Many (other than hard-core Bodom fanboys) lovers of the melodic death scene, justifiably, have a kind of love/hate thing going on with Children of Bodom, but people denying that Something Wild (Spinefarm Records) and Follow the Reaper (Spinefarm/Nuclear Blast) are anything less than classics of the genre are being wilfully contrary, in some sort of weird sceptic denial, or simply being ignorant.
It is fair to say, however, that pretty much everything else after that became either self-plagiarising or pedestrian, replacing Bodom with Boredom as the sound has become ever more focussed on speed and regurgitation of the same old licks, riffs and hooks. The last two releases finally signalled some new directions, and I’m pleased to be able to tell you that Bodom’s latest offering I Worship Chaos (Nuclear Blast) continues that step up, though I don’t think they’ll ever match the straightforward brilliance of Follow the Reaper.
Finally ditching that dated, reedy, bee-in-a-box sound for something more modern and meaty provides instant aural novelty, but it’s not just the guitar sound that’s new here as a lot of growing up is reflected in this work. I think ego has been a huge problem for this band over the last decade – it has turned each release into either a competition speed-fest or a quick ‘n’ dirty excuse to get back out on the road – but this album feels painstaking and heartfelt. All the usual Bodom elements are here of course, but there’s a great deal of new (for Bodom, at least) ground broken.
‘I Hurt’ is a strong opener and a classic Bodom track, but the slower tempo and improved sound allows you deeper into the song and validates your reasons for liking Bodom in the first place. ‘My Bodom’ is a pretty simple, “less is more”, affair that’s all the stronger for it. ‘Morrigan’ is a big surprise, as it wouldn’t sound out of place (vocals aside) on a Blind Guardian album! The titular ‘I Worship Chaos’ is a shout-a-long crowd pleaser. ‘Hold Your Tongue’ is reminiscent of old In Flames and ‘All For Nothing’ could almost be a ballad if it had sing-song vocals. Lovely.
So all in all, I Worship Chaos is well worth an hour or so of your time and some of your hard-earned; a continuation of the return to form for Finland’s heroes.