The Album Reviews:
Title: Hate Crew Deathroll
Artist: Children of Bodom
Label: Century Media
Release Date: 9/23/03
Judgment Committee Reviews Rating
Abyss 5
Death 5
Hel 5
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    Abyss's Review:
    "I really dig their sound. I don't care if it's wispy and happy sounding, it still brings my fists into the air."
    Welcome to Satanic Sushi Garden, may I take your order? Yes. I'll have the Hate Crew Deathroll.

    Sorry, that is why I shouldn't be left alone for long. Anyway, the Finnish melodic metallurgists have finnished (get it?) their fourth album. I've always been a fan of this band, and this album reinforces that fact, but I am a little troubled by it. I'm not really sure why I like this band as much as I do.

    You see, their sound is very happy and flighty, two characteristics that have ruined some great bands for me. I have trouble explaining why CoB has maintained my allegiance whereas Soilwork and In Flames lost me some time ago. They are all upbeat, dare I say cheesy, metal that trade dueling melodic leads and layered keyboards over a dual vocal attack. With Children of Bodom though, I find that while I should think it's cheesy, I just don't. In fact, I really dig their sound. I don't care if it's wispy and happy sounding, it still brings my fists into the air and lubricates the hinge in my neck.

    "This album... has such energy coursing through it that it feels like it's found a sonic way to stimulate your adrenal glands."
    In many ways I use this album as vindication, proving metal doesn't have to be brutally heavy for me to dig it. Hate Crew Deathroll, I think, is a much more successful attempt at the sound that In Flames and Soilwork were going for on their last few albums. But where those albums sounded either too forced or too fluid, this one is perfectly jelled, hitting like a battering ram. This album might be metal, but it rocks. It has such energy coursing through it that it feels like it's found a sonic way to stimulate your adrenal glands. It's like a happy aggression. A feeding frenzy.

    The keyboards still kinda irritate me. They are the one part of the album that just doesn't seem to fit. I hate the effects used on the keyboard, which remind me of Dream Theater on speed. Perhaps their guitar/keyboard duels would impress me more if the keyboards were a little more grounded and thick, but as it stands right now I just try to ignore them and center on the guitar.

    That is my only complaint, however, and even though I'd like to knock a skull off for those damn keyboards, this album is in position to make my top ten, so a perfect score it gets. One word review: Hyper.
    5 out of 5
    ABYSS  Email Abyss


    Death's Review:
    "Now we too can experience what the rest of the world already knows - that Hate Crew Deathroll smokes, one of the best albums of 2003."
    Century Media picking up C.O.B. was a great move for both the label and the band. The perfect fit. They inherit the U.S. release of Hate Crew Deathroll, an album that has been out a while in other territories. Now we too can experience what the rest of the world already knows - that Hate Crew Deathroll smokes, one of the best albums of 2003. This is in no small measure due to the incredible guitar playing talents of Alexi Laiho - his work on this latest studio release is his best yet. But the greatness of the record also is attributable to the top-notch production and the killer songwriting. This is commercial black metal combined with incisive death metal and showered in skillfull musicianship. Is the phrase "commercial black metal" troubling to you? Don't let it be. I just mean that there are blackened elements of the sound, and that it somehow maintains a mainstream underground metal scene (yes, in these strange times in the music world, there definitely is such a thing as the mainstream underground metal scene here in the U.S., just like there is such a thing as a "metal major" record label). There are European-styled shout-alongs, incredible keyboard solos and scale runs, and harsh, aggressive vocals. This record should do well commercially too. With the right video on MTV2 . . . heck, they already are scheduled to be a part of the tour to end all tours, coming to the U.S. this fall with Nevermore, Dimmu Borgir and Hypocrisy. C.O.B. can and will establish a presence in this country with the release of Hate Crew Deathroll, and they deserve every accolade they receive.

    "It's up to me to decide whether Children of Bodom get the honor of landing in our Judgment Committee perfect score hall of fame. Verdict? Fuck yeah."

    It's late on Tuesday night - hours past the Metal Judgment weekly review submission deadline, which is taken seriously. Sorry Hel and Redwolff, I suck. But before I send this off, I note that Hel and Abyss have already sent in their reviews. 5 skulls each. So it's up to me to decide whether Children of Bodom get the honor of landing in our Judgment Committee perfect score hall of fame. Verdict? Fuck yeah, this one is in. Everybody in the underground scene needs to know about this one.
    5 out of 5
    DEATH  Email Death


    Hel's Review:

    "I was eagerly looking forward to this release, and at one point I very nearly purchased it as an import, since it has been out for months on the other side of the pond."
    I've told the tale of how I became a Children of Bodom fan so many times, even I am bored of it at this point. So I won't rehash the story yet again, but advise you to take it for granted that I dearly love this Finnish juggernaut. Given that, you probably already anticipate that I was eagerly looking forward to this release, and at one point I very nearly purchased it as an import, since it has been out for months on the other side of the pond. But my procrastinating ways saved me some dough as lo and behold, it finally appeared in my mailbox.

    As I sit down to write this, I have played this CD countless times. There were several times when, instead of listening to my review assignments for that week, I listened to Hate Crew Deathroll instead. Despite the silly album title, the music inside is pure Children of Bodom. Brace yourself kids, this record will rip your head right off your shoulders. The musicianship is stellar, as expected, and the songwriting is as catchy as ever.

    "Brace yourself kids, this record will rip your head right off your shoulders."

    Fine, so maybe I am too easy on the bands on my "favorites" list, but honestly, how do you think they got on the list to begin with? By putting out high quality records that make me want to break things. When I listen to Hate Crew Deathroll (after I finish sniggering at the dumb title), I want to romp around my apartment destroying my possessions. In my book, that counts as a really great record. Children of Bodom have done it again.
    5 out of 5
    HEL  Email Hel



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