Children Of Bodom are about to let loose their tenth studio album entitled ‘Hexed’ on March 8th on Nuclear Blast Records. The band formed in Finland in 1993 originally under the moniker Inearthed. Children Of Bodom rocketed to success by melding thrash, neoclassical metal, symphonic black metal, and melodic death metal into a sound uniquely their own.
‘Hexed’ is the follow up to ‘I Worship Chaos’ that was released in 2015. The blueprint elements that Children Of Bodom are known for are present all over this new album. Common threads that link all the albums include high-octane energy, shredding, the fusion of guitars and keyboards, and Alexi Laiho’s venomous vocal attack.
The album opens with “The Road”. The song pays homage to the decades of time the band has spent on the road. The song launches with double bass drums and an intense riff. It is heavy but extremely catchy with memorable hooks. This is a theme that is executed throughout this release. The first single, ‘Under Grass and Clover,” is another prime example of a song that fuses the guitar riff and keyboards to create a melody that sticks with you long after the song is done. The song feels like 80’s pop inspired early on but takes on a much heavier feel through the verses.
The track that stood out instantly was “Hecate’s Nightmare”. The eerie music box keyboard opening sets to the table for this slowed downed crusher. Alexi has said the chorus could have been an 80’s Ozzy Osbourne song. The riff pounds you and the familiar guitar squeals dance around the memorizing rhythm. “Platitudes And Barren Words” actually throws a bit of curve ball vocally. It is another song built around hook-laden chorus and has a bit of punk vibe to it. I wouldn’t call the vocals clean but there are moments where it is not that typical snarl you’re used to. It’s a small variant but it caught my attention right away.
The epic title track, “Hexed”, contains everything you love about this band rolled into five minutes. The song trends on a more progressive approach with thrash intensive riffing. The varying dynamics make the heavy seem heavier and the melodies even more addicting. Gang vocals and the double kick drum give it an added punch. The ending detours into a somber atmospheric feeling. “Relapse (The Nature Of My Crime)” feels familiar. It is a more straight-ahead rocker that would fit on earlier releases. The song “Soon Departed” is another song I gravitated to on first listen. The song is dark and is every bit as powerful as the songs that move at high-octane speeds despite its mid-tempo pacing.
I’ve spent a lot time praising the melodies and hooks found on this record. In no way does that compromise the Children Of Bodom traditional attack. This album contains plenty of heaviness and uncompromised chaos. Look no further than “Kick In The Spleen,” ‘Glass House,” and “Say Never Look Back.” Those songs blister with intensity and attitude that Children Of Bodom fans will immediately latch on to. Those same fans will recognize the last track, “Knuckleduster,” which appeared on the ‘Trashed, Lost and Strungout’ EP released in 2004.
For this album, the band returned to Finland’s Danger Johnny Studios where they were reunited with Mikko Karmila (‘I Worship Chaos,’ ‘Halo Of Blood,’ ‘Hatebreeder,’ ‘Follow the Reaper ‘& ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’) who recorded everything except keyboards and also produced the album with the band. Janne Wirman recorded keyboards at Beyond Abilities Studios. The album was mixed and mastered at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland. The line-up for Children Of Bodom is Alexi Laiho on vocals and guitar, Janne Wirman on keyboards, Daniel Freyberg on guitar, Henkka Blacksmith handling bass, and Jaska Raatikainen on drums.
I really enjoyed ‘Hexed.’ All the classic ingredients that Children Of Bodom is known for are here. What connected with me are the hooks and melodies that are so prevalent throughout the record. These songs stick with you, it may be guitar or keyboard piece, or the chorus, but there is something tangible to grab a hold of in these songs. This was exactly what I wanted out of this album and both old and new fans should be excited about this one.
Children Of Bodom will be hitting the road in March. Confirmed dates for the Hexed 2019 North American tour with SWALLOW THE SUN, WOLFHEART, SUMMONER’S CIRCLE, HOLLOW CRY, and FRAGMENTUM are:
3/13/2019 Imperial – Quebec City, QC*
3/14/2019 Corona Theater – Montreal, QC*
3/15/2019 Bronson Centre – Ottawa, ON *
3/16/2019 The Phoenix Concert Theater – Toronto, ON*
3/18/2019 St. Andrews – Detroit, MI**
3/19/2019 House of Blues – Chicago, IL**
3/20//2019 Skyway Theater – Minneapolis, MN**
3/22//2019 The Summit – Denver, CO **
3/23//2019 Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT**
3/25//2019 The Palace Theatre – Calgary, AB**
3/26//2019 Union – Edmonton, AB**
3/27//2019 The Vogue Theater – Vancouver, BC**
3/29//2019 El Corazon – Seattle, WA**
3/30//2019 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR ***
4/01//2019 The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA***
4/02//2019 The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA ***
4/03//2019 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ***
4/05//2019 Alamo Music Hall – San Antonio, TX ***
4/06//2019 Warehouse Live – Houston, TX ***
4/07//2019 Canton Hall – Dallas, TX ***
4/09//2019 The Ritz – Tampa, FL *
4/11//2019 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA *
4/12//2019 The Underground – Charlotte, NC *
4/13//2019 Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD*
4/14//2019 Mr Smalls Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA*
4/16//2019 Westcott Theater – Syracuse, NY*
4/17//2019 The Royale – Boston, MA*
4/18//2019 Reverb – Reading, PA *
4/19//2019 Irving Plaza – New York, NY *
* SUMMONER’S CIRCLE, opening (March 13-16 & April 9-19)
** HOLLOW CRY opening (March 18-29)
*** FRAGMENTUM opening (March 30 April 7)