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Children of Bodom: Relentless Reckless Forever

Somewhat of a return to form after a couple of sorta generic sounding releases, Finland's Children of Bodom bring their fans plenty of 'thrashy blackened death symphonic power metal' on their latest Relentless Reckless Forever. Despite the rather lame album title, this one packs quite the punch, as Alexi & Co. deliver some pretty heavy & catchy material here that sees the return of the dueling guitar & keyboard solos of the past, Laiho, Roope Latvala, & Janne Warman trading all sorts of blazing leads throughout these 9 crunchy songs. Some might still have issues with Warman's synth tones, but there's no doubt the guy can play, his symphonic layers all over "Roundtrip to Hell and Back" and firing back against all Alexi can offer on the raging "Shovel Knockout". Speaking of the guitar work from Laiho & Latvala, it's as crisp, concise, technical at times, and pummeling as ever, which really is what you expect from a CoB album after all. Thrashers like "Not My Funeral", "Pussyfoot Miss Suicide", and "Ugly" rage with a vengeance, and the duo bash you over the head with crushing riffs on the lethal title track. Laiho's blackened growl is ever present, cutting through the gothic black 'n' roll of "Cry of the Nihilist" like shards of broken glass.

Relentless Reckless Forever comes in a neat digipack littered with ghoulish artwork, and there's also a bonus DVD included featuring a video of the single "Was It All Worth It?", a few live clips from the Bloodstock Festival, and some snippets from The Rockhouse Method with Alexi Laiho. Interesting how the band picked "Was It All Worth It?" as the song to do a video on-it's the least compelling track here amongst a CD of mostly winners. All in all though, Relentless Reckless Forever is strong outing from Children of Bodom that lets us all know that they have plenty of quality metal still left in their tank and are not resting on their laurels after plenty of recent success here in North America.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. Not My Funeral
2. Shovel Knockout
3. Roundtrip to Hell and Back
4. Pussyfoot Miss Suicide
5. Relentless Reckless Forever
6. Ugly
7. Cry of the Nihilist
8. Was It Worth It?
9. Northpole Throwdown
Disc: 2
1. Was It Worth It? (Music video)
2. Was It Worth It? (Making of)
3. Angels Don't Kill (Live At Bloodstock)
4. Everytime I Die (Live At Bloodstock)
5. The Rockhouse Method with Alexi Laiho (DVD Trailer)
6. The Rockhouse Method with Alexi Laiho (Instructional DVD excerpt)

Added: April 19th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2970
Language: english

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Children of Bodom: Relentless Reckless Forever
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-04-19 20:30:16
My Score:

Children of Bodom has received quite a bit of heat for their last few releases - particularly 2008's universally slandered Blooddrunk. Relentless Reckless Forever (pardon the equally awful album title) can be considered a "return to form" of sorts. Although it may lack the charm of their first handful of releases, this is an exceptionally strong melodic death metal album filled with memorable songwriting, impeccable musicianship, and that distinct sound that's made Children of Bodom recognized worldwide. Relentless Reckless Forever does feel a bit run of the mill at times, but the bottom line is that this a fun album that I always have a great time putting on.

The music here is a mix of death/thrash metal, power metal, and touches of progressive metal (mainly in the keyboard arrangements). I also hear a bit of metalcore, but it's not a particularly dominant style. Keyboards are very prevalent on Relentless Reckless Forever - this is mainly a "guitar album", but the synth work from Janne "Warman" Wirman is definitely enough to piss off the death metal purists. The cheesy tones occasionally bug me and add a "cheap" atmosphere to the music, but I generally have a great appreciation for Wirman's playing. He's a "keyboard wizard" in the truest sense. Of course, the two guitarists (Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and Roope Latvala) offer plenty of blinding leads and tasteful riffs throughout the near 40-minute duration. The production is also polished and professional.

It's really hard not to at least moderately enjoy Relentless Reckless Forever - this is a fun album in the truest sense. Cheesy keyboards, crazy instrumental sections, and catchy songs are really what this album is all about. I would've greatly appreciated a more adventurous attitude, but that doesn't severely detract from the great experience I have every time I put on Relentless Reckless Forever. Fans of Children of Bodom and melodic death/power metal in general are advised to check this out - just don't take it too seriously! Somewhere between a 3-3.5 is a fair rating here.

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