Children Of Bodom – Relentless Reckless Forever
I’ll admit that even with the ‘downfall’ of Children Of Bodom going from one of metal’s best kept secrets to Alexi Laiho as a Revolver Magazine pretty boy, I still always get excited for their stuff. For some reason the wait between 2008’s Blooddrunk and this week’s Relentless Reckless Forever seemed to take forever, mostly because of the shitty Skeletons In The Closet covers album that we were stuck with in between. After a few listens to this album however I am left feeling sort of empty here. It’s not a bad album if you’ve never heard Children Of Bodom or much of the genre before and want to hear a guitar showcased dose of melodic death metal. However most longtime fans will probably find it as very bland and it feels like it’s all been done before on their prior releases or by other bands.
The album opens up with ‘Not My Funeral’ which sounds remarkably like a borrowed Lamb Of God riff for the first thirty seconds before the signature Bodom keyboards prevail. The Lamb Of God chugging alternates throughout the song with Alexi’s penis showing competition on the fret board. At the three minute mark the song appears that it should be over if it weren’t for the epic guitar solo. Both ‘Shovel Knockout’ and ‘Roundtrip To Hell And Back’ take on the song structure and sound of a modern Arch Enemy song with Alexi’s vocals and solos peppered in of course. Sure, people will disagree with me and tell me that I’m entirely wrong or crazy here, but I can’t shake that association when listening to it after listening to Arch Enemy’s Rise Of The Tyrant on a steady rotation for the past few years. After the sample on ’Prettyfoot Miss Suicide’ you realize that, holy shit you are indeed listening to a Children Of Bodom album! The song is fast, catchy and undeniably Bodom. ‘Relentless Reckless Forever’ is a bit bland while it seems to be looking for the same fist pumping success of their last title track, ‘Blooddrunk’. ‘Ugly’ starts with another sample and goes for more of an extreme metal feel for the first minute and then just turns into a fairly decent song but not really memorable like trademark songs such as ‘Living Dead Beat’ and ‘Hate Me’ were. ‘Cry Of The Nihilist’ is the best song on the album. The shredding gallops along, the vocals are catchy and at times experimental by their standards and of course it’s heavy. With that said, the song ends much too quickly but doesn’t leave me scratching my head. ‘Was It Worth It?’ is heavy and catchy, mixed with a questionable guitar solo compared to the Children Of Bodom that we’re used to. The closing track is the catchy but much too short ‘Northpole Throwdown’. It’s nice and fast and finally puts the backup vocals to good use for the only time on the album. Just as soon as you’ve found something to work with here, the album is over. Unless you live in Japan that is, because there you are graced with a cover of Eddie Murphy’s ‘Party All The Time’ (seriously). Of course you can always search for it on Youtube. After three minutes you will feel the same kind of dirtiness that cannot be washed off with soap that I imagine everybody felt while listening to the original atrocity 25 years ago.
Relentless Reckless Forever comes off as uninspired and dull at times but it never comes off as objectionable or just awful either. It’s still better than an album of covers of course but it leaves me wanting them to redeem themselves with something more inspired sooner rather than in another three years. It’s also still much better than most of what the rest of the metal world has to offer as well. Like usual, the bass and the drums always seem to get lost in the mix of guitar solos and fist pumping screams here. There might very well be a brand new audience for an album as accessible as this especially with a strong retail sales push behind it. For the old school or even casual fans of Children Of Bodom however, give it a listen or two and decide for yourself if it’s a keeper. I suppose the question here is: Was it worth it? The answer is no, not really.