Today Malvern’s metal connoisseur, Adam, introduces us to…
Children of Bodom is one of the most musically eclectic bands in the genre of heavy metal. The lead attraction of this band is the combination of the frenzied, technical guitar solos of vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho with the sophisticatedly complex keyboard solos of keyboard player Janne Wirman. The other members of this quintet are Roope Latvala on rhythm guitar, Henkka Seppala on bass guitar, and Jaska Rattikainen on drums. The band has incorporated many different musical styles, including melodic death metal, power metal, thrash metal, black metal, and even old school neoclassical metal. They were formed in Espoo, Finland, in 1993 and have nine albums to their name as of this date. They are also one of Finland’s best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 250,000 records there alone.
Children of Bodom’s name derives from a series of violent murders that occurred in Finland during the 1960s at a location called Lake Bodom. The murders were soon to be dubbed the Lake Bodom murders. Lake Bodom is a lake by the city of Espoo, about 14 miles west of the country’s capital, Helsinki. In the early hours of June 5, 1960, four teenagers were camping on the shores of Lake Bodom. Between 4am and 6am, an unknown person or persons murdered three of them with a knife and blunt instrument, and wounded the fourth. The sole survivor, Nils Willhelm Gustaffason, led a normal life until 2004, when he became a suspect and was subsequently charged. In October 2005, a district court found Gustafsson not guilty of all charges against him. The murder victims in this case were Maili Irmeli Björklund, 15 years old, Anja Tuulikki Mäki, also 15 years old, and Seppo Antero Boisman, 18 years old.
Children of Bodom have stirred up quite a deal of controversy over their name. The band’s members maintain that their name is not meant in any way to glorify or admire the horrific acts that transpired at Lake Bodom, but is an homage and tribute to the memory of the victims who tragically lost their lives. Whether one likes their name or not, however, one thing that cannot be disputed is the band’s extraordinary talent at combining heavy, aggressive sounding rhythms and vocal patterns with intricate and melodic musical pieces.
Their most notable album is still to this day their third album, which is entitled Follow the Reaper. With classic songs such as “Hate Me,” “Bodom After Midnight,” and the highly memorable “Everytime I Die,” Children of Bodom succeed in creating a musical masterpiece with this album.
“Everytime I Die” portrays a rather dark side of the lead singer Alexi Laiho. Laiho is known to have had a difficult life growing up. He was apparently physically abused by people at his school as well as his father. He at one point developed a serious addiction to alcohol and pills, which almost cost him his life. It was suspected that he might have been trying to commit suicide when this occurred by ingesting a large concoction of pills with a bottle of Vodka. The song “Everytime I Die” seems to be a portrayal of the painful emotions Laiho felt as he was being forced to endure mistreatment and was suffering from a serious addiction to pills and alcohol. A memorable passage from the song that serves as the chorus says:
Another night, another demise
Cadaverous wind blowing cold as ice
I’ll let the wind blow out the light
Because it gets more painful every time I die
Needless to say, Laiho was saved and as a result went on to create the legendary heavy metal band Children of Bodom. The lyrics of his songs portray the despair and pain he felt throughout his life in a clear way. Since the release of Follow the Reaper, Children of Bodom has gone on to record six more albums. The band still tours and is planning on putting out another album in the near future. The metal music world can do nothing but wait in intense anticipation for this exceptionally talented metal quintet’s next release.