For older fans of Children of Bodom, the anticipation for Blooddrunk seems to be whether it returns to their thrashier roots (before Are You Dead Yet?) or does it continue on from there?
The answer is, both actually.
The band has returned to thrashier riffs, melodic synth-guitar solos that are improved upon from anything prior and a refined pissed off growl courtesy of Alexi Laiho. The riffs are just simply razor sharp and executed with intense energy, all the while drummer Jaska Raatikainen is thunderously chasing behind Laiho and Roope Latvala. The solos fly at supersonic speed and it is mind blowing to hear Janne Wirman on the keys following suit. The strength of this disc from all musicians illustrates how tight they have become during the relentless touring behind AYDY?, not to mention the entire 15 years since forming.
Not sure if it's good or bad, but you can see American influences creeping in at times. The title track, Blooddrunk starts with heavy down tuning and a spoken word intro, both of which could be found on a disc from anyone from Lamb of God to Throwdown to Megadeth. For some reason this sticks out a little more today than it might have been in the past. One Day You Will Cry even starts off with an almost Aces High-type intro riff, showing even old NWOBHM is still influencing today's genres.
While the keyboards play a heavy part in the construction of most Finnish metal, I can't help but think it can also derail a tune. Smile Pretty for the Devil is a full on thrasher, that ends with a searing solo from Laiho. But the keys that kick in seem to take away from the rapid momentum that the guitar has built up. In other places, the keys enhance or highlight, or simply take off on their own which is all good.
While this disc is technically nothing new to CoB or Finnish metal fans, it does illustrate how lethal CoB can be when they retain their edge, something they seem to have relinquished a little on AYDY?. One disappointing aspect of this release is that it lasts only 36 minutes. I wholeheartedly agree it's better to have 36 minutes of solid tunes than say 70 minutes with fillers that you would probably get in the habit of skipping over anyways, but listening to the roll the band was on as they were writing and recording this release, it shouldn't have been too difficult to include a few more tracks that were alongside the same thrashiness caliber as what is already included.
Don't hesitate to get this release next month, you cannot be let down by adding this to your collection. CoB and In Flames are going to own Gigantour 08.