Children of Bodom – The Greatest Band You Might Never Have Heard Of

Because there are no Creative Commons images of the whole band I’ll have to steal this one from their website and hope they’re not stupid enough to get worked up about it.

Yes, the greatest band you might never have heard of. But if you have, well, that’s all right then, you can go and read Eric Robson’s tweets for the next ten minutes while I tell these no marks all about them.

Laiho takes aim at the next diminished fifth (Photo Cecil – obviously not the photographer’s real name!)

Children of Bodom are from Finland. They are Alexi Laiho, Roope Latvala, Janne Wirman, Henkka Seppala and Jaska Raatikainen. And in the great tradition of heavy metal bands their name is based on something grotesque: the murder of three teenagers next to Lake Bodom in Finland. But you’re not interested in the bald facts are you? This isn’t Wikipedia. You want to know what they’re all about and why they’re the best thing since a cure was discovered for smallpox.

I don’t normally go for growling vocals. (Still can’t get my head around Alissa White-Gluz). But CoB are different. They can write a decent song. You know what a decent song is: melodic progressions, structure, development and all that. And lead vocalist Alexi Laiho doesn’t exactly growl, more like sings with laryngitis.

Seppala spots his house from stage right. (Photo Cecil again)

I can’t remember how I came across them. I’d heard the name and it was probably one of those Youtube hops. You watch a video by Nightwish and Youtube suggests you might like Evanescence, Epica and Taylor Swift. (Bloody algorithms!)

But I came across Blooddrunk and was quietly pleased. Forty minutes later I managed to stitch my head back on and listened to Relentless Reckless Forever. All the other albums followed and the deafness came and went. (Did I ever tell you about my deafness in January 2014. Couldn’t hear a thing for over a week and then the Devil of all people cured it. Amazing but true.)

Litvala hoping his fingers haven’t permanently stuck in that position. (Photo Cecil, yet again.)

Well, back to CoB and Alexi Laiho. There’s something about him that tells me he’s had a difficult childhood, like the kid at school who gets bullied because he has black fingernails. He’s been there since the start and looks like an urchin. And I do wonder if he ever studies the band’s record sales and thinks why aren’t we the biggest band in the world.

Because that’s what they should be. I have a friend who swears by Metallica. Won’t hear a bad word said about them, so she won’t thank me for saying that Metallica haven’t written a decent song since Cliff Burton died and there’s more musical prowess in one Children of Bodom song than Metallica’s entire back catalogue. But CoB don’t have Peter Mensch and Q Prime managing them, which is why they’re not the biggest band in the world.

Wirman in a world of his own. (Last photo by Cecil)
cob jaska
The best free photo I could find of the drummer. You can see the top of his head behind a cymbal in the background. (Photo Florian Stangl

But, as of May 2015, and in part thanks to Nightwish’s horribly disappointing new album, Children of Bodom are in my humble estimation the best metal band on the planet at the moment. I could fill this blog post with videos to prove it, but it’ll slow down your browser and you won’t thank me for that. So instead I’ll give you some links and one video from their brutal live dvd Chaos Ridden Years. Filmed in 2006 the set features cooked sausages – “WASP’s Blackie Lawless throws raw meat to their crowd. At least we cook our food before we throw it at you” says Laiho lobbing a few ounces of hot dog into the front row – and ninety minutes of twin guitar thunder. Believe it or not, they’re even better now than they were back then.

I think I can hear the devotees coming back from tweeting Eric Robson. God can only guess what Robson would make of CoB, but I don’t know what he listens to in his Wasdale farmhouse. He could get home every night and air guitar to Hate Crew Deathroll for I’ll know. Now wouldn’t that be a turn up for the books?

Click the links to hear them on Youtube…
Roundtrip to Hell and Back
One Day You Will Cry
Bodom Beach Terror

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8 thoughts on “Children of Bodom – The Greatest Band You Might Never Have Heard Of

  1. CoB is quite good technically but lacked catchy songwriting. I would prefer Dark Tranquillity, Ensiferum and there’s a lot more from the land of the Vikings. American metal? Naah…used to be my cup of tea way back in the 80s and 90s. Nowadays it’s all Europeans that rule the metal scene. American bands have the marketing, promotional, and all but lacked substance (not the dangerous stuff).


