ALBUM REVIEW: Children of Bodom – A Chapter Called Children of Bodom (Final Show in Helsinki Ice Hall 2019)

On December 15, 2019, Children of Bodom played their final show in the Helsinki Ice Hall. A fitting venue for the Finnish band who had been plying their trade of Melodic Death Metal with a distinct influence of Classic Hard Rock for over twenty years.

And the release of the swansong concert A Chapter Called Children of Bodom (Final Show in Helsinki Ice Hall 2019) (Spinefarm Records) comes as an even more fitting and poignant reminder of the talents of songwriter/singer/guitarist Alexi Laiho, who would sadly pass away one year later in December 2020, aged just 41.

Live albums are always a nice reminder for fans who may have attended a particular concert or tour that the music was recorded on, however sometimes such as on this occasion, one arrives as a significant greatest hits release, which due to the above circumstances will act as a final curtain raiser to the career of a famed musician, which is also accentuated on the cover artwork.

Children of Bodom have always been a reliable band for those that like what they do, and a band who were easy enough to pass on for those who don’t.

And with that being said you do know exactly what you’re going to get with this release, and you will know whether it is for you or not without really having to dip in a toe and test the water first.

The live recording provides eighteen tracks spanning the duration of the band’s career, and with a production that I believe encapsulates the live mix pretty well.

Laiho’s wizard-like guitar shredding often takes centre stage, clearly emulating his hero Yngwie Malmsteen in many places, while you can also hear the unquestionable inspiration of Eddie Van Halen in others.

His vocals have a distinctive snarl to them which are not unlike Dave Mustaine’s at times, and the songs have a tendency to begin with engaging and intriguing intros, utilising powerful synths and flashy lead guitar hooks to entice you in, before dropping into frenetic Thrash/Speed Metal grooves with a smattering of death, punk and Symphonic Black Metal all thrown into the blender.

Of the eighteen songs provided, highlights come in the form of “In Your Face” with its infectious chugging riff, as well as crowd-pleasing renditions of “Blooddrunk,” “Bodom Beach Terror,” and “Everytime I Die,” with a synth-line that reminds me of the score to the classic 1985 vampire flick Fright Night.

The set closes with “Downfall” and a sumptuous Hard Rock riff laid down over twinkling synths, and fittingly signs off with Laiho telling the crowd, Thank you all so fucking much, that kicked ass! I love you all …

Buy the album here:


7 / 10