NAME THAT CHILDREN OF BODOM SONG!

What’s up guys! It’s about time for another “Name That Song” contest!

For this episode we’re competing with Children of Bodom, one of the top bands of my adolescence. This was an absolute blast to do and we got lucky because a LOT of deep cuts popped up. After all, you don’t want too many softballs. So if you’re a fan of the band this is a must-watch!

Of course, be sure to comment below the video with your score and see if you beat me!

And this is a good time to mention that if you haven’t yet, be sure to do the Slipknot one, the Lamb of God one, the Pantera one, the Trivium one, and….I’m sure I’m forgetting a couple but head over to my YouTube channel for the rest!

Recap of September 18th Releases

This past Friday, September 18th, was like Christmas. Dozens of the most heavily anticipated early-fall releases were unleashed onto the world. Having a set of working ears on this day was like having a fucking golden ticket. So many exciting releases from so many different corners of the industry. While I am most certainly still sorting through the ashes and gathering my senses, I would like to share the seven releases that I’ve given the most attention these past four days.

Long Live – Atreyu

Returning from a four-year hiatus, metalcore veterans Atreyu exceed any and all expectations on this superb return-to-form, effortlessly revisiting some of the best moments from their catalogue, adding quite a bit of muscle to their sound in the process. Read my initial review of the title track here, and watch my full review of the album below:

GO:OD AM – Mac Miller

Already universally hailed as his best work to date, Mac Miller comes back from a messy battle with substances with more confidence and self-assurance than ever. GO:OD AM is fun and ambitious, yet never overindulgent. With minimal contributions from guests, the spotlight never leaves Miller, and he doesn’t waste a second. Tracks like “ROS” and “Jump” are some of the best hip hop songs of 2015. Read my full review of the album here.

Pagans in Vegans – Metric

More stadium-ready, energetic, absurdly catchy electro-pop from Metric, who – along with 2009’s Fantasies and 2012’s Synthetica – have now made a trio of top-notch albums. Though my ears may be clamoring for more of the guitar-driven sounds of the band’s earlier work, it is impossible to be mad at tracks like “Cascades”, “Fortunes” and “The Shade”. Slower moments like “The Governess” add a nice contrast.

Metal Allegiance – Metal Allegiance

Along with a murderer’s row of guest appearances, “Metal Allegiance” features the core lineup of Megadeth’s David Ellefson, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, and ex-Dream Theater/current Winery Dogs drummer Mike Portnoy. Given the involvement of thrash legends like Skolnick and Ellefson, it comes as no surprise that tracks like the crushing opener “Gift of Pain” – which features Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe – pay homage to the Bay Area. The unlikely duet of Dug Pinnick of King’s X and Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta works tremendously on “Wait Until Tomorrow”. “Let Darkness Fall”, featuring Troy Sanders of Mastodon, is another highlight. The album also closes with a ripping cover of the classic Dio track “We Rock”. An incredibly fun, larger-than-life project that is loaded with first ballot heavy metal hall-of-famers. Let’s pray we get to see this live.

Abysmal – The Black Dahlia Murder

If there’s one feeling Black Dahlia fans aren’t quite familiar with, it’s disappointment. Seven albums in, and we’re still getting top shelf death metal. The dizzying technicality and manic riffage of “Re-Faced” are like an old friend stopping by and checking up on you, just making sure you’re still cool. “The Fog” contains the albums thrashiest moments, while the doomy “Stygiophobic” gives the album a welcome dose of breathing room. Ranking Abysmal in the band’s discography will take more than a few listens, but Black Dahlia continue to uphold the high death metal standards they’ve set for themselves.

Threat to Survival – Shinedown

Threat to Survival is certainly a good batch of catchy, radio-friendly rock songs, with soaring, defiant choruses and stomping grooves. What it is not, however, is the edgier, borderline-metal riff-fest that was 2012’s Amaryllis. Despite occasional misses like the sappy album closer “Misfits”, and the dull “It All Adds Up”, frontman Brent Smith’s ear for choruses remains undeniable, and Threat to Survival is highly recommended for fans of Papa Roach, Buckcherry, and Saving Abel.

I Hurt (single) – Children of Bodom

“I Hurt” is the opening track and now third single from Children of Bodom’s forthcoming I Worship Chaos album, due out October 2nd. I was not a fan of first single “Morrigan” initially (though I was probably just cranky), but the pummeling title track pulled the band back into my good graces. New single “I Hurt” features a heavy Pantera-style groove that is unorthodox for the band, yet adds a whole new layer of aggression. Elsewhere, the tune is classic Bodom, and my ears are definitely tingling in anticipation for the release of I Worship Chaos.

Children of Bodom’s “Morrigan” Single

Maybe I am hungover. Maybe a night of uninspiring small talk and watered down gin-and-tonics has left me slightly cynical. But did one of my Mount Rushmore bands just disappoint me for the first time in my life? Did I just find out Santa Claus isn’t real?

Children of Bodom have undergone major stylistic changes with nearly every release in their career, leaving impossible-to-please metal fans cranky and disillusioned every step of the way. For almost half my life, I have vigorously defended this band, because to my ears, the quality has been incredibly consistent despite the variety of styles (head over to my Youtube channel for that rant). But, alas.

This new single is so fucking uninspiring that I might have to put my guitar down and go to law school. The riffs are boring, the solo is like a 30-second flatline, and the production just neuters the guitars. If I want overly-processed distorted guitars, I’m sure I have a copy of Nickelback’s Dark Horse laying around here somewhere. But this is metal. I need amps in the face. I need that raw, primal-instinct-triggering onslaught of rage that makes our music so beautiful and so unique. This song does nothing of the sort for me. This song makes me think of spooning my hypothetical wife 20 years into our marriage. All of this aside though, “Morrigan” does have a double bass-laden chorus that heavily compensates for the rest of the track. But for me, it still falls short of redemption.

Children of Bodom’s new album I Worship Chaos comes out October 2nd. Hopefully the complete vision is simply misrepresented by “Morrigan”. Or hopefully I will have found love and will be in a better mood.