Children of Bodom have, in the past year and a half or so, released two pretty fine albums, coupling black metal aggression with a sturdy dose of All Things Neoclassical on account of Children of Bodom mastermind Alexei Laiho. The albums weren't much different; in fact it might as well have been a double CD. Nonetheless, fine albums they were.

Now it is my guess that there was some kind of contractual obligation with Spinefarm records, for that is the label that the live album "Tokyo Warhearts" is released on - the easy way out, I guess. Packaging is lavish - some would no doubt say 'over the top'. The album sounds fine, the band immaculately reproduce on the stage what they do in the studio. But does it actually add anything to the Children of Bodom catalogue? I think not. If you don't have either of their albums, this would be a nice way to start. If you're a fan or a collector, of course, you'll have to get this limited edition digibox too. But if you don't fall in either categories there is nothing mandatory about this otherwise good release.

Perhaps Mr. Laiho ought to take a vacation to a sunny country; he looks really pale on all the pictures (that's not corpse paint is it?).



Written October 1999


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