Children of Bodom – Hate Crew Deathroll
Finland’s premier melodic death metal group started a mini revolution within their genre in the late 1990s, drenching the movement’s trademark framework with neoclassical styled keyboards that could have graced a Stratovarius record. By the turn of the century, they had their share of imitators, but by then Bodom were moving on to bigger things. Hate Crew Deathroll is the start of this transition, retaining their signature melodic lead work and combining it with a bigger focus on riffs, allowing the five piece to break into the mainstream. The guitars are given prominence in the mix, ensuring the brooding power of “Angels Don’t Kill” and the slithering mid tempo riff on “Sixpounder” pack an almighty wallop. The faster moments hit like a ton of bricks, with the free flowing drumming of Jaska Raatikainen’s allowing the songs to move with a breathless guile, whilst Laiho continues to pepper his solos with a panache that very few have matched before or since. Hate Crew is often seen as the end of an era for Children of Bodom (if only for the fact it’s the last album to retain their classic line up), but whatever your view on their post 2003 output, there’s few who will argue that this isn’t one of melodeath’s all time greats.