March 8, 2011 should be a day metal enthusiasts remember: for the release of Relentless Reckless Forever. The seventh studio album by Children of Bodom surpasses their previous work to reach new heights of metal epicness, which is no mean feat for the Finnish quintet. Alexi Laiho and Roope Latvala are a dynamic guitar duo that has been, for years, arguably one of the best in contemporary metal. Now that label should no longer be in dispute.
Simply put, this album will rock your socks off. It's a cohesive collection of songs that maintains a high level of intensity without the recycled riffs and pummeling repetition that are all too often easy for talented musicians to fall back on. And unlike previous Bodom records such as Are You Dead Yet? or Blooddrunk, Relentless Reckless Forever has no songs or sections that can be considered filler. “Not My Funeral” starts the album off with a bang, and the keyboard chorus of “Roundtrip to Hell and Back” and the main melody of “Was it Worth It” are also of particular note, but really, you can’t go wrong with any song on this album.
While Bodom's brand of melodic death metal, with its bouncy beats and heavy use of keyboards, will not appeal to everyone, this album represents that signature assault at its best. Longtime devotees will be pleased with Children of Bodom’s return to their roots—in terms of production, Relentless Reckless Forever has a sound more similar to Follow the Reaper and Hatebreeder than their recent albums—while this record should act as a gateway to fans previously on the fence. The year has only just begun, but if there is one metal album to purchase in 2011 so far, this is it. CONOR MYHRVOLD