Children of Bodom – I Worship Chaos
Release Date: October 2, 2015
Children of Bodom has always been a weird band for me. I like the stuff that’s meant to be bad (especially Blooddrunk) and don’t really feel all the stuff that most Bodom fans seem to like (for example, Hate Crew Deathroll never really hooked me the way that it does with a lot of others). Much has been made of their post-2003 releases, although the previous release Halo of Blood was deemed a “return to form.” Personally, that’s not how I felt, although it sure as hell beat Relentless Reckless Forever. Their latest release falls way below that level, although at least it can be said that it’s better than the abomination that was Relentless…
It does have to be said however, I Worship Chaos is very solid. There aren’t really any moments on the album that are horrendously bad, unlike most Bodom albums. Generally I find at least one song that I can’t help but skip, but here everything’s okay. A few are a bit awkward, but nothing that really poses a major offence to the ears. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many highs as on other albums though, perhaps as a direct consequence of that. If posed with the question of whether I’d rather have ten decent songs or eight rubbish ones and two great songs, I think I would go with two great songs, which is one of the cons of this album. There are no real standouts, even if some songs are better than others. They’re all just varying degrees of average.
It also has to be said that there are quite a few awkwardly constructed passages across the album. Listen to the start of “Horns” (or most of it to be honest). What the hell is that? It’s hard to really understand what’s trying to be achieved there, even if the song sort of picks up by the middle. It just seems a little disjointed and uncoordinated. The start of “I Hurt” is also a bit odd, and I find the keyboard and guitar don’t really match. That’s a recurring problem here, as it was on Halo of Blood (although to a lesser extent on that album). Janne Warman‘s playing also seems slightly half-hearted for the most part, and he only really seems invigorated in the solo battle with Alexi Laiho at the end of “All for Nothing”. The rest of his stuff is either barely noticeable for the more forceful guitars that pretty much bury the keys or just there simply because it’s not Bodom without keys. That’s what it sounds like anyway.
Alexi’s vocals are on par with most of the band’s albums in the last ten years, which is to say that they’re pretty poor compared to the awesome growls that you’d get with bands like Amon Amarth, but equally they’re miles better than the dry and raspy hiss that Alexi used to offer on albums like Hatebreeder. He’s far better with the axe, but it has to be said that there aren’t really that many moments of brilliance here. There’s something about the guitar’s tone that isn’t all that attractive, and on top of that there’s a lot of very basic riffing. Nothing comes close to “Bodom Blue Moon”, or “Trashed, Lost and Strungout” or even “One Day You Will Cry”. It’s all pretty uninspiring and dull. Once again, there is nothing spectacular about this album at all. At least on their so-called “failures” (post-Hate Crew basically) there were tracks that were fun and made you want to rock out. And that’s where Bodom have failed here, because although there’s not much to dislike about I Worship Chaos, there’s not much to like either.