CHILDREN OF BODOM — Follow the Reaper

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CHILDREN OF BODOM - Follow the Reaper cover
3.56 | 37 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2000

Tracklist

1. Follow the Reaper (3:47)
2. Bodom After Midnight (3:43)
3. Children of Decadence (5:34)
4. Everytime I Die (4:03)
5. Mask of Sanity (3:58)
6. Taste of My Scythe (3:58)
7. Hate Me! (4:44)
8. Northern Comfort (3:48)
9. Kissing the Shadows (4:32)
10. Hellion (3:02)

Total Time: 41:14

Line-up/Musicians

Janne Warman / Keyboards
Alexi Laiho / Vocals, Guitars
Alexander Kuoppala / Guitars
Henkka T. Blacksmith / Bass
Jaska Raatikainen / Drums

About this release

Spinefarm Records, October 30th, 2000

Thanks to Pekka, Vim Fuego for the updates

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CHILDREN OF BODOM FOLLOW THE REAPER reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
After two albums with producer Anssi Kippo at the helm, CHILDREN OF BODOM adopted a completely new approach for their third album FOLLOW THE REAPER after choosing Hypocrisy lead singer Peter Tägtgrten to be the next producer after touring with his band in 1998. The band headed to Sweden’s Abyss Studios where Tägtgrten steered the band in a more polished direction. Firstly the band who had already forged a unique blend of neoclassical infused power metal along with death metal and other extreme metal genera focused more on the power metal side of the equation which allowed the once subordinate keyboard runs of Janne Wirman to become an integral part of the band’s overall sound.

FOLLOW THE REAPER focused on harder driving neoclassical melodies still inspired by Mozart but less in your face and sharpened with the instruments playing more independent roles making this third album a much more focused offering in comparison to the previous two albums. Likewise Tägtgrten trained Alexi Laiho to make better use of his raspy guttural growls thus giving him a more controlled style that could span out in a greater range. The album is notorious for various mixing jobs due to the band’s dissatisfaction but the overall effect is an extremely professional sounding extreme metal album that continues the band’s stylistic approach laid out on the debut album “Something Wild.”

CHILDREN OF BODOM came of age with FOLLOW THE REAPER and not only did the album soar to the top of the Finnish charts but also found a positive reception outside of the band’s homeland. Some critics even referred to the album as black metal with the happiest keyboards ever but still uncompromisingly brutal and to be honest that does sort of sum it up. The album is relentless with wickedly brutal guitar, bass and drum performances crafting power metal melodies only infused with neoclassical shredding tradeoffs between the guitar and keyboards only much more refined than the previous offerings. Likewise the keyboard acts as a fourth instrument with independent riffing roles that craft creative counterpoints whereas on the first two albums it remained somewhat in the background for atmospheric effects with occasional soloing outbursts.

With FOLLOW THE REAPER, the band toured the world extensively and experienced a warm welcome due to the album’s extremely strong melodic hooks augmented with a power metal bombast that was contrasted by death, black and metal elements that no other band had really put together in such a way before. As well as the aforementioned changes that solidified the band’s established sound, the compositions on FOLLOW THE REAPER are simply stronger and more varied than before however the neoclassical elements had been tamped down a bit in favor of stronger power metal displays that showcased the guitar and keyboard shredding in completely new ways. To give the album a darker feel, the instruments were set down to D tuning and Laiho’s vocals seem as strong as ever.

With another cover of the Grim Reaper designed by Canadian artists Graham French, the band had also established a visual continuity much like Iron Maiden did with its Eddie album covers with this one’s primary backing color set to stark blue something unusual for metal album covers of the day. For my money, FOLLOW THE REAPER is my pick for favorite CHILDREN OF BODOM album although each album shares the same extraordinary musicianship led by the guitar wizard Alexi Laiho with strong melodic hooks and rampaging metal orotundity. Personally i just find the dynamics to be better mixed and the compositions are nearly perfect with only a few moments of tedium seeping in. When i have the hankering to get my deathened power metal fix, this album is usually the one i head to.
Warthur
As far as Children of Bodom's stuff go, it seems like many would peg either this one or Hatebreeder as their favourite. For my part, whilst I wasn't too impressed by Hatebreeder, I think Follow the Reaper has just enough of an improvement over it to win me over. It's still a melodic mashup of power metal and death metal, mind, but I think on this album Children of Bodom juggle those two extremely different styles with much more finesse, so the power metal bits don't seem to trip up the death metal parts and the death meal parts better support the power metal aspects. I'd never call it a top-tier classic, but it's entertaining enough.
Vim Fuego
Children of Bodom should in theory be a great band. Alex Laiho is an amazing guitar talent, capable of licks most guitarists would kill for. The musicians surrounding him are also some of the best in the Finnish metal scene. The band have that slightly menacing “look”, have an obsession with the Grim Reaper, and hell, the band name comes from an unsolved murder. Children Of Bodom seems to possess an aura of power, and the magnitude of expectation built for ‘Follow The Reaper’ was huge.

