Recorded towards the end of 2020, Paint The Sky With Blood (Napalm Records) was meant to signal the beginning of a new era in the career of Bodom After Midnight frontman Alexi Laiho. His first release since leaving the groundbreaking Finnish melodic death metal act Children of Bodom the previous year should have been the beginning of an exciting new journey. Instead, his tragic death in late December means it ultimately becomes an epitaph.
Seething with molten metal fury, the record’s fifteen-minute running time is fleeting but loaded with razor-sharp riffs and finger-shredding solos. The title track is a flurry of taut riffing, moody atmospherics, and blasting drums, while ‘Payback’s A Bitch’ leans towards a looser, punkier sound. Closing with a rousing cover of ‘Where Dead Angels Lie’ by influential Swedish black metal act Dissection, the EP offers a brief, tantalising taste of what might have been.
Guitarist Daniel Freyberg joins Alexi from his former band while the rhythm section of bassist Mitja Toivonen and Paradise Lost drummer Waltteri Väyrynen bond quickly to form a powerful partnership. The line-up is completed by keyboard player Vili Itäpelto who, although not sharing the limelight like his COB counterpart Janne Wirman, adds an authoritative but restrained stamp to the proceedings.
Never straying far from familiar Bodom territory, Laiho’s posthumous swansong burns fast and bright, Paint the Sky With Blood proving a fitting obituary to one of the finest guitar talents in metal.
Buy the album here: https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/bodomaftermidnight
8 / 10