Follow The Reaper
Review by Krys on March 2, 2001.
After first two enthusiastically received albums, it’s time for this band’s biggest challenge: the third album, which for many bands, fans and magazines sets the tone for the band’s future. It will either put you on the top of metal elite or you forever become another band that came, had good moment and then disappeared. So, did they pass the test? Hell yeah!
However, before I came to this conclusion I had my moments of doubt. For instance, when I heard this release for the first time it didn’t catch my attention like "Hatebreeder" did. Somehow I felt like they lost their enthusiasm. Their musical killer instinct was replaced by slower paced tracks that sounded maturer and, I’m sorry to say, at times even commercial. I guess Laiho’s warnings that the next album would have a more power-rock feel were true.
Than came the second phase. After a few spins I found that this album grew on me with every minute and I was becoming addicted to the sounds that were coming from my speakers. It got to the point that for the whole day I was hitting the repeat button because I couldn’t get enough of it. Children of Bodom changed their style and that’s why I was in the state of shock at beginning. As I said before, they slowed down their tracks and although their sound was still hard and heavy it lacked the aggression of the previous releases.
Another thing that irritated me a lot, and to some extent still does, is the role of keyboards. It seems like they made them a main component of the song. Almost all compositions have keyboard solos and in my opinion it’s just too much. Other than that, the music skills of CoB are better than ever. Guitar riffs and solos can be put in any guitar book and be looked upon as great learning material. Laiho's vocal range from black metal screams and brutal death growls to occasional gothic melody lines.
As always, excellent work by Peter Tagtgren's Abyss studio makes Children of Bodom’s "Follow The Reaper" the best sounding product from these Finland’s children. A Perfect CD layout only helps overall great release which, in my opinion, even with those few flaws I’ve described above is still well worth the money.
Bottom Line: If I never heard "Hatebreeder" before, "Follow the Reaper" would easily get the highest score, but… I have heard….
Rating: 8 out of 10