Children of Bodom

Halo of Blood

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Depending on where you vacation, the last thing you might expect from an album by a band named after a Finnish lake made infamous by a multiple homicide and titled Halo of Blood would be for it to be fun. Strangely enough, though, that's exactly the feeling that comes through on Children of Bodom's eighth album, which finds the Finnish band returning to deliver another dose of dazzlingly technical melodic death metal. Sure, the album is filled with lots of dark moments and macabre imagery, but listening to it is a bit like watching a fighter plane demo, which is to say it's loud, thrilling, and when enjoyed properly, it's likely to result in some hearing loss. Filled with big riffs and high flying solos, Halo of Blood is an album that's hard not to headbang along to. Though Children of Bodom aren't doing much here to innovate or expand their sound, songs like "Damaged Beyond Repair" and "Bodom Blue Moon" make it pretty clear that the band is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing with guitar work that's impressively technical without feeling like an academic exercise from an instructional video. If you've already made up your mind about Children of Bodom, Halo of Blood isn't an album that's likely to sway you one way or the other. However, if you're a free agent in the market for a band that delivers some serious melodic death metal without feeling the need to take itself too seriously, Halo of Blood is an album that you should definitely check out.

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