Album: This Road/ Under Grass and Clover
Artist: Children of Bodom
Sub-Genres: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Non-Airable Tracks: n/a
Release Date: February 1st, 2019
Children of Bodom have been a band since 1993 and have always straddled the line between melodic death metal, power metal, and neoclassical ambitions. It should be stated that this is what I’ve read and that this single is my first time listening to the band.
The melodies are easily the best part of This Road. Melodies from the guitar sound like they are straight out of 80s thrash solo outtakes and the rhythm guitar is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Outside of the guitar, things start to reveal their flaws. The singing is hallway between a guttural growl and a clean baritone and is done in a way where they clearly wanted the lyrics to be understandable while being as heavy as they can. While it might be a nice balance between the two style, it comes across more like an indecisive artistic choice. The drums pound their way through the song as blazing speeds but there is nothing that catches my ear and the bass playing, while low in the mix, sounds like it sticks to linear melodies throughout (either one note up or one down). Really, what this songs is is pop music for metalheads. Nothing is too striking or original here and, for an experienced listener, nothing is particularly challenging or stimulating.
The second single, Under Grass and Clover, wears the power metal tag more prominently. There are more synths here than on This Road as well but that alone is not enough to save the song from the same pitfalls.
Melodic death metal is not a genre that I have found a wide variety in and these two singles sit comfortably in their styles. If you are a fan of melodeath, check it out. If you are unsure or unfamiliar with the genre, listen to the early stuff first (Carcass, Cenotaph, Edge of Sanity). If melodic death metal has never done anything for you, it is safe to avoid this one and save some time.
Sounds Like: Carcass
Recommended tracks for radio play: All of them
Reviewer: Bryan Burnett
Review Date: February 27th, 2019
**note** there is no cover art available