Release date: September 14, 2005

User Review
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The boozy-but-brilliant quintet that is Children of Bodom (CoB) hit the Metal world like a hijacked airplane with their 1997 debut Something Wild, an incredible feast of neo-Malmsteen guitar/keyboard duels, hyper speed double-kick drumming, aggressive, Thrashy riffing, and a wonderful, Blackie-meets-Tommy Lee attitude. The equally incredible Hatebreeder followed (among the soon-to-be Metalheadz in the uneducated suburbs of Oslo, these were just entitled the red and green albums, due to the very cheap-looking cover art and an {at the time} hard-to-pronounce band name), and after the commercially successful (although not that fantastic musically) Follow the Reaper and Hate Crew Deathroll, CoB had suddenly gone from the back alleys of the Finnish underground to the front page of Rock Hard and Young Guitar.

Their latest release, rhetorically entitled Are You Dead Yet, is basically more of the same. CoB isn’t really that original anymore, but this does not stop this album from rocking seriously. This is the Finns’ best one since Hatebreeder, being the perfect mix between the young and virile energy of old with the latter two albums’ heavier, groove-based approach.

There’s not one single weak spot on this album, but songs like the very catchy opener “Living Dead Beat,” the heavy and riff-based title track (note ingenious use of natural harmonics), the slower paced “Punch Me I Bleed” (easily showing Laiho’s Ozzy Osbourne fascination), and especially the downright magnificent “In Your Face,” stand out as highlights. This song has about everything — a strong chorus, a great groove, and truly awesome playing, making it the best CoB song since the heydays of “Downfall,” “Touch Like Angel Of Death,” “Children of Bodom,” and “Deadnight Warrior” … and no, this album doesn’t feature proper lyrics on more than three songs either …

The change of second guitarist -– long-time member Alexander Kuoppola left the band in 2003 and was replaced by legendary Finnish axeman Roope Latvala –- does not seem to have hindered the band at all; Latvala’s interplay with mainman Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho is just as tight as one would expect it to be. Laiho continues to impress in the shred department, and his signature clean-picked six-string lines are as cool as ever.

The solos, however, are a bit toned down this time, and the “impossible” sweeped/tapped licks, which were all over the place during the band’s early years, are almost entirely removed from the soundscape. Some might call this “maturity,” but Alexi’s guitar (as well as the incredible Janne Warman’s keyboards, which also are held back to a minimum this time) is definitely one of the most important elements of the Bodom sound, and there’s no reason at all to hold it back. “Too much of a good thing has never been anything but dead cool” … isn’t that how the old saying goes?

Still, this is without doubt the best Bodom release in several years, and a compulsory buy for every true Metalhead.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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