''I worship consistent diversity from crazy Finns'': A review of Children of Bodom's ''I Worship Chaos''
Two years after the strong return to form which was the diversified, inspired and original ‘‘Halo of Blood‘‘, Finnish cult band Children of Bodom is back with nine brandnew tunes and a few cover tracks on ‘‘I Worship Chaos‘‘. This is the first album the band recorded as a quartet after the departure of guitarist Roope Latvala. His genius in form of memorable riffs and rhythms might be missing here and there but overall, ‘‘I Worship Chaos‘‘ is a surprisingly solid release that sounds much better than what the previously released new songs, snippets and singles indicated. This record is a great example that the whole is sometimes greater than the sum of its parts.
The band included everything critics and fans from around the world like about them on this output. Fierce mid-tempo stompers like the cool opener ‘‘I Hurt‘‘ meet sinister and fast-paced bangers like ‘‘Horns‘‘. The first single ‘‘Morrigan‘‘ works surprisingly well in the context of the record since it adds almost folk-influenced melodies to the potpourri and comes as a welcome melodic break between some of the hardest melodic death metal tunes the band has recorded over the past years. ‘‘Widdershins‘‘ mixes both epic melodies and a horror movie atmosphere that could have been taken from an old school radio play and concludes the regular album version on a quite complete note. The greatest tune on the new album is probably the calmer ‘‘All for Nothing‘‘ that convinces with a stunning duel between the guitar and the keyboard in the melodic middle part that goes back to the band’s fast and joyous power metal style.
While the folk-influenced ‘‘Morrigan‘‘, the epic power metal half-ballad ‘‘All for Nothing‘‘ and the atmospheric closer ‘‘Widdershins‘‘ offer majestic keyboard passages and melodic guitar riffs and solos, the rest of the record features more sinister keyboard tones and brutal and tight extreme metal riffs. The two instruments clearly dominate this album and represent all typical band trademarks. The rhythm section consisting of bass guitar and drums is though a little bit unspectacular at times and could have been a little bit more experimental, ferocious and present overall. The vocals are nothing technically stunning but they are charismatic, diversified and inspired enough to keep the tension high. Alexi Laiho growls, screams and whispers in many different ways that always complete the atmosphere of each single song. It's not his best performance but certainly his most inspired.
The different limited editions rate this album up as usual. This time, the crazy Finnish quartet covered female-fronted American punk rock band Plasmatics, American country and soft rock artist Kenny Loggins, the Finnish folk metal band Amorphis and even British new wave pop band Bananarama on the Japanese edition of the album. These choices are once again very eclectic and fun to listen to. I was first skeptical about the Amorphis cover since they are my very favourite band but Children of Bodom’s version of ‘’Black Winter Day’’ can be described as a successful attempt at mixing the unique magic of the original with their very own sound. The epic keyboard passages, the dragging and longing atmosphere and an inspired vocal performance make this song stand out among the other tunes since the original track is treated with a lot of dignity, passion and thought.
While this release doesn’t offer one particularly outstanding song, ‘’I Worship Chaos’’ is definitely one of the band's most consistent releases in terms of quality and quantity. Overall, I would place this album in the upper middle section of the band’s extensive discography. If you liked ‘‘Halo of Blood‘‘, which has grown a lot on me, you might realize that ‘‘I Worship Chaos‘‘ doesn’t beat its high-quality predecessor but turns out to be a truly respectable follow-up. On a final side note, the cover artwork of this record is really gorgeous and among the band’s very best in my opinion which should encourage their fans to buy the vinyl version of this album.
Final verdict: 8/10 (recommendable)
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