Children of Bodom - _Relentless Reckless Forever_
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (
Oh jeez. I guess it is that time again. Children of Bodom records have a very specific half-life with listeners. While I haven't narrowed down the exact formula, it is usually three albums subsequent to when you first start listening. My honeymoon phase with Children of Bodom included albums made between the years 1997 and 2003. Entering into the world of Children of Bodom comes with excitement and wonder for high energy melodic death metal. The vocals are clean-ish, guitar solos flow like wine and every album cover has a reaper on it. What could go possibly wrong? Besides, you know... nothing changing?On more than one occasion, I have heard children of Bodom being referred to as the brats of death metal. I think we can assume this to be accurate as the band is younger, more youthful and possess the technical prowess capable of making older musicians jealous. The band's music is also loaded with hooks beneath a harsh exterior. Few can argue the impact of Children of Bodom's first few records, as they are balls out awesome with excitement teeming at the edges. The '00s brought a slow wane of critical praise as well as a converse increase in popularity. The last few years have seen haphazard releases as well as an embarrassing cover record. _Relentless Reckless Forever_ is Children of Bodom's seventh album, which, in all honesty, could be their 17th or 37th. Sticking to their guns, the band performs the same magic act which consists of a woman being sawed in half and a very tired rabbit being pulled once again -- from this ordinary hat. It is important to note _Relentless Reckless Forever_ is a very fluid album with few areas of misstep or calls for criticism. Even misguided song titles like "Pussyfoot Miss Suicide" still hold some interest with general "badassery". The main criticism with Children of Bodom comes when everything runs a little too smooth, just as the album before did and the one before that. The guitar solos illuminate the night, allowing the keyboards to clear the road for the familiar chug a lug which carries Alexi Laiho's gruff dissonance. _Relentless Reckless Forever_ suffers the fate of _Blooddrunk_ and _Are You Dead Yet_ using a familiar template yielding fewer memorable songs. But then again, it could just be because the half-life is reaching its end. Children of Bodom, for me, has long reached its expiration date, and the things which I once loved now sound cartoonish and timid. Long gone are the days when one album would hold a torrent of memorable songs with a ridiculous amount of instrumental bravado. Just like a relationship gone south, the things which made me smile and laugh just aren't the same anymore. Children of Bodom's inability to innovate after thirteen years is explained by their ever growing fame. Even if the band wanted to travel down a different path, the chances of being granted a fair trial is nearly impossible. There will be no sludge record, black metal throwback or atmospheric doom concept album anywhere in the future. The power inspired melodic death template is really the only chance for the band to prosper. Children of Bodom, while embraced by many fans, are usually the end of jokes made by more pretentious ex-fans. It is my belief everyone -- at one time -- has enjoyed these snotty group of miscreants. While _Relentless Reckless Forever_ offers few complaints in terms of execution, there are multiple pages of grievances regarding style, direction and general relevance.
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