In the last eight or so years, Children Of Bodom that darted to international fame with their debut, 1997's "Something Wild", has gone from being "this amazing band from Finland" to a household name in the metalscene. And that, of course, is obvious given the intensity, sheer quality of their material and the flawless execution.
Formed in 1993 and hailing from the city of Espoo, Finland, this young Finnish group took their name from one of the biggest murder mysteries in the history of their home town and Finnish crime: the murders at the Lake Bodom. After starting out as a thrash-metal combo, the founding members Alexi Laiho (guitars and vocals), Jaska Raatikainen (drums), Henkka Sepp'l' (bass) and Alexander Kuoppala (guitars) soon found elements of classic heavy metal creeping into their music. After taking in keyboardist Janne Wirman to complete their line-up, they honed their combination of old school black metal, classic heavy, and death metal vocals into the sharpest instrument of its kind and headed out to a studio record a demo tape.
On "Hate Crew Deathroll", which was released in January 2003, not only did the band take their songwriting into new levels of aggressivity and heaviness but the way the songs were carried out pummeled everything they -or anyone, for that matter- had done into dust. On "Hate Crew Deathroll" Alexi Laiho spits out his lyrics with vitriolic hate, the guitars (courtesy of Alexi and Alexander Kuoppala) shred everything in their wake with razorsharp precision while the rhythmsection (the demolition duo of Henkka T. Blacksmith & Jaska W. Raatikainen) pounds away like the world is about to end. As a final coup de grac' come the keyboards of Janne Warman, making sure the path of destruction is complete with the fervour and precision of a seasoned executioner on a killing spree.
In the Summer of 2003, Alexander Kuoppala left the band and was replaced by Roope Latvala, whose stellar playing had already graced countless of Finnish metal records. Being perhaps the most widely acclaimed metal guitarist in Finland ever, Roope's flexible playing style and strange sense of harmony was a strong influence on CoB by the way of his early nineties speed metal band Stone. In 2004 the band tested their new line-up on a four-track EP and a separate DVD-EP "Trashed, Lost & Strungout" that gave a little taster of the future alongside with two great cover songs. The EP was an introduction to a new-found drive, a rougher edge, still sounding definitely and unmistakeably very CoB. After the relase of the successful mini-album, Children of Bodom barricaded themselves into studio H'stholmen, Helsinki, to record their next full-length album together with producer / mixer / engineer guru Mikko Karmila. The result was "Are You Dead Yet?", title of which is merely rhetorical: the fourth studio album from the trailblazing Finnish metal hate crew is killer stuff throughout.
Children of Bodom have come a long way since their humble beginnings, and today stand tall in the all time extreme metal hall of fame, commanding the respect and awe of both fans and colleagues alike. Children of Bodom have been hugely influential, but still, eight years down the road east and west alike, remain the leaders of the genre. "Are You Dead Yet?" is all the proof you need.