  2. Children of Bodom are an awesome heavy metal band. I agree with how great they are. Metallica is the wrong band to belittle if you want to compare a band which you think is a lot bigger and far more overrated and that perfect band to belittle and compare to Children of Bodom is Megadeth, and they are seriously the only ones (despite other bands that might obviously not be as good) Megadeth is the most overrated piece of shit band with the biggest most annoying fanboy fanbase of all time. A metal band should not be entirely judged based on how heavy they are because bands like Iron Maiden, and Nightwish are the ahit and they are not the brutal crazy heavy as fuck type of metal band and they are fucking great. Megadeth is also not a hardcore on your fucking face metal band either (as much as their fanboy fans like to think. And it’s even funnier hearing them try to convince other’s too that Megadeth is the heaviest most technical and least mainstream of all the so called “big four”) Not only is that complete fucking bullshit, Megadeth is by far one of the lightest bands period. Megadeth has lost all it’s credibility on behalf of Dave Muataine and his incredibly big and annoying as fuck fanboys.
    Metal music in general is a lot more appreciated in Europe than in America. Both Nightwish and Children of Bodom are not that big in America but don’t be fooled because the musicians of of both those bands are very very successful. Alexi Laiho’s networth is approximately 6 million dollars. And Nightwish former vocalist is worth an incredible 90 million dollars and that is hard earned because that’s a lot more than some other musicians that are especially a lot bigger in America such as Jonathan Davis from Korn who is worth 60 million, and Dave Muataine who is worth 20 million.
    Metallica, Iron Maidens and Ozzy Osbourne have the highest gross income compared to other bands that are metal. I don’t run into a whole lot of die hard Iron Maiden fans on America as I do with Slayer and Iron Maiden overall networth of the band is a whopping 220 million while Slayer overall combined networth of the members is approximately 48 million.
    Behemoth who is not that popular in America is still worth approximately 17 million dollars.
    And now, as far as Metallica goes as a band, Metallica’s 2 heaviest albums are Master of Puppets and …And Justice for All. Kill em all is okay due to Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton having been on the actual recording of the album were able to touch up the sound making it way heavier than how it would have sounded with Dave Muataine; example (Mechanix) which is a more thrash punk than thrash Metal, or just more metal in general. Kill Em All is Thrash Metal and has the most punk sound due to the structure of how the songs were written. Ride the Lighting Album overall saw what Metallica was about to become which was a full blown hardcore heavy as fuck metal band with songs like Fight Fire with Fire, Trapped Under Ice and Creeping Death. They only have a couple of songs that had credited Dave Muataine and aongs like For Whom the Bell Tolls and Fade to Black didn’t have contributions from Muataine but had similar writing, guitar playing and structure.
    Master of Puppets is the only true Metallica album with Metallica’s real band member line up. …And Justice for All is fucking great although it was different. The changes on the writing structure was mainly Hetfield not wanting future bassist sounding as good as Cliff and didn’t want replaced bass players to even replacate similar bass playing on post cliff Burton Metallica aongs. Even Robert Trojillo to this day has only contributed in writing credita for one song. And justice was in the end too technical for James Hetfield especially which is why they toned down the technicality. Overall though, Kirk Hammetts guitar playing for the albums post and justice are still pretty technical and unique. Sad But True, Of Wolf and Man, The God that Failed, Wherever I May Roam, Enter Sandman, Ain’t My Bitch, Bad Seed, The Devil’s Dance, Prince Charming, Fuel, The Outlaw Torn, Attitude, Carpe Diem Baby, Where the Wild Things are; are all fucking bad ass over all and Kirk Hammetts parts are really fucking sick and demonic and bad ass especially on aongs like Sad But True.
    St. Anger song had their music video recorded in and at San Quentin which is pretty damn heavy.
    With all the diversity in heavy metal, we all know how amazing, and epic heavy metal songs are. And we are all well aware of how beautiful metal songs can be and how beautiful and metal band can be (Nightwish, In Flames, Iron Maiden, Within Temptation).

    Generally most people don’t listen to metal (despite a lot of the success these metal bands have accomplished) and because of this heavy metal has a stereotypical image on the majority as being unbearable do to mainly the screaming which is what most people assume all (especially newer bands) metal bands is nothing but noise and screaming and the musicians themselves are uneducated and degenerates who have no desire for spiritual growth in life.
    We should all know that this is very untrue even for those brutal metal bands that the masses only think exists in the genre. Lamb of God, Behemoth and Winds of Plague is what the masses see as the only thing metal has to offer without ever really listening to those bands.
    And bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax (the big 4) a lot of people who want to say they listen to metal mostly resort to one of the 4 because it’s more tolerable due to singing and not screaming. Most people fail to realize it’s mostly yelling and not singing. And fail to piece the puzzle together (especially with Metallica, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, Dream Theater) how they have paved the way for the brtual hardcore style of metal)
    Metallica live shows were always hardcore as fuck throughput the 90a to the early 2000s. And the true big 4 ( if fanboys insist on one ) The big 4 must not only be responsible for inspiring the future of metal bands but (and this but is from fan stipulations) most also hold their own as one of the heavier bands from that era. If that’s how we come up with the big 4 than the big 4 should have been Metallica, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies and Dream Theater.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not to get too far off topic. Going back to the main voicing of opinion as informing everyone how great Children of Bodom is. As much as I like them as the same as I like lots of bands and musicians they are not apart of my overall favorite bands.
      In Flames, Dream Theater, Nightwish, Ghost, Metallica, Deftones, Mastodon, Iron Maiden, Lamb of God, The Offspring, AFI, Rise Against, The Agonist and Arch Enemy are my all times favorites. Not only by the way they play their instruments, the overall music, and poetry from those bands have helped me the most in my journey through life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Zack, if I had one I’d offer you a prize for writing a comment longer than the original post. You should start blogging. Disagree with you about Metallica, but totally agree about Megadeth. I haven’t listened to them since Dave Mustaine gave up the booze and found god. Proof that good songwriting can sometimes come from total inebriation.

        It’s interesting how people refer to the Big 4 and in the 80s they did seem to be the ringleaders of a new movement, but I wonder if people overlook the spectres of Motorhead and Venom et al behind that music; bands that influenced the influential. Anyway, does it matter? What’s important to me is that metal is alive and very very healthy with new fantastic bands appearing all the time. In recent years I’ve enjoyed Xandria, Delain, Scar Symmetry and Lord of the Lost, and god knows what I’ll discover next week.


  3. I can’t say I enjoy metal, but these guy are goooood. Incredible showmanship and awesome talent. I wish Michael Bay could hear their stuff. They belong as part of a Transformers soundtrack!


    1. They’re heavy, but not afraid to play with strong melodies and harmonies, and I think that lends itself to cinema or television soundtracks. There must be something out there with a CoB song playing in the background. (If any of my novels become films I’ll be lobbying for them to be included.)

      Liked by 1 person

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