Band - Children of Bodom
Album - Hexed
Genre - Melodic Death
Label - Nuclear Blast
Location - Finland
FFO - In Flames, Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Soilwork
After a few albums of trying out new things, COB are back and have gotten back to their old sound. “Hexed” sounds like early COB, like “Hate Crew Deathroll” and “Follow the Reaper” COB. Although it is produced by the same guys from previous albums it is nothing like their last two. Overall sound quality is exquisite and doesn’t leave anything behind. Drummer, Jaska Raatikainen delivers another heart pounding and stand up performance. From day one this man has given us some of the best heavy drumming and he continues that trend on this record. His signature double bass is on full display. Pounding with authority and purpose.
What I love about his drumming is that he is able to help keep that melodic sound and keep the music flowing. Keeps the heavy sound too without having to rely on blast beats. Keyboards have been a COB staple for quite a while, which was one of the main reasons I got so attracted to them years ago. Helping set the mood and compliment the soaring guitar melodies. Hell even throwing in some solos of his own that are on level with some of the actual guitar solos. Speaking of guitar, this album is has some of the best I have heard in a while. Well when you have Alexi Laiho, aka one of the worlds best guitarists, you expect the guitars to be incredible. And they are of course. The riffs get stuck in your head and I found myself playing air guitar at work to them constantly. Both heavy and melodic, not taking away from the other. Not as many solos like their previous work, which I found both upsetting and ok with.
The solos I found would take away a lot from the rest of the songs because you focus clearly on that solos for 15-20 seconds. Now they throw in these little 3 second licks that sound incredible. Kind of take ya surprise but fit well. Alexi is back with his unique vocal style and doesn’t stray away from it. If you aren’t familiar with, it is a very harsh scream. Keeps his throat tight and forces out sound. Sounds painful to listen at first but it works soo soo soo well. Helps keep that sinister, evil sound which fits well with heavy metal obviously.
Now, does COB try anything different or unique with this album? Not really but that is actually a good thing. They got back to their roots with this one and any COB fan will appreciate that. Any heavy metal fan will too to be honest. Melodic death is a very different sound and COB have mastered that. The first 3 songs are a perfect example of that. Heavy and fast. Your neck won’t stop snapping. Then they slow it down with “Hecates Nightmare” and bring in a more evil sound. With creepy sounding keys at the start and one of the albums best riffs in the chorus. But then they get right back to the heavy with a very “In Your Face” song (see what I did there? COB fans will get it) with “Kick in A Spleen”.
The title is very fitting because that is what it felt like. Hands down one of the heaviest songs on the album. Melody is key in the next song “Platitudes and Barren Words”. Followed up by even more heavy and brutal. Wrapped up with another slower paced song “Knuckleduster” which is great way to end such a stellar album. Some of the best guitars on this one. My favorite solo for sure. All these songs have COB’s signature sound and does not crack.
After reading my review I assume you may think I am biased when it comes to Children of Bodom and you would be correct. Ever since I heard “Are You Dead Yet” I have been a fan. I will admit I have fallen off with the last 2 albums but after listening to this one I will never do that again. “Hexed” is a perfect example on how to be heavy while staying incredibly melodic. COB are back, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s hope they don’t ever go away.
“Hexed” drops March 8th on Nuclear Blast
Rating - 9.5 out of 10.
Strongest Song - “Kick in a Spleen”