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.
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.
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.)
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.
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?