Then the music starts and all preconceptions are blown away. Where’s the fucking metal? The production is so slick it would smother seabirds on contact. All the vitality and bite is smothered from the music. Any rough edges have been knocked off, filed down and padded for extra safety. The effect is like being kicked in the head repeatedly by a foot wearing a pink fluffy bunny slipper.

Laiho’s solos are faultless in their execution, and are the highlight of the album. However, his riffs are not. The rhythm guitar seems to take every Gothenburg cliché going and play it to its most obvious. It quickly becomes predictable, so that you know what’s coming next even on a first listen. But then Laiho kicks in with another solo, like on “Mask Of Sanity” and the cliché Riffing 101 is forgotten briefly in a moment of metallic ecstasy. Then the moment is gone, and it’s back to the malodorous melodies.

Keyboards feature prominently on this album, which might not have been such a problem if it wasn’t for the fact of their omnipresence. Metal is, after all, a guitar based music form. The keyboards often use a soloing guitar sound, which grates on the nerves because it sounds so artificial. A prime example is the keyboard solo on “Follow The Reaper”. It is technically brilliant, matching the guitar solo in skill and sound, but is aesthetically irritating. The keyboards might well be better used more sparingly, and for atmosphere and special effects, like the “Psycho” strings at the beginning of “Hate Me!”.

The tongue in cheek song titles like “Bodom After Midnight” and “Northern Comfort” should indicate a sarcastic lyrical content, but they don’t. Lyrics aren’t always important in making good music, but these demonstrate Laiho’s poor grasp of English - “(Hang on) got to go/Preview what they oughta know/Keep your head down and fucking die”.

Heavy metal, in any form, is supposed to have at least a modicum of danger. ‘Follow The Reaper’ however, plays it safe on so many levels it may as well be labelled a pop album. The sound is clean, the playing clinical, the feel sterile, and the metal ain’t heavy.
Kingcrimsonprog
Follow The Reaper is the third full-length studio album by the unique Finnish Melodic Death Metal band Children Of Bodom. It was released in 2000, and has gone on to become something of a fan-favourite record, with many of the tracks becoming live staples.

This would be the last Bodom album before they started incorporating more Groove Metal influences into their sound. The sound here is more based in Melodic European Power Metal than on the albums which would follow.

The album is strong and consistent, with exceptional musicianship and a clear production job. It does a good job of balancing blistering guitar shredding and thundering double-kick speed with nuanced song writing, coming across as an album that is both impressive on a virtuosity level and coherent on the gut level. Choruses are memorable, guitar leads are fun and the record flows well, with no filler or out of place experimental material.

Highlights include the incredibly fun “Bodom After Midnight,” as well as “Everytime I Die” and the single “Hate Me!”

Overall; Follow The Reaper is a very strong album and one which no Children Of Bodom fan should be without.

Members reviews

aiylyn
Evolve or be left behind.,

Children of Bodom stand out in a crowd. Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho has led his band into greatness, particularly with his dazzling neo-classical guitar skills. He's definitely this reviewer's favorite electric guitarist. That said, Follow the Reaper is less "classical" than Hatebreeder, and Laiho's voice sounds slightly more processed. Although the overall style on this album is slightly different than Hatebreeder (I would describe Hatebreeder as "brutal" while Follow the Reaper is "elegant"), it is EVERY BIT AS GOOD. If you have enjoy other CoB material, do not hesitate to pick this up. If you are new to the band, I would recommend leading off with Hatebreeder.

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