children of bodom

Children of Bodom has always been treated as a work solely of frontman Alexi Laiho. His vocals and guitar theatrics and songwriting dominate each of the band's releases, and "Halo of Blood" is no different. But behind Laiho stands one of the most talented bands working in metal today; adaptable, versatile, heavy, melodic, anything they need to be. Hidden in the shadows of CoB stands Henkka Seppälä, bassist and generally amiable guy. In search of his story, we sat down recently as Mayhem Fest.

We discussed this last year, but the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival remains the preeminent mobile showcase of alternative music of any type. It has been so successful in six years that it has not only overshadowed the Warp Tour, but has spawned a second, smaller circuit, the Uproar Festival. Mayhem Fest is one of those special times of year when all the major and minor metal labels, from Universal and Atlantic to Century Media, Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast and including Victory and Sumerian, join forces to show off their product and give the fans the best possible experience.

I’m going out on a limb, here. “Relentless, Reckless Forever” is one of the best fifty albums ever. EVER. And I know I’m going out on a limb by saying that because I know that the other two gentlemen who write about music for this site, whose opinions I very much respect, both heartily disagree with me. But that’s the way I feel, and that was my mindset as I encountered “Halo of Blood.”

Turisas

I have long theorized that music in general works in cycles of twenty to twenty-five years, and that what's old can continually be made new again, like doctoring up that potato salad for one last go-around. To wit, in the 1990's, Pantera, Alice in Chains and the rest of grunge listed their influences as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and the classic rock of the 70's. In the 1970's, Led Zeppelin and their cohorts listed their influences as Chuck Berry, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and the blues and rock musicians of the 50's.

It actually takes several listenings of “Relentless, Reckless Forever” to appreciate everything that’s going on. That said, if the listener has the patience to get over the initial confusion of what he or she is hearing, the album’s petals will unfold into a blooming heavy metal flower.

Okay, with all the recent "best [blank] of the decade" going on, I decided it was high time I got involved. Seeing as how I can only proclaim myself to be an expert in a few things, and "best pork roast recipes of the decade" didn't seem terribly theme appropriate, I got to thinking about heavy metal, as I so often do.

Children of Bodom's covers album is both a tribute to artists the band loves, and a tongue-in-cheek mockery of artists they love to hate.

Unlike many of their Scandinavian brethren, Children of Bodom has an obvious sense of humor regarding their particular brand of black metal, and that sense shines through on "Skeletons in the Closet."

I was no mood to go to a show. It’s rare that I say that. It was a Sunday night following two hellish weeks at work, with a third on deck. I had no desire to drive the fifty miles round trip to the venue, especially for a band I’d seen before. I needed to sleep.

Still, I already had my ticket in my wallet, and I figured once I got over myself, pried my eyes off of televised football and got my ass to the club, I’d be happier for being there. So, I crammed myself into my car and away I went.