First impressions of this album were absolute joy. This is why I became a fan of Children of Bodom (COB) and this is the COB I knew. COB has been, at least in my head, the standard for melodic death metal, and their earlier albums are a solid example of that. But lately their albums have been very heavy on the, well, heavy and death metal side of things. And that’s fine. Bands change their direction and their sound as their members grow up and mature. That’s not news to anyone. With that said, “Halo of Blood” was a sigh of relief, that, “Ahh yes,” type of thing. This is not, much to the despair of some die hard COB fans, classic COB. This is more of a throw back to their older style mixed in with their recent musical ventures. I like that. I enjoyed the incorporation of other genres into this album.
The opening song “Waste of Skin” is a great example with some amazing melodic riffs, thrash sections, and slightly black metal influences. It’s very impressive to see such a seamless mix of these genres into just one song. The title track “Halo of Blood” really took a lot of black metal influence. Blast beats, dissonant guitar riffs, and that COB touch? Years ago I would have said that COB and black metal wouldn’t have worked, but I stand completely corrected. It’s a great mix. In contrast, “All Twisted” has a very thrash feel to it, but again with that COB touch. This may not be old COB, but their ability to take bits and parts of other genres and make them their own has been impressive.
All in all, my only complaint would be that not one of the songs sticks out to me more than the others. All the songs are at a great level and the album as a whole is very well done, don’t get me wrong. But I always find it nice to have one song on an album that is just, your favorite. I could listen to this album through and through and I would not be disappointed, but there wouldn’t be any time where I would crank it up for that one song. Other than that, this is a great addition to the COB album line up and it will be something I will listening to a lot.