DRAGONFORCE's Herman Li has paid tribute to Alexi Laiho, calling the former CHILDREN OF BODOM frontman "a great guitar player" who "was exciting to watch on stage."
Earlier today, Li uploaded a 27-minute video to DRAGONFORCE's YouTube channel in which he said about Alexi: "He was awesome. He was really good. I think a lot of us in the scene all looked at Alexi Laiho and thought, 'Man, this guy is so good.' Not only was he playing really good… There are a lot of great guitar players out there, but a lot of them cannot sing — cannot sing and play at the same time. And he was able to do both, and party like a rock star. That's one thing — a lot of us can play guitar, but we're terrible singers. Talk about being a frontman of the band. That's a whole different level than just being a great guitar player. He had a great stage presence. He was the frontman of the band — a great vocalist, singer for what he was doing — and he was exciting to watch on stage. And they had great songs. It's different when you can play the guitar and sing; you're a bit cooler. So he was another level up, because most of us can't sing."
Laiho died in his home in Helsinki last week. The 41-year-old had suffered from long-term health issues leading up to his death.
Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen founded CHILDREN OF BODOM in 1993, and the band was one of the most internationally acclaimed metal acts in Finland up until their very last farewell concert in December of 2019. Last year, Alexi put together BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT, which recorded three songs and shot one music video, to be released posthumously.
Besides CHILDREN OF BODOM, Laiho had played in such acts as WARMEN, SINERGY, KYLÄHULLUT and THE LOCAL BAND. Awarded with a Metal Hammer Golden God and several other international prizes, the guitarist was also the main star, leading a group of one hundred guitar players at the Helsinki Festival in 2015 in "100 Guitars From Hel" — a massive concert piece he composed.
Alexi relished his role as stepdad in his family, and as uncle and godfather. Especially during the last years, the important family ties brought a welcomed balance to his life and the active touring. Laiho was particularly close with his big sister, parents and his sister's daughter.
BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT made its live debut last October at Rytmikorjaamo in Seinäjoki, Finland. The 17-song show consisted entirely of CHILDREN OF BODOM material.
Jaska Raatikainen (drums), Henri "Henkka T. Blacksmith" Seppälä (bass) and Janne Wirman (keyboards) announced their departures from CHILDREN OF BODOM in October 2019. Two months later, they confirmed that they were the rightful owners of the CHILDREN OF BODOM brand.