Children of Bodom // Relentless Reckless Forever
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Whoa.
Label: Spinefarm
Websites: cobhc.com | myspace.com/childrenofbodom
Release Dates: EU: 2011.03.07-09 | US: 03.08.2011

Children Of Bodom - Relentless Reckless Forever (Front Cover) by EneasChildren of Bodom. I think the last time I cared about a Children of Bodom release was when I heard the very disappointing Follow the Reaper which followed what was absolutely in my top 5 for 1999 the venerable Hatebreeder. Oh man, I not only loved the shit out of that record, I even saw them play an amazing show (with the exception of a bored Wirmen being a douche on the keyboards) at Milwauke Metalfest. And I defended the band’s honor against every old, grizzled metal dude on the extreme metal forum I went to at the time. They called them Children of Boredom. Unfortunately, I kinda started to agree with them after a while and the records that followed Follow the Reaper were progressively more and more embarrassing. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I popped in Relentless Reckless Forever and wasn’t bored, or hell, even upset! In fact, I was entertained! There’s a feeling of old school Children of Bodom that kinda emanates from the depths of this disc and that feeling got me excited. The whole thing starts off with the pretty damn rad “Not My Funeral” which shows off what this band is known for: the guitars. And really, it’s the guitars that kept me interested for the whole record. The solos feel inspired, the interplay between the keyboards and guitars is reminiscent of the old days and the frankly, they give me some pretty serious guitar envy, and that was always the point of Children of Bodom, right? ‘Cause it certainly wasn’t the depth of the lyrics.

Which, by the way, are still pretty much lame. I mean, I can’t read them, but it’s not like Alexi Laiho’s lyrics have ever been high art. In fact, I think they’ve always been the opposite. While there are plenty of art rock rooted bands in the Finnish scene, Children of Bodom has always carried the flag of 80s thrash and vulgarity high. Children of Bodom - Web With songs like “Shovel Knockout,” “Cry of the Nihilist,” and “Northpole Throwdown,” I think you pretty much know what to expect. Mind blowing guitar and keyboard solos, pretty solid groove based riffing and writing and some angst-driven, macho bullshit lyrics from a dude who pretty much just wants to drink, fight and tour.

But, that said, these days even Hatebreeder doesn’t do it for me the way it used to. While there is some awesome stuff on here, and there is some awesome stuff on here, it doesn’t really launch itself beyond a very damn enjoyable record. I think it’s just too straight forward for me now that I’m old and more interested in more progressive, technical and extreme music. That said, the tracks “Relentless Reckless Forever,” “Shovel Knockout,” “Ugly” (which has the great orchestral blast keyboard sound which is so reminiscent of the old days) and “Not My Funeral” are probably the best on the album, and I would dare to say that there is a level of sophistication on this record that I’ve never heard from the band. The riffing on “The Cry of the Nihilist,” “Ugly” and “Was It Worth It?” is all pretty progressive and interesting, actually, which kind of caught me off guard. The record actually seems to get more sophisticated musically as it goes along and on multiple listens, it kinda reveals itself to be backloaded in that way.

So yeah, if you’re an old fan who’s been disillusioned with Children of Bodom, I suggest you give this record a listen. It’s a lot better than I’d expected and actually I’ve found myself wanting to listen to it and progressively raising the score as I was writing this review. And seriously, this band is still stupid good at their instruments, but I do really miss the neo-classical feel that the band had early on. It does really feel like it goes missing here and that’s a stinkin’ shame. Imagine if they could recapture that old flame? Fuck, now I’m getting nostalgic. And old.

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  • tim

    or you could listen to one of the hundred of really awesome albums out there, and maybe this stuff will go away. they are comical! but i was a big soulfly fan at one time, so who am i to talk.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Dude, I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em. If Soulfly were to put out a good record, I’d call it good. I think it’s fucking stupid to just write a band off because they’re not supposed to be good and/or cool anymore.

