Children of Bodom – Relentless Reckless Forever

Children of Bodom

Relentless Reckless Forever

01. Not My Funeral
02. Shovel Knockout
03. Roundtrip To Hell And Back
04. Pussyfoot Miss Suicide
05. Relentless Reckless Forever
06. Ugly
07. Cry Of The Nihilist
08. Was It Worth It?
09. Northpole Throwdown

[03/08/11]
[Roadrunner]

Alright, so my review of the new Children of Bodom album, Relentless Reckless Forever—just go back to my recent review of Devildriver‘s Beast and replace all instances of the word “Devildriver” with “Children of Bodom”. The end.

But seriously, 2011 is shaping up to be the year-of-Jeff’s-favorite-bands-from-five-years-ago-all-put-out-new-albums.  Devildriver, Children of Bodom, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Chimaira, Meshuggah, plus probably a few more that I’m forgetting. If Machine Head, God Forbid, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, and Shadows Fall get albums out too (KsE and Shadows Fall won’t be, as far as I know) that would literally be like every band I listened to back then.  In a way, I’ve outgrown most of the bands I just listed (Machine Head and Meshuggah being glaring exceptions) but I still wish them the very best and will listen to anything they put out.

Unfortunately for five-years-ago-Jeff, between this album and Devildriver’s, we are now 0 for 2.

It’s not that Relentless Reckless Forever is awful, or even bad. I love CoB, and as a guitarist, I have the utmost respect and admiration for Alexi Laiho; great touch on rhythm tracks, incredible leads and solos that are filled with shred but well articulated and tasty as all hell. He is one of my all time favorite guitarists, and the fact that he handles vocals too is mindblowing. If you’ve ever attempted playing and singing at the same time, you know it can be a tricky situation. Go see CoB live and feel your jaw drop to the floor. Even if it’s not you’re favorite music, you have to respect what the WildChild does in a live setting.

You have to respect what the entire band does in a live setting, actually.  They are built for playing live; that is what they do. They put on a show, have a few drinks, don’t worry about playing everything perfectly (but usually do because they’re so good), and have fun jamming their asses off night after night.

So where are am I going this? What I’m trying to say is CoB is one of those bands who write and record albums mostly just to support their live show.  It is a necessary evil, you gotta take care of business in the studio to keep the party going on the road.  Put out a new record every year or two to keep people interested and give the band some new tunes to dig into, then go out and have fun.  I know they want their albums to consist of quality material, sound good, and capture the band’s best performances, but I don’t think Children of Bodom set out to write the most ‘ambitious’ album ever, or an ‘album of the year’, or try to “make your year-end top 10 list ” when they enter the studio. They don’t give a shit about making your top 10 list, man.  They just want to deliver what their fans want.

All of this is a very roundabout way of saying that this album is another Children of Bodom album. It does not find our heroes spreading their wings too much or taking very many risks, but it does find them kicking fucking ass as usual and delivering some solid songs. If you’re already a fan, you should enjoy it. If you already hate them, move along.  If you’re looking to start listening to CoB but never have, don’t start with this album; go with Blooddrunk, HateCrew Deathroll, or Follow The Reaper.

Academically, you can punch holes in this album left and right.  It’s decidedly less heavy, more cock-rock and almost mainstream. I could even see songs like “Was It Worth It?”, “Not My Funeral”, and “Roundtrip To Hell And Back” getting airplay on the radio. This is bad news for a guy like me, who likes them best when they are at their heaviest.

The album shows very little evolution or innovation from Children of Bodom, but I still really like it.  They are a blast live, and I will continue to be a fan. This album is a little disappointing, sure, but after a few beers when I’m feeling less picky, I’ve been jamming my balls off to it.

Children of Bodom’s Relentless, Reckless, Forever gets:

3/5

– JB

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