Release Date: Jun 11, 2013
Record label: Nuclear Blast
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Scandinavian Metal
This will be a big year for Children of Bodom. The early June release of Halo of Blood is much anticipated by their worldwide legion of fans. The slot on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival throughout the US this summer is prime time. The rest of the world tour has Facebook and other social communities posting notes of rabid enthusiasm at an alarming rate.
With their eighth full-length record, Halo of Blood, Finland's Children of Bodom remain one of the highest-profile acts associated with the melodic death metal subgenre, incorporating elements of symphonic black metal and thrash into their grandiose sound. Children of Bodom are now in the 20th year of their career, and their overt theatricality and high profile (they've contributed songs to the Guitar Hero franchise and covered a track by Britney Spears) always threatens to push them over the edge into becoming parodies of themselves. Halo of Blood, despite being an unquestionably bombastic record, is actually an exercise in restraint for Children of Bodom, exhibiting limited use of synths and symphonic elements, focusing on compelling songwriting, with a strong power metal core to the structures.
Depending on where you vacation, the last thing you might expect from an album by a band named after a Finnish lake made infamous by a multiple homicide and titled Halo of Blood would be for it to be fun. Strangely enough, though, that's exactly the feeling that comes through on Children of Bodom's eighth album, which finds the Finnish band returning to deliver another dose of dazzlingly technical melodic death metal. Sure, the album is filled with lots of dark moments and macabre imagery, but listening to it is a bit like watching a fighter plane demo, which is to say it's loud, thrilling, and when enjoyed properly, it's likely to result in some hearing loss.
Slick and glitzy as ever, Children of Bodom’s eighth and latest album sees the Finnish metal assassins keyboarding and power-shredding through a dizzying gamut of metal styles—everything from straight thrash and melodic death to symphonic black metal and full-on stadium rah-rah rock. Ringleader Alexi Laiho and his crew are world-class musicians and performers, but the tracks on Halo of Blood sound more like computerized vessels for showing off their considerable skills than songs played by actual human beings. Maybe that’s the point, and we’re supposed to think Children of Bodom are more machine than men.