intense and quality instead of quantity has been put in the first room. There are no filler tracks on the album but there are a couple songs in the mid section that, although good, do not reach all the way for the album to be a real smasher.
I am a big fan of the old albums and I do prefer that style but since the band say they now have stepped away from that path for good, this is the way to go at this point of their career. Old fans should certainly appreciate this and people who previously have thrown an evil eye to Children Of Bodom because of the pop- and keyboard oriented approach might find this more insteresting.