Children of Bodom are one of those bands who most people in the metal scene will have at least heard of. Being one of the most successful musical acts to come out of Finland in recent years with their classic album Follow the Reaper being certified gold in Finland, the band has a long history of delivering quality albums. So how does this new one stack up?
With it being the first one with new guitarist Daniel Freyberg there is a little added pressure but right from the first notes of “This Road”, it is clear that the band know what they are doing. Driving drums, neo-classical inspired riffs and the vocals of frontman Alexi Laiho culminate in an excellent opener for the album. “Under Grass and Clover” continues that theme with arguably one of the strongest riffs on the album and showcases the talents of new guitarist Daniel very well.
“Kick in the Spleen” changes things up slightly with more of an emphasis on speed rather the melodies explored in earlier tracks. Everything is surgically precise with some of the heavier parts literally feeling like a “Kick in the Spleen”. The following track, “Platitudes and Barren Words”, brings the melodies back with a much heavier emphasis on the keyboards than on earlier songs. With a rather tasty solo from Janne Wieman and duelling harmonies between Alexi and Daniel in the latter half, the track is one that’ll seep into your head and not want to leave into you’re singing it non-stop.
Rounding out the album, the final three tracks, “Say Never Look Back”, “Soon Departed” and “Knuckleduster” respectively, bring the album to a close in the traditional Bodom style with the mix of fast, slow and melodic and mid-paced being forefront. “Knuckleduster” in particular is unlike any of the other tracks on the album by having a distinctly minor counter-melody on the keys playing very nicely off the driving guitar riffs. A superb end to the album.
Whilst the album does feel like the natural success to I Worship Chaos, it almost feels wrong to say that it is. The songs on this album feel a lot more polished and well written than on the previous album, almost as if the band has got its mojo back with the addition of a second guitarist. I will admit that some of the tracks do feel a touch longer than they need be, but overall Hexed is a very solid album and one which fans of the band will no doubt enjoy.
Hexed is released on March 8th