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Are You Dead Yet?

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(80 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • I have to say that, all in all, this album will put a lot of other recent metal albums to shame. In spite of the clear changes in the total sound of the band, the whole disc seems to surpass the “national average” of metal. The music is slower as a lot of people have noticed. And it does lack some of the two guitar runs of previous albums. I have to attribute that to the guitarist change up. I don’t care how good 2 guitarists are, they have to aclimate to each other’s styles to really get into tune.

    As a CoB release, it’s only a B. As a metal disc held against all others of the last few years, its certainly A+ meterial. The bands effective use of keyboards versus and in concert with the guitars makes for a Dream Theater meets Cannibal Corpse experience. They don’t use a rediculous amount of layers and the overall sound isn’t confusing or overwhelming like many bands trying to mix guitar and keyboard solos in equal parts. As for this being a “sell out” album, I can’t agree. I can only say that the album reflects the changing enviroment of the band. Precious few bands remain the same forever. Some changes are for the better. Some are for the worse. I guess we’ll have to see what happens for CoB to really decide if this album is a turning point or simply a necessary evil of meeting contract requirements or allowing for the adjustment of old to new.

    I can’t tell you to buy this album or not. Even my friend who I share 99% of my likes and dislakes with will disagree with my tastes on something that seems to be just what he likes. I dont’ know you. Take my review and the reviews of others together with a grain of salt and remember that you’re the only one that knows what you like.

    Posted on February 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Children of Bodom’s fifth album, and their first without guitarist Alexander Kuoppala, is an attempt by the band to appeal to and increase their stateside fan base. I wish them luck, because they really do deserve it. “Are You Dead Yet?” is mainly full of fast (at times nearly blistering) guitar leads, chunky hooks, and hefty rhythms. The title track has a pounding beat, and “In Your Face” has almost machine gun riffs. And if you’re looking for a good guitar solo, there are an abundance to be found on this record. Even though the title track has an infectious, winding guitar solo, and “We’re Not Gonna Fall” has a classical-sounding solo, track three, the multi-parted “If You Want Peace…Prepare For War,” has my vote for the best guitar solo on here. But since Children of Bodom also dabble in keyboards, orchestras, and somewhat tuneful vocals, this album has a melodic edge to it, and makes the band fall under the “melodic death metal” label. In fact, the first track, “Living Dead Beat,” which has a new-wavy vibe with a keyboard solo, wouldn’t be out of place on a Depeche Mode album. Some of the tracks aren’t very remarkable (see “Punch Me I Bleed”), but all in all, if you’re burnt out on melodic metal,”Are You Dead Yet?” serves up a recipe that should most definitely rekindle your interest.

    Posted on February 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Oh, no! Faceless foreign imitators are NOT doing metal the way it’s supposed to be done. What EVER will we do? Fear not, fellow metalheads, for Children of Bodom are back, and they’re stronger and more irresistable than ever. And guess what? They brought audible keyboards this time around! I, for one, after listening to this album, couldn’t see “Are You Dead Yet?” being without the keyboard solos, some of which are just immaculate. I’m not saying that it’s anything groundbreaking, but this album is pushing the limits of its particular sub-genre. Don’t get me wrong now, it’s still heavy, very heavy indeed, but it would be tough to clasify this disc as merely thrash or melodic-death. The band’s lead vocalist/guitarist, Alexi Laiho, has a much bigger job this time around, for former lead guitarist, Alexander Kuoppala, is no longer with the band. However, as we’ve come to expect from him in the past, Alexi again delivers, helping Children of Bodom produce, yet again, a near-masterpiece. I will now highlight my favorites :

    2. Are You Dead Yet – The title track is almost bass-driven, which is a positive for me. It is also chock-full of floor-rattling howls by Alexi.
    3. If You Want Peace … Prepare For War – Can you say solos? If you can’t, this track sure can. Hell, I wouldn’t even mind if there weren’t vocals in this song.
    5. In Your Face – Yes, I know, it may seem a little forced. I thought so too when I first listen to it, but it soon became my favorite on the record.
    10. Somebody Put Something In My Drink – A remake of the Ramone’s classic, this song is a great closer for me, actually, it’d fit just right anywhere in the album. Nice guitar solo mid-way, followed by a cool modulation.

    Please, don’t let the 3 1/2 star average rating monopolize your thoughts. Just listen to this CD, and headbang until you’re reaching for that Advil. Thank you for your time.

    Posted on February 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve been listening to COB for a few years now, and like many, feel they hit their stride with Follow the Reaper. The album had a really fresh sound, and showed what a truly talented and unique ensemble COB is. HateCrew Deathroll was a really solid heavy album that was satisfying, though definetely not their best. Are You Dead Yet sees Bodom drawing more of a “modern” influence, with more hardcore elements than before.

    First and foremost, the keyboards are still there, and regardless of the rest of the band, will still leave each and every song feeling like a Bodom song. Older Bodom fans like myself will really love Bastards of Bodom, the one song on the album that feels just like the old days. The dueling keyboards and guitars thrive on the track, and will please all the old-school fans.

    Though Bodom never really had the best lyrics, some of them are just laughable here (In Your Face in particular). But at the same time, I can’t honestly say I ever listened to the band for their lyrics exactly…it was always more the music that drew me in. And while the music here is solid, it is unfulfilling at times. Alexi and the boys can and have produced better offerings.

    So I would probably have gone with the 3 star route…until I heard the last track. The Ramones cover “Somebody Put Something in My Drink” is just great. The humor of the lyrics fits in PERFECT with the band, and they made a fantastic cover that both does justice to the Ramones and also gives it a Bodom flavor. This song on its own makes the album worth at least one listen.

    Posted on February 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Hatebreeder and Follow the Reaper instantly appealed to me with their pure neo-classical styles, and lightning quick guitar and synthesizer interplay. Within weeks of first hearing these albums, I checked out Something Wild and was equally impressed by the earlier effort’s straightforwardness, coupled with the same COB speed.

    Well, reviews stated that Are You Dead Yet? would be a return to the straightforward style, and I completely agree.

    Unfortunately, this release, while good, does not match the intensity, creativity, or character of the COB classics.

    Almost completely absent are the deliciously wicked synthesizer/guitar runs which conjure memories of a death/thrash version of Beethoven rocking out the mall keyboards in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Instead we are treated, and treated I will say because this album is good, to more generic melodeath/thrash. Don’t get me wrong, the musicianship is still something to behold, and I doubt these guys will ever fail to impress in this department, but Something Wild, Hatebreeder, and Follow the Reaper had an undeniably unique Children of Bodom sound, while Are You Dead Yet? never really projects a distinguishable identity, just unparalleled instrumental ability.

    A few tracks like the slower-paced “Punch Me I Bleed” stand strong as dynamic, well-composed tracks, but even the best songs on this album will have trouble inducing the same kind of epileptic fits that result from listening to vintage Bodom.

    Still, most of these criticisms must be considered within the context of Bodom. The album, of course, is worthwhile because you will be hard-pressed to find a band playing this type of music with such proficiency. Long time fans of COB can expect to hear the standard mind-blowing solos, pile-driving drums, and incomprehensibly fast keyboard runs, but I believe most of these fans will also agree that the band does not succeed as well in creating cohesive masterpieces as it has before. I must quit now, because I feel I am being entirely too negative. This album is definitely worth your time and money. I mean, a four star score (80%) is really good, just not spectacular. And in a year of such magnificent metal, and when you are talking about a band with such a worthy catalogue, I hope most of you will consider this a review of a really good album, which simply does not measure up to its legendary predecessors.

    Posted on February 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now