Children of Bodom went through a bit of a shake up during the writing and recording of their ninth album “I Worship Chaos”; this would be the first album since 2003’s “Hate Crew Deathroll” to not feature guitarist Roope Latvala, leaving the band as a four-piece with frontman Alexi Laiho handling all guitar parts on this release.
I must admit I kind of tuned out a bit with Children of Bodom during the release of their last couple of albums, especially the largely forgettable “Relentless Reckless Forever” and its follow-up “Halo of Blood”; to me they didn’t quite reach the usual high standard they set for themselves.
But as with all bands I like I’m always willing to check out new albums when they come out, and I can honestly say this is the best album that Children of Bodom have put out since “Are You Dead Yet?”. It is certainly the most streamlined.
It seems that a change in line-up has given the band something of a creative boost, as “I Worship Chaos” is completely bereft of any filler tracks at all. Of course, it helps that it’s only 10 tracks and 45 minutes long, so everything is kept at a zippy pace.
But, in keeping everything linear, it means that real thought has gone into making sure everything has maximum impact. ‘I Hurt’, ‘Suicide Bomber’ and the album’s closing track ‘Widdershins’ are all classic Children of Bodom – fully off-killer riffs that you can snap your neck to, played at a breakneck pace.
In fact, it is only when the album slows down during the middle that it reveals its best song, ‘Prayer For the Afflicted’, a slower, doomier sounding number that has echoes of Paradise Lost about it. It gives the album a moment of reflection and allows you to catch your breath. It’s a standout moment that shows Children of Bodom aren’t just a one-trick pony.
“I Worship Chaos” is a real return to form album. Children of Bodom have managed to get their head down and strip away some of the fat, and in the process have created a career-best album that shows a leaner, more focused side to them. This is an album that by rights should restore them to the high regard with which most people have held them in but the last couple of albums threatened to snatch away from them, and that is a victory in itself.