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Bodom After Midnight – Paint the Sky With Blood Award winner

Bodom After Midnight
Paint the Sky With Blood
by Andrew Graham at 05 May 2021, 11:33 AM

Oh, what could have been! The last year has been hard on the metal community. The veterans of the movement are starting to leave us, showing, if nothing else, the enduring power of heavy metal that it has been around for so long! In December 2020 (the year that just would not stop taking) Alexi Laiho, of CHILDREN OF BODOM fame, departed prematurely from this world. In what should have been the beginning of a new chapter for Laiho, BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT was to be the continuation of his uniquely personal musical legacy. Instead what we ended up with was his swan song – and what a glorious parting gift it is.

Title-track “Paint The Sky With Blood” makes no attempt to ease the listener in – let’s be honest, we all love Laiho’s unique brand of melodic brutality and we know exactly what to expect, just take us there already! Laiho and company do not disappoint. It’s so very tempting to get lost in a band’s name and history that we sometimes forget to appraise songs independently and in their own right. By any objective and independent measure, “Paint The Sky With Blood” is an utterly outstanding example of melodic death metal (with that signature power metal injection that contributes to Laiho’s unique sound). Not to mention his shredding, which is on top form right down to the solo – which he manages to make sound simply effortless. Truly a triumph!

“Payback’s A Bitch” opens with a crushing riff that’s so compulsively satisfying that you can’t help but stop and start the track over and over again! More crafty guitar work from Laiho really layers on the flavour, complete with another tangy and expertly crafted solo. Truly the musical world is all the poorer with him no longer in it. We close with a stunning cover of DISSECTION’S “Where Dead Angels Lie” – a real heavyweight in the (I think) underappreciated melodic black metal genre. We’ve seen some pretty bizarre (yet always entertaining) covers from Laiho over the years (who could forget BODOM’S cover of “Oops I Did It Again”) but this is such a perfect fit for them that it would demand a standing ovation.

How does one sum this up given the emotional baggage inherent to this release? As a swan song for Laiho it is perfect. As an objective piece of metal, it is perfect. As an exemplar of its type, it is perfect. Alexi could not possibly have hoped to depart on any higher a note. A moment of silence is surely due to this legendary shredder who has inspired a whole generation of metal musicians. Rest In Peace, good sir.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Paint The Sky With Blood
2. Payback’s A Bitch
3. Where Dead Angels Lie (Dissection Cover)
Alexi Laiho – Vocals and lead guitar
Daniel Freyberg – Guitars
Waltteri Väyrynen – Drums
Mitja Toivonen – Bass
Vili Itäpelto – Keyboard (live)
Record Label: Napalm Records


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Edited 01 February 2023

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