      Like what you like and never apologize.

  • bzzzr

    I don’t know what you guys are talking about – always like Bodom’s riffs and keyboard solos and the synergy between the two actually.

    Until I found moonsorrow :P

  • Chris

    Still think their live album – Tokyo Warhearts, was their best. And im not such a fan of the vocals and skateboarding theme in the Was it worth it music video. But thats just me.

  • Barry Neilson

    Got this today…seems good so far but haven’t really delved into it properly yet…

    However, I actually rate Follow the Reaper as their best album…. lol. Their last one, Blooddrunk, was pretty awful though

  • http://metalstate.wordpress.com/ Plantera7

    I am looking forward to hearing this album. I like their guitar work and think they have plenty of talent as a metal act. I just wish they would take themselves a bit more seriously. Sometimes I wonder if they are trying to be funny or if they are really serious. I take every band and every album and like or dislike it for what it’s worth. I wasn’t much of a fan of Blooddrunk, but I don’t hold bad-album grudges forever. That is just silly. It’s time to move on and hear what CoB is doing next. Based off some stuff I heard on YouTube, I am looking forward to hearing the latest release. Also, they are playing here in England on the 1st of April so if CoB sucks live at least I will get to see Amon Amarth and I already know hhow they are live. Thank you for the review, I will be downloading Relentless Reckless Forever tomorrow.

  • http://Metalunderground.com Daniel Becker

    How can you not like Follow the Reaper? I can understand are you dead yet and blooddrunk, but follow the reaper is amazing are you kidding?????

    • Realkman666

      Hatebreeder >>>>>> Halo of Blood >>> Follow the Reaper

      • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

        Really? I was totally unmoved by Halo of Blood. Disappoint.

        • Realkman666

          I like what they were trying to do more than the end result, but at least it doesn’t bore me. I can only listen to 3 FtR songs nowadays.

          • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

            I don’t like Follow the Reaper at all. Hatebreeder is the only CoB I return to regularly.

          • Realkman666

            Top 5 all time.

  • http://cageman.tumblr.com Cageman

    Im sure I’ll give this a listen. Would be my first CoB in my (still not very big) collection if I’d buy it. Although I once listened the song “Bed of Razors” which I really digged. Tnx for (all of) the review(s).

  • Ciaran

    In Toronto in 2004 I saw Throwdown, Children Of Bodom, Fear Factory, and Lamb Of God all in one night. I could care less what any of these bands release, they were all awesome that night.

  • Steel Druhm

    You’re not old AMG, I’M OLD!!!!

  • Zadion

    I’m surprised to see another extreme metal fan at all who doesn’t rave over CoB. Seriously, the only good thing for them they’ve ever had is Alexi Laiho’s surprising talent at the guitar. They’ve always had mediocre songwriting that is occasionally interrupted with a surprisingly catchy song.
    Just my opinion. But if this album is apparently good for them, then I’ll go ahead and give it a listen…though I didn’t much care for Hatebreeder either.

  • Kuranes

    Good review, I agree this is their best album in a while.

  • Nathan

    How can this fucker not like follow the reaper???? That albums in my top 5 of all time!!!!

  • Ben

    You’re right about the lack of neo-classical feel as with their older albums, but I came to realize that they left that behind for the right reasons. Neo-classical is somewhat unoriginal (still sounds great), but the newer COB stuff sounds unique. Alexi developed COB’s style to be what it is now. While I admire the older COB stuff for the technical skill needed to play their songs, I admire the new stuff for its uniqueness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glenn-Whitehead/100001354532075 Glenn Whitehead

    No matter how hard i try to like this band, particularly because of Laiho’s talent, i really dislike them.
    Something is always really wrong with this group.
    Song titles are stupid, song writing is weak, riffs are stale, idiom all confused…any combo of the above always seems to apply. I have bought three of their albums and don’t listen to any of them.