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Classic Album Reviews: Children of Bodom | Follow the Reaper / HammerFall | Renegade

If you like a little melody with your metal, you could do worse than these bands.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Melodic metal is a tough cocktail to mix. Make it too weak and you come off sucky to the headbangers; too strong and you get stuck in the thrash ghetto. These two Euro-metal acts know how to combine the flavours into a tasty concoction.

Finland’s Children of Bodom — named for the site of a Scandinavian killing spree — have all the double-bass drum frenzy and razor-blade vocals they need to keep the leather ’n’ studs crowd happy, with just enough proggy keyboards, harmonized solos and intricate musicality to appeal to people without knuckle tattoos. Swedish quintet HammerFall, meanwhile, come at it from the opposite direction. Singer Joacim Cans has the sort of tight-trousered nasal scream that would fit right in with a Journey or Rush tribute band, while the band keeps its head down as it, yes, hammers away at track after track of plodding, midtempo arena-metal. I’d have to give the edge to the Bodom boys, if only because any band that earnestly sings lyrics like, “You are the wind beneath my wings,” as HammerFall do, can hardly claim to be renegades. Still, if you’d like to taste a little melody with your metal, you could do worse than either one.