Finland’s CHILDREN OF BODOM has produced some of the most well-known melodic death metal ever released. Whether or not it’s one cup of tea, there is no denying their songwriting prowess and skill exhibited over the years.
If not overtly present, melodic death metal typically has at least traces of triumphant, old-school heavy metal and power metal in terms of spirit, and that has indeed been at CHILDREN OF BODOM’s core. The band has risen to the top not only because of the potency of its delivery, but also because of its debut’s interesting mix of almost circus-like absurdity linked to the way the keyboards were employed and mashed together with hints of nineties Nordic black metal.
In recent years, CHILDREN OF BODOM frontman/ringleader Alexi Laiho has trimmed his blatant Yngwie Malmsteen worship for a more stripped-down approach that has reaped rewards, most notably with the pummeling, memorable “Blooddrunk”, arguably the band’s most aggressive effort.
Touring alongside the likes of MEGADETH and LAMB OF GOD has affected CHILDREN OF BODOM’s songwriting, whether intentionally or not. But for all of its aggression, “I Worship Chaos” is nothing new, nor is it anything truly captivating at any point, aside from “Morrigan”, which is a well-rounded heavy metal song from beginning to end. Elsewhere, “Hold Your Tongue” is anthemic and presumably geared toward arena-sized crowds while album closer “Widdershins” finishes off with a by-the-numbers breakdown — heavy, slow and easily digestible for the masses. The fact that it appears at the very end of the album suggests that it might have been thrown in with a sense of self-awareness about their drift into the mainstream — a jab, perhaps, at pundits. Whatever the case may be, it’s accurately representative of an album that is thoroughly formulaic and generic.