When Children Of Bodom released their debut album Something Wild in 1997, they were the vanguard for exciting new bands leading the charge for bringing Finnish metal to the world. In taking melodeath and throwing in 80s-style stadium-sized guitar lines and melodies, Alexi Laiho inspired legions of players whilst becoming a beloved character in the metal pantheon.
While Laiho's passing in December 2020 remains a tragedy, his catalogue of excellent songs remains testament to not only his prodigious talent, but his love for heavy metal as a genre.
In 2015, Metal Hammer caught up with Laiho, to get him to pick out the 10 finest songs released by Children Of Bodom: these are his selections...
1. Deadnight Warrior (Something Wild, 1997)
“The first track off the first album, a very important song for us. We recorded that whole album with our own money, and without a record contract. We’d signed up with a shady ass label, but there was no contract on the table, so we just put all the money that we had – which wasn’t much – into recording the album.
It was definitely a stressful experience, but it was also exciting at the same time. It was one of those tracks that we figured either people were going to absolutely fucking hate, or dig the shit out of, and it’s still a big song for us today. It was also the song that got us a contract with Spinefarm [Records].”
2. Downfall (Hatebreeder, 1999)
“Hatebreeder was a more professionally recorded and produced album than Something Wild, and we spent more time making it. By that time, we’d started heading over to Europe on tour as well, and we’d gained a pretty big fan base over there. Downfall was the second single that we put out [after Children Of Bodom], and it was another important song that helped us progress to the next level.
It went gold in Finland, which was basically unheard for a band like us. And it’s always in our setlist – usually at the end, no matter where we play or how long the set is. It always works live, and that’s kind of how I measure up the songs. If songs don’t work live, then they usually get buried, and that’s one of the reasons why Downfall is on this list – because it works live.”
3. Hate Me (Follow The Reaper, 2000)
“This one always works live too, and it’s a single that actually went platinum in Finland, which is insane. It’s always in the set every time we play live, and people just go off every time we play it. It rocks!
When it first came out, it was totally different to anything we had recorded before. To me, it’s more of a rock ‘n’ roll song than anything death or black metal, and it gave us a new direction to head in. Hate Me was our first song to capture that rock ‘n’ roll vibe.”
4. Needled 24/7 (Hate Crew Deathroll, 2003)
"When the first album was recorded we were 17/18 years old, still searching for our sound and identity. It wasn’t really until Hate Crew Deathroll that we found ourselves. Needled 24/7 is heavy as fuck and fast as shit. And the main melody is so catchy, that whether you like it or not it’s going to stick with you. This was also the album and the song that got us more attention from everywhere. It was the first album that got us any recognition in the States, and we finally got to tour America with this one. So this is a very important song for us.”
5. Angels Don't Kill (Hate Crew Deathroll, 2003)
“I picked this song for three reasons. Firstly, it’s a great song. Secondly, it was the first slow song that we recorded – people call it a death metal ballad, but I don’t know what the hell it is. And finally, it got us a lot of female attention, which is always a good thing.”
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6. Living Dead Beat (Are You Dead Yet? 2005)
“We were on a roll with this album, and we had a solid fan base with headline shows across Europe, the States and Japan. And this album took us even further. I like Living Dead Beat for many reasons. It’s kind of like Deadnight Warrior in the sense that it was totally different to anything that was out there at the time.
We didn’t know whether people were going to dig it or hate it, but as far as I’m aware, this is one of our highest selling albums ever, so we must’ve done something right. And this is just another one of those songs which is fun to play live.”
7. Are You Dead Yet? (Are You Dead Yet?, 2005)
“I like this song because it’s super catchy and super heavy. It’s one of those songs that no matter where we are when we play it, people sing along to the chorus – that’s kind of funny to us. It always features in the setlist.”
8. Halo Of Blood (Halo Of Blood, 2013)
“I don’t really know what happened when I was writing this song, but I sort of went back to our black metal roots with the sound of this album. I hadn’t forgotten about that side of our band, it just hadn’t featured in as much of the music on more recent records.
It was never planned, it just sort of came out this way. Halo of Blood was a super dark record. And as much as I hate repeating myself, this song is still in the setlist. I can tell that people still enjoy hearing this one live, and that’s what I like about it.”
9. I Worship Chaos (I Worship Chaos, 2015)
“I Worship Chaos is about the fact that I’m a very reckless person, and I don’t do well with silence. I need chaos around me to feel comfortable. That’s where the album title came from, and when we first played this song live the day the album came out, everyone went fucking insane.
We’ve been around long enough to know that when you play new material right after it’s come out, people don’t usually react very strongly to it. They’re more likely to be bummed out that you’re playing new shit. But when we debuted this one there were circle pits all over the place, and I think it’s one of those songs that really gives out that chaotic vibe. So I’m super proud of this song.”
10. Morrigan (I Worship Chaos, 2015)
“Structurally, this song is very simple, but it’s also super catchy. The melody sticks with you, and it’s a slow song as well, but it’s still heavy as fuck, and the girls like it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If the girls like it, then the guys like it too. That’s just the way it goes. I never planned it that way, but that’s sometimes the way it works out.”