Children of Bodom have always been one of my gateway bands into extremity. First coming across them on their superlative ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ record, their mixture of melodic death metal and air guitar heroics drew me in at a tender age. While later Bodom records haven’t always hit the spot as well as their early works, ‘I Worship Chaos’ looks to be a step back to regaining their place atop the pile.
‘I Hurt’ is a typical Bodom opener, all killer riffs and uber catchy melodies. Less immediate, but all the better for it is the jagged ‘My Bodom’ which matches a chugging riff with pinch harmonics and a sense of grandeur ala ‘Angels Don’t Kill’. ‘I Worship Chaos’ has a less overt keyboard influence through it, and the songwriting feels tighter and more focused. CoB seem to have moved back towards the death metal end from the almost rock and roll thrust of previous records. Alexi Laiho is an instanteously recognisable rock god in all his soloing glory, but the band are best when creating sublime melodic death metal albums.
‘Morrigan’ is a great song, with almost touches of folky melancholy in the early riffing. ‘Horns’ is a more thrashier number, while the gloomy ‘Prayer for the Afflicted’ shows that CoB are more than capable of writing different styles of songs and excelling in each style. We all know what classic Bodom sounds like, and while ‘I Worship Chaos’ is PRIME Bodom, the band are writing songs that show a great maturity. Laiho and cohorts could write the same song over and over in their sleep, but with ‘I Worship Chaos’, they’re showing that they aren’t willing to rest on their laurels.
From the anthemic rage of the title track through to closer ‘Widdershins’, ‘I Worship Chaos’ sees Children of Bodom come closer to realising a modern equivalent of their classic period. A great record, full of memorable songs, killer riffs and jaw dropping fretwork, ‘I Worship Chaos’ stands tall with anything that riffs hard this year.