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Today we will talk about the album, which became an unexpected example of the fact that the traditional melodic-death style can sound very pleasantly and impressive even in 2019. Moreover, it would seem that the traditional and familiar musical and lyrical style of the group would get every modern listener bored, but it was not the case with this one. With the release of the singles of this album, I (for some reason immediately) had the confidence that we would get just that good old melo-death sound, which many and many fans of the genre missed. On the other hand, if some groups of listeners hoped for something completely new and super-experimental from the current band, then they would be a little disappointed. But I was not, and was more than pleased with this album.

Children of Bodom is a Finnish melodeath band, which every metal lover knows about if he was not born a week ago. It was these guys who at one time were the legislators of the genre and molders of that stylistic tradition with which melodies are always associated: these are long solos, a complete lack of clean vocals, and aggressive screaming about the most bloodthirsty themes and duplication of metal riffs in the minor third and other details, for which we all love melodic death metal. At what, as you understand, a huge number of metal groups that played melodic death metal, now ceased to exist or slightly changed their stylistic orientation in order to work more creatively and earn more (’cause why not, actually?). But, both of these options do not apply to Bodoms, and they still provide their traditional sound, while not beating the already dead horse of the genre, but actually providing content that is hardly ever boring to listen to.

As you yourself can also imagine, it is impossible to ascribe too much conceptualization to the traditional melodic death bands, including CoB and at least some creativity in the text and the presentation of the complete message in the album. On the other hand, we see here the group’s traditional stories about internal and external aggression on the various challenges of the hero of the album. Moreover, the hero of the album is traditionally ready to tear everyone and everything in order to survive, because in almost every track he suffers trials and mockeries, physical and emotional, which he meets with the desire to fight to the last breath. Is it new for the Children tracks? Not at all, as is the traditional image of the Reaper with Scythe, which wanders from one album to another. In fact, I like this brand symbol of absolutely every album of the group and it is quite an explanatory example of my favorite expression “stability is a sign of skill”, because if you can do it stably and play in a traditional and well-established style that doesn’t bother the audience, we can only be glad for the group in this regard.

And yes, the text of the album is the same and was written the same way, but it doesn’t bother me just because the text for the group has always been secondary and almost nobody focused on it until the choruses of the tracks can be shouted in a crowd of listeners and chant the appropriate sing-alongs like in the title track “Hexed”. In its form and content, the text is imbued with aggression and a desire to overcome the obstacles regardless of the severity of the consequences. It is filed with a total lack of specifics and conveys the mental and emotional torments of the hero of the album like “I am strong, I am bold, I don’t know what it means to give up, I don’t even know what is “bold”“. That is, some kind of over-creativeness is not represented here, but the atmosphere of anger and the desire to overcome any obstacle with this anger is good.

From the side of musical content, the album provides us with much more as listeners, without deviating from the framework set by the genre. We hear a moderately fast tempo, the heaviness of Drop C-tuned guitar riffs, Alexi Laiho’s signature screams (vocalist and guitarist of the band), sensible breaks, bridges and quite tolerable solos (and this is even with my rather skeptical attitude to guitar solos in modern music in general). For me, however, the singles of the album – The Road, Under Grass and Clover and Platitudes and Barren Words were the most successful in terms of sound, because this combination between guitar and synth melodies and structures layered on the rhythm-guitar parts in the albums of the band was very appealing to me. In almost every track you will hear a rather familiar style, but with an inclusion of an interesting piece of guitar that most likely will not annoy with its stereotypes in style, rather, instead, it can inspire you some nostalgic feelings from ten to twenty years ago when you first heard this band. In the music of this album, the effect of “old but gold songs” works, in which no discoveries are provided, but it gives exactly what you always loved in melodies and for which you came to concerts of melodeath groups and CoB, in particular.

It is felt very clearly that the group has not yet written out itself and is still ready to compose and play melodic death, which will appeal to the “true” fans of the genre, because it has absolutely everything that you lacked in modern melodic death metal. For me, this is 4 of 5 – I got great pleasure from listening to this album on replay several times without a trace of boredom and dullness in the sound. I really appreciate this love for the genre and passion in composition and performance, which does not reinvent the wheel, but still gives the Children’s sound organically, although I still fear that such a traditional approach to building music content may not work in the future, for an array of reasons we all understand.

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