Hatebreeder, the second release from Finland's Children of Bodom, is a louder, faster, and positively heavier release than the group's debut. Under normal circumstances, this type of evolution is a guaranteed upgrade for a metal band, but not all of Hatebreeder's elements are improvements on the blueprint established during Something Wild. Most noticeably, Alexi Laiho's black metal scream is more menacing and consistent, but this is a disputed topic among Scandinavian metal enthusiasts. Many listeners enjoy the music, but could do without the bloodcurdling vocal excess, while others consider it a critical element of any real metal statement. The value of so much throat splitting is subjective, but Laiho's refinement of the approach isn't. Along with the shouting, the entire sound of Hatebreeder is improved. The guitars and keyboards are massive and more frantic, and Jaska Raatikainen's drums are unreal. In the history of metal, it is difficult to recall many displays of pure speed that top Children of Bodom. The rest of the band definitely keeps up with Raatikainen's machine-gun delivery. Guitarists Laiho and Alexander Kuoppala also deserve credit for the thick-sounding rhythms and quick lead playing. As long as these activities aren't technically enhanced, the band deserves credit for the physical accomplishment.
AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson