CHILDREN OF BODOM - The Chaos Whispers Violence

May 30, 2013, 5 years ago

By Aaron Small

children of bodom feature

Halo Of Blood, the eighth studio album from Finland’s CHILDREN OF BODOM – which is scheduled for release on June 7th in Europe, June 10th in The UK, and June 11th in North America via Nuclear Blast – was recorded a little bit differently than its predecessors. The drums were done at Petrax Studios in Hollola, but the rest of the music and vocals were laid down at the band’s rehearsal room, dubbed Danger Johnny Studios, in Helsinki.

“We recorded the drums at Petrax Studios, where we recorded the whole Blooddrunk album, just to get the proper sound,” revealed Bodom vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho. “We just figured that since we had the big rehearsal pad, we built a studio in there for demos and stuff, so we might as well record the rest of the shit in there. It worked out pretty well, it was a good session and everything went smoothly.” It’s a lot more affordable that way too. “Yeah exactly, it saves you a lot of money. And you don’t have to worry about schedules, ‘cause when you book the studio you have to be done by this date. In that way, it was a lot better.”

Alexi likes to record from 6pm to 8am, perhaps the band should be called Vampires Of Bodom instead? “Yeah,” laughs the frontman. “That’s how I record my vocals though, not the guitars. The schedule just kind of flipped when (producer) Peter (Tagtgren – HYPOCRISY, PAIN) came to town. I can’t record vocals in the morning or afternoon; I just can’t get that right feeling ‘cause I’m a night person. So we ended up working the whole night, just doing vocals; I was writing lyrics in between, drink a couple of beers and try to keep the mood up. To me, it was perfect! And Peter was totally down with the schedule.”

In addition to producing Alexi’s vocals, Peter was initially supposed to produce Janne Warman’s keyboards as well, “but there was no time for that. Peter had to go to The UK to do some press shit or something like that. So we only had ten days for the vocals.” When asked, how many vocal takes were you averaging per song? Alexi replies, “It really differs man. Some of the stuff, I would actually nail it on the first take; say the whole verse or something like that. But others, certain spots maybe timing-wise or certain notes are hard to hit, so that needed a couple more takes. But I’m usually pretty fast once I get it going. It’s just that I need to take kind of a break after I’m done with a song, just to give my throat a rest.”

Peter Tagtgren is a big name in the metal community, but he’s not the only well-known figure associated with Halo Of Blood. Jeff Waters from ANNIHILATOR (pictured below with Alexi) “ended up playing a couple of solos on one of the cover songs, which is ‘Cruel Summer’ by BANANARAMA; it’ll be funny that’s for sure.” Where and when will that be released? “I’m not sure actually. It was just mixed; it was the last one. It’ll probably be a bonus track on a digipack or vinyl. Or maybe we’ll just put it out on our website. I don’t know yet, but it’ll definitely come out though.”

The deluxe edition and iTunes version of Halo Of Blood both feature a cover of ROXETTE’s ‘Sleeping In My Car’, Alexi discusses the song’s makeover. “We just dressed it up in metal. It’s a very rock n’ roll version that we made, but you can also hear that it’s Children Of Bodom doing it. We added keyboards to it, and obviously my vocals – they are what they are so they sound like COB. Just rad guitar things, and we fucked around with the arrangement a little bit; I think it’s a cool cover, one of my favourites.”

Children Of Bodom also recorded a cover song chosen by the reader s of Japanese metal magazine Burrn!. “Yeah, Burrn! magazine wanted to do a thing where the readers would vote on which cover (song) we should do for the next album. They gave us a list of like 50 different songs, there was some crazy shit in there! Some weird Japanese bands that we had never even heard of before, but LOUDNESS seemed to make sense the most I guess. ‘Crazy Night’ is a killer song anyway, and it was fun to cover too; it’s going to be on the Japanese edition.”

‘Dead Man’s Hand On You’ really stands apart from the rest of the songs on Halo Of Blood, simply because it’s tempo is so slow. “It just kind of happened. I came up with the main riff, the main theme; that was a little faster at first but then I slowed it down,” recalls Alexi. “I figured since it’s slow already, it’s got that mellow vibe to it, and Janne came up with the idea to play a grand piano on top of it. That’s how the whole thing started. We had never done anything like that before; it was definitely a challenge to make it sound like us and make it sound dark. When you play a song that slow, it’s really easy to sound like a god damn moron! It’s really easy to fuck up; you know what I’m saying. Especially for a band like Children Of Bodom, who obviously play fast stuff all the time; but I think we pull it off pretty good. It’s definitely one of my favourite tracks on the record.”

In ‘Dead Man’s Hand On You’, a figure by the name of Mother Kali is referred to several times. “Kali is a Hindu Goddess of the Underworld. It’s like a mythology thing really. I remember way back in the day, IMPALED NAZARENE had a song about her, and I was always wondering what the fuck is the deal with this? So I looked it up, and a friend of mine showed me a lot of stuff about her. It was fascinating, so I figured I might as well write a song about her.”

Ten songs comprise Halo Of Blood, yet only six sets of lyrics are printed inside the CD booklet – and none of the tracks are instrumental. Alexi tries to explain why the words to: ‘Waste Of Skin’, ‘Bodom Blue Moon (The Second Coming)’, ‘Damaged Beyond Repair’, and ‘One Bottle And A Knee Deep’ were omitted. “I don’t know, I just thought the ones that we are going to print are the strongest lyrics, and that’s why I wanted to put them out. I always had issues with releasing the lyrics; I don’t know why. They’re going to be out there anyways. But we’ll probably put them on the website later on.”

