Halo of Blood trickles in delicately, before erupting into an awakening, signature pseudo-solo guitar lick. The show of instrumental knowledge is continued through the song as the riff continues to reshape and adapt new accents to keep the fan on their heels. Eloquent and held back keyboard flare interjects into the song, setting up the wild, in your face, guitar solo in the back end. This first instrumental shredder even features a quick bouncy harmonizing with the mystically synthetic sounding keyboard. The opening surge of energy pierces the nostalgic fan with hope that Children of Bodom has begun their ascent out of their deep slump. Bodom is back!
If not ready, Children of Bodom will captivate with “Transference”, consisting of epic melodic fluttering finger work. The power behind the entrancing guitar and keyboard combo is an instinctual mystery, much like the relaxing paralysis of gazing into a majestic dancing fire or endless roaring waves of white wash on a beach. Then, the song reaches up its sleeve and reveals another natural, in studio, freestyle guitar solo. Keyboards take over and really let loose in a hastily escalating show of talent, flowing perfectly with the beat.
“…Wrapped in the legs of my demise, you still cry my final goodbyes, while my demons cold laugh, at their last denies, try to move, whip it off sell my soul, jet black, so out of control, sold out, shot to hell, pay the price…”
The song explores the feelings and effects of crossing from good to evil, submerging into the joy of Hell’s minions at the apprehension of another soul and the regret within the individual.
“Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming)” immediately permeates with the force of a titanic tidal wave. The band describes the song as a “pain in the ass”, we can understand why and sympathize. The song is both chunky and melodic, dropping in many fruitful shows of natural instrumental prowess. Guitar and keyboard doing an acrobatic, balancing circus act on a tight rope known as a patron’s approval; one false step and the band is smugly tacked with a demerit. Much like Nik Wallenda, who defiantly made it across the Little Colorado River Gorge, near the Grand Canyon, Children of Bodom attains success with ease.
This talented onslaught from the Finnish metal giants continues with the thick, hammering tune “Damaged Beyond Repair”. Beautifully incorporated, is the extended use of harmonizing guitar and keyboard, both in the beginning and end of the track. However, they contain themselves, as they prepare their spotlights for the next track.
“When the damage is done and the words have been spoken, I’m flat on the floor, left alone and broken…How did I get here? Once again, in a nightmare singing my refrain, is this my fate, was that my life, I just saw flash before my eyes, saw a lot of smiles, felt tears of joy, oh the hope, all the life for me to destroy…I’m living with things all twisted, breathing in life I resisted…”
“All Twisted” is a great look into one’s heart during a moment of isolation, and coming to the realization of willfully going down a negative path of life, a path sworn to avoid. The question is the end, “…all twisted was my world is that so wrong?” I assume he is thinking about the possibility of returning to “the world”. This time the song only allows abridged exhibitions of expertise, yielding a pure, face-melting heat flash of keyboard and masterful guitar execution.
Is this an album that will stand above all Children of Bodom work? No, but Halo of Blood restores faith in dormant fans, possibly inspiring new metal talent down a future path of success. A few songs I could do without and there are obviously many blatant must haves on this new release.