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Children of Bodom - "Halo of Blood" (CD)

Children of Bodom - "Halo of Blood" CD cover image

"Halo of Blood" track listing:

1. Waste of Skin (4:17)
2. Halo of Blood (3:13)
3. Scream for Silence (4:10)
4. Transference (3:58)
5. Bodom Blue Moon (4:14)
6. Your Days Are Numbered (3:41)
7. Dead Man’s Hand on You (4:58)
8. Damage Beyond Repair (4:21)
9. All Twisted (4:52)
10. One Bottle and a Knee Deep (4:02)

Reviewed by on May 30, 2013

"Alexi Laiho’s lyrical failings aside, 'Halo of Blood' is a full-force metallic assault that is among the band’s best output, and easily worth picking up for either diehards or fans who didn’t bother with the last couple of albums."

Bodomites rejoice: the age of Bodom has returned! If the skateboarding vibe wasn’t to your liking, and the last few albums left you longing for the band’s early '00s output, “Halo of Blood” will be a welcome addition to your melodic death metal collection. A solid mix of nostalgia and progression, these tracks offer up pretty much everything a Children of Bodom fan could want.

Opening track “Waste of Skin” is a bit of a false start, as it definitely feels like Bodom, but more like the band is going through the motions of what’s expected from a Children of Bodom release, with an oddly-restrained quality. The craziness hits full force one song later on the title track, which is a barrage of frenzied sound that’s relentlessly heavy. As a look book at what has come before, the song also incorporates those classic elements the Finnish group is known for – namely, the gang chants and backing keyboards.

While there are lots of great tracks present on “Halo of Blood,” the true high point is “Transference.” The track is immediately identifiable as the quintessential Children of Bodom experience. The best material from ages long past echo throughout the song, but they are presented in a more modern medium with an updated sound. For the most part, the album keeps up the breakneck pace that would be expected, but “Dead Man’s Hand On You” will throw listeners a curve ball, as it’s probably the slowest song the band has ever written. Besides the pacing change, the gang chants also get ditched in favor of atmospheric whispered vocals.

With classic Children of Bodom greatness also comes some of the band's classic quirks, which some might call missteps and others just consider part of the band’s charm. The lyrics are predictably awful, but that’s just to be expected at this point. There are also several movie clip segments at the end of tracks that are pretty unnecessary, as they really don’t add anything. Alexi Laiho’s lyrical failings aside, “Halo of Blood” is a full-force metallic assault that is among the band’s best output, and easily worth picking up for either diehards or fans who didn’t bother with the last couple of albums.

Highs: The quintessential Bodom sound has been refined and even progressed a bit.

Lows: The lyrics are ridiculous, the movie clips are pointless, and the first track feels a little limp.

Bottom line: Children of Bodom is back with a vengeance, as the band resurrects its early sound and adds in some new elements.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)