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Children Of Bodom: Halo Of Blood

Finnish stars reveal more tricks up their sleeve

Despite their meteoric rise over the last decade, the return of overt virtuosity on 2011’s Relentless Reckless Forever placated a large proportion of the ‘Hate Crew’ who will no doubt appreciate the familiar chugs and infectious power metal histrionics of opener Waste Of Skin. Though Alexi Laiho’s monotone bark may not to be everyone’s tastes, his scintillating lead work, in unison with Janne Wirman’s keyboards, demonstrates why he’s heralded as one of this generation’s six-string icons.

This isn’t just another Bodom album, though. The swirling, dense black metal riff of the title track is one of the band’s most daring songs to date. The flamboyance of the prog-laden Bodom Blue Moon is tempered by grooves and simple vocal hooks, while the ravenous The Days Are Numbered surges with a militaristic stomp, spliced with ostentatious musical acrobatics.

Yet most surprising of all is Dead Man’s Hand On You. Slow, brooding acoustics accompany a spoken word section, which explodes into a grand but refined chorus reminiscent of In Flames’ 00s output. Children Of Bodom have produced a diverse collection of brilliant metallic tunes, and their most accomplished achievement to date.