One particularly standout lyric appears in ‘Your Days Are Numbered’, that being, “Watch the sun going down like the whore that you are.” After enjoying a good chuckle, Alexi confesses, “Well, the song is just dedicated to somebody I don’t like very much; let’s just put it that way.”

Going back to 2011’s Relentless, Reckless Forever - that was the first COB album not to feature a song with the word Bodom in the title. However, tradition has been restored on Halo Of Blood with ‘Bodom Blue Moon’. “Yes, with Relentless… I fucked it up. I mean, I just forgot. Somebody pointed that out, one of the guys said, ‘Dude, where’s the Bodom song?’ Son of a bitch! So now there’s actually two: ‘Bodom Blue Moon’ and also the last track, ‘One Bottle And A Knee Deep’. It’s a story of some dude getting fucked up at Lake Bodom, and then bad shit starts to happen. It’s like a class B horror story. So it’s back. There has to be at least one; I was so bummed out that I forgot about it, I can’t believe I did.”

An audio sample of Woody Harrelson, lifted from Oliver Stone’s 1994 film Natural Born Killers, can be heard at the beginning of ‘One Bottle And A Knee Deep’. “It’s a really cool intro. Those intros that we have on the album – or any of the albums for that matter – they don’t necessarily have anything to do with the lyrical content of the song. It’s just an intro to build up the tension before the song kicks in. If you use ‘em right, it’s a pretty powerful tool to make the beginning of the song stronger.”

‘Transference’ is the first single from Halo Of Blood; both a lyric video and proper promotional clip, that was filmed in Poland (and can be viewed below) have been issued. “We just figured ‘Transference’ was perfect for a video ‘cause it’s a short song and it’s very simple structure wise; and it’s pretty catchy as well, the chorus and stuff. Plus it really sounds like Children Of Bodom.” Alexi has been quoted as saying that ‘Transference’ gives him chills, a statement which he kindly elaborates on exclusively for “When I was doing the vocals, it was like five o’clock in the morning… and I was pretty hammered I guess. I kept listening to the song; it was looping over and over… I don’t know, I got this super evil vibe from that song; and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! I really felt something. I’m not sure if it was the alcohol speaking or the music, but right after that I went to the singing booth and nailed the vocals. It’s funny how it works sometimes.”

Not only is Halo Of Blood the album title, it’s also the name of the second song. “I told our bass player (Henkka Blacksmith) about the title and he thought it was so cool. It is a strong title and it’s a strong song, we all agreed it’s good enough to carry the whole album. That’s about it, pretty much all I got.”

Another really strong song title is ‘Waste Of Skin’ which begins the album on a really forceful note. So who exactly is a waste of skin? “In that case, that would be me sir. It’s just one of the topics. I get to vent, complete self-loathing. I’m not as crazy as I used to be. I remember back in the day, I would wake up with a fucking massive hangover and a black eye, and a fucking broken arm or something like that. That’s when you don’t exactly feel really good about yourself. But it’s a great source of inspiration, those kinds of days. I try not to break shit anymore; but shitty feelings, they’re always going to be there anyways, so I’m not worried about running out of them.” Does the nickname Wild Child not apply anymore? “I’ll leave that up to everybody else. Seriously though, I’m still the same dude; I just don’t drink as excessively. I still drink, but not as crazy as I used to ‘cause that was just fucking ridiculous, how much I was pounding booze.”

It’s rather ironic that the Halo Of Blood artwork is a winter scene, yet it’s being released in June, just as summer starts to heat up. “Right, it’s like hello from Finland motherfuckers. That’s the way we roll. But no really, it’s a funny thing. We started working on the artwork even before any of the songs were written; that was last summer. It doesn’t really matter what time of the year it is, us being from Finland, it’s always winter in our heads I guess; you understand, you’re Canadian.”

In one of the promo shots for Halo Of Blood, Alexi is wearing a MISFITS shirt, has Children Of Bodom ever considered covering a Misfits song? “Actually yeah, it’s a great idea. I think next time around we might actually do that. I’m not sure which song yet, but we’ll see. I like the ’80s stuff the best; those are the first songs that I heard when I was a kid. My sister would play The Misfits – I don’t even know what the song was called but I thought it sounded super-cool. Some of their videos are pretty rad too, cool as hell.” A lot of other bands have covered Misfits songs; undoubtedly METALLICA’s version of ‘Die Die My Darling’ is the most famous. “Yeah, we would have to make sure who has covered what, and if it’s too much of a cliché. But I’m not worried about that, we’ll just get in the studio and do it our way, have fun.”

Touring in support of Halo Of Blood begins June 7th in the band’s native Finland, with shows booked until the end of November. “Yeah, December’s off and then we hit the road again in January, maybe South America. Basically we have a year and a half planned for non-stop touring. But dude, I can’t wait. I love that shit!”

As far as which new material from Halo Of Blood will be aired live, fans can expect to hear ‘Transference’, and Alexi says, “I definitely want to play the title track. It’d be so cool to have ‘Dead Man’s Hand On You’ on the set list ‘cause it’s so different and so slow. It would give a good fucking dynamic to the whole live set. It would be a really cool song to play live if we can pull it off; it needs a lot of practice.”

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