CHILDREN OF BODOM
"Blooddrunk"

(Spinefarm)

01. Hellhounds on My Trail
02. Blooddrunk
03. Lobodomy
04. One Day You Will Cry
05. Smile Pretty For the Devil
06. Tie My Rope
07. Done With Everything, Die For Nothing
08. Banned From Heaven
09. Roadkill Morning

RATING: 6.5/10

From the very first blat of the POWER STATION orchestra hit on the keyboard, CHILDREN OF BODOM are here to let you know that on this, their sixth studio album, there's not gonna be a damn thing changed. The band's been plying their trade since the 1990s, carving out a niche for themselves by stuffing black metal racket into three-minute pop songs and never shying away from musical theatrics or keyboard sounds that'd made a Commodore 64 video game music programmer blush. And while it could be said that they're a little less thrashy abandon and a little more rock and roll these days, the fact remains that these songs would be instantly identifiable to a time-traveling fan.

Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, since people obviously like what BODOM is up to, and they do make us wait a bit between albums these days. While "Blooddrunk" comes off as a bit uninspired compared to the band's best work, the instant familiarity does make it an enjoyable listen. It's doubtful Alexi Laiho could write or play a non-catchy piece of music if he tried, and these songs are predictably full of BODOM swagger, flashy guitar squeals and "whoah yeah!" vocal snarls of the most ludicrous variety. The whole thing doth boogie down, in other words, and if it's not as novel as it used to be, well, the gene pool's a lot more crowded these days.

While there still a few inarguably dazzling moments — the soloing in "Tie My Rope", for example — the whole of "Blooddrunk" kinda comes off as a career rehash, a decent trip through the same kitschy AOR-BM hybrid that once seemed impossibly groundbreaking and now comes off as a bit wanting. It's not a bad record at all, but it's hardly essential listening, and it seems like the band once known for raising the bar should have been able to do a little more in three years' time. There's not much else to say about it — bottom line, if you like the BODOM sound so much that your need for new tunes is insatiable, "Blooddrunk" will fill the bill. It's a lateral move for the band, though, at the very least, and a worrying sign that creatively, they might be running out of gas.

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