A Chapter Called Children Of Bodom: the Finnish metal icons' final show is captured beautifully in this full-throttle, triumphant album

There will truly never be another Alexi Laiho, but we can rest assured that Children Of Bodom at least went out with a bang

Alexi Laiho on stage in 2017
(Image: © Frank Hoensch/Redferns via Getty Images)

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When Alexi Laiho disbanded Children Of Bodom in 2019, then passed away just 12 months later, it left a chasm that no metal band – no matter how flamboyant, talented or charismatic – have filled since. The Wildchild was a once-in- a-lifetime rock star within extreme metal. Plus, his guitar playing’s trade-offs with keyboardist Janne Wirman were so impressive and fun that few have even dared to replicate them. All of the idiosyncrasies that made both Alexi and his band great have now been immortalised on A Chapter Called Children Of Bodom: the recording of the last live show the Finns ever played.

The end of Bodom was effectively foreshadowed weeks before this December 2019 gig, with Janne, drummer Jaska Raatikainen and bassist Henkka Seppälä all announcing their exits in November. That the line-up was able to sustain itself for this finale – let alone make it such a triumphant, valiant send-off – says everything about their commitment to being one of metal’s most endearingly bombastic forces.

Under Grass And Clover, from 2019’s swansong album Hexed, instantly flaunts Alexi and Janne’s neo-classical chops. After the two exchange fanciful melodies, the more upfront In Your Face declares, ‘I don’t give a fuck, motherfucker!’, symbolising the blunt-force intensity of modern classic Hate Crew Deathroll.

It’s the concert’s closing half-hour, however, that truly shows Bodom at their best. Follow The Reaper, Deadnight Warrior, Needled 24/7, Hate Me!, Hate Crew Deathroll, Lake Bodom and Downfall form a series of hits from the band’s golden age – and each one reinforces with bulletproof strength the all-adrenaline songwriting that made the band megastars. That nonstop excellence makes Alexi’s closing farewell all the more heartbreaking in hindsight. Even on their final night as a band, Children Of Bodom were peerless in the field of infectious, exuberant and unabashedly rowdy metal music.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.