Named after an unsolved multiple homicide case that took place near their hometown of Espoo in 1960, Children of Bodom emerged onto the extreme metal scene in the mid-1990s. Best categorized as melodic death metal, Bodom’s sound is easily recognizable thanks to its heavy keyboard use, giving their songs an extremely upbeat feel. Their success is unquestionable; every studio album of theirs from Follow The Reaper onward has reached Gold certification in Finland. Impressive.
Children of Bodom have not really deviated from the aforementioned sound over the years. While some of the most recent albums have added a bit of an industrial flair, they’ve traditionally stayed true to their roots over their eight studio album career. While I’ve been rather lukewarm (putting it kindly) to much of their recent work, I can’t emphasize enough how frequently I go back through their catalog. As such, Bodom seemed like an appropriate band to focus on in this edition of The Horns Up Top 10. So let’s get into it…
“Living Dead Beat” (from Are You Dead Yet?, 2005)
While this certainly doesn’t qualify as an album I go back to all that often, there are certain tracks I’ve learned to appreciate given time to grow, quality live performances, etc. This isn’t any of that. “Living Dead Beat” is just a good time. It’ll hook you in very quickly with a stupid catchy keyboard introduction. It’s a good one to spin right before a night out—if, you know…death metal is your pump up music, too.
“Lake Bodom” (from Something Wild, 1997)
Children of Bodom’s debut album was certainly a good one. This is also one of my favorite songs to see performed live… across all bands and genres. Fortunately, they’ve made it a live fixture over the past decade. That harmonized keyboard/guitar introduction is some kind of technical, and the song as a whole is absolutely relentless. No way you can avoid banging your head on this one. Very upbeat.
“Everytime I Die” (from Follow the Reaper, 2000)
Honestly, the nine songs on Reaper could each earn a spot on most Bodom Top 10 lists. Few albums are this solid from start to finish. This is the first of a couple from this album on my list. Compared to the opening three songs on Reaper, Bodom slow things down just a bit here. Each note has added emphasis, making for a very clean technical guitar sound coupled brilliantly with the drawn out keyboard element. It’s an absolutely addicting. And then you hear that chorus…
“Transference” (from Halo of Blood, 2013)
Children of Bodom’s most recent release was a nice return to form after Relentless Reckless Forever. The first single from this album stuck early and never let go, earning a spot in my Top 10. The consistent gallop of the verse slide brilliantly into an absolutely awesome chorus thanks to one of the best guitar hooks Alexi Laiho’s written in years.
“Bodom Beach Terror” (from Hate Crew Deathroll, 2003)
Hate Crew was a very top-heavy album for me. While not as consistent as Reaper, the good tracks were really, really good. As a result, it’s the most represented album on this list. This is one of those tracks. Solid throughout, and the more symphonic feel—especially during the chorus—makes for a very powerful listen. Just a very well put together track.
“Children of Bodom” (from Hatebreeder, 1999)
Can we just a take a second to recognize the run these guys were on between 1999 and 2003? Holy hell. All three albums that came out in those four years were brilliant. Quite a stretch. Anyway, we couldn’t leave off the song named after the band. Easily one of the best songs in their library, “Bodom” is a furious display of, well, Bodom’s abilities at all levels. “Yow! Yow!”
“Needled 24/7” (from Hate Crew Deathroll, 2003)
Our second sample from Deathroll is the opening track. It certainly kicks things off with a bang, setting the stage for the rest of the album. There’s definitely more at work on this track from the keyboards and the Alexi’s interestingly half-spoken lyrics during the verses. And then, in true Bodom form, you get one of those insanely catchy choruses that have you singing along…about pain. “Death? What do y’all know about death?”
“Hate Me!” (from Follow the Reaper, 2000)
And here we have the second track off of Reaper. How creepy of an introduction is that? From there things get rather angsty-aggressive, which I think is wonderful. One of things I’ve always appreciated about Children of Bodom is the attitude they show the world, and I think this track is a great example of that. Some criticize them for their arrogance, but it works for me.
“Triple Corpse Hammerblow” (from Hate Crew Deathroll, 2003)
And here is the third and final track off of Hate Crew. Another haunting keyboard entry that eventually gives way to probably my favorite riffage of any Bodom track, matched brilliantly with a galloping, double-kick-drum rhythm. This, combined with the way the chorus quietly issues a warning to its listeners, makes for an incredibly intoxicating track. Also, the song name is amazing.
“Touch Like Angel of Death” (from Something Wild, 1999)
Well, we’ve reached our last track. Once again, I would like to go back to the band’s debut full-length. Without question my favorite song on my favorite Bodom album, “Touch Like Angel Of Death” kicks off with one of the most recognizable riffs in the genre. It’s these hauntingly clean tones that make Children of Bodom such a fixture in my musical library. If I was asked to present a song that defined exactly what it is I like about this band, this would be the one I go to every time.
The Horns Up Top 10 on Spotify
I could think of a number of ‘Honorable Mentions’ that just missed out on making this list. Like I said, when Children of Bodom are on their game, their take on melodic death metal is absolutely addicting. At this point, you shouldn’t need to take my word for it more than you already have; the selections above will more than convince you.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”