I like Children of Bodom. When they release an album, I listen to it pretty much non-stop for a few weeks. When I think about taking the big step though, and using the “L” word…I start to hesitate. At the same time, it’s not that I don’t love Children of Bodom, because I do, but I don’t love them in the way I do say…Cannibal Corpse or Obituary or The Atlas Moth. Yes, this parallels the conversation one has with someone when breaking up. I love you…but as a friend. Before this turns into an After-school Special, I’ll get to the point. I love Children of Bodom because their music falls into 2 distinct categories: 80s movie music and 8-bit Nintendo game themes (this feels very Trebeky), but really well done movie (more specifically The Lost Boys or Commando) and video game themes. I’ve always felt this way about Children of Bodom, and honestly feel like kind of a dick for it…until now. I Worship Chaos offered me a sense of…justification, which I’ll get to later.
The album opens with “I Hurt” whose main melodic progressive riff has to live somewhere in the depths of Contra. If you’ve never spent countless hours of your childhood thumbing in the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, in place of having a life and possibly losing your virginity…you’ve never lived. The next song that literally pulls my face in is “Prayer For the Afflicted.” This has Lost Boys written all over it, starting with an haunting establishing keyboard intro that binds to the guitar and slowly builds to 80s doom-esque ambiance. The main melody subsides into the background as frontman Alexi Laiho sings, but immediately reappears for choruses. “Prayer For the Afflicted” is really a blueprint for Children of Bodom. The keyboard guitar fusion is literally Intervention-caliber addicting. Moving forward, the chorus of “I Worship Chaos” is nothing short of pounding.
With all this retro talk, it’s important to stop and reflect on the fact that Children of Bodom is pure, legit talented metal. Composed of extreme power metal, speed, trash and smatterings of melodic death, Children of Bodom offer a diversified 401(k) portfolio of sounds. As I sat at work the day I Worship Chaos came out, I simply clicked on the first track and listen as the worshiping of chaos unfolded, which is to say I didn’t look ahead at song titles or anything of that nature. As the 12th (bonus) track began and I heard the lyric “Revvin’ up your engine, Listen to her howlin’ roar.” I immediately thought that I had moved onto the next album in my queue, but after I stopped, checked and saw that I was still listening to Children of Bodom, I promptly headed to the men’s room, because if I hadn’t shit my pants yet I soon would. After all these years, feeling guilty that I loved Children of Bodom because they exhibited characteristics of a previous depressing decade was eating me alive…but now I can sleep. Hearing “Danger Zone” pumping through the ghastly speakers built into my coporate iMac gave my life a sense of closure. Maverick, Goose, Iceman, patterns being full, silhouetted French kissing, feeling the “need for speed”…1986 came rushing back like a bogie out of nowhere. Justification. Perhaps their next album should contain a cover of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” I don’ know, and maybe I don’t really care. Maybe I just want my wings. Now that I think of it, I read last week Val Kilmer was cast in the sequel to Top Gun. Perhaps this was just the beginning.