We’re not even at the halfway point of March and yet 2019 has already given us a metric Fuck-ton of kickass rock and metal. I love years like this, ones that start out strong and never seem to let up. And this one is proving to be just that, from albums by ROTTING CHRIST and OVERKILL to SOILWORK and IN FLAMES, the hits just keep on comin’. And now, here we have CHILDREN OF BODOM joining the fray with new one Hexed (out now, Nuclear Blast Records). As some of you already know, I was never a fan of this band, I’m talking for years. 2015’s I Worship Chaos really turned me around, and I played the shit out of that record. Well if it’s possible Hexed is even better! This fucker gets played at least once, if not twice daily.
The tone is set right away with opener “This Road” which comes in hot with some fiery guitar licks that pair perfectly with the keyboards, like steak with a full-bodied Bordeaux. Up next is “Under Grass and Clover,” a track that I fell in love with the minute it was released. I damn near wet myself in the break room at the day job I was that hyped up! That intro guitar/keyboard riff hit me right in the gut and I was all aboard. This is now in full contention for my SOTY (Song of the Year, you Uncultured Philistines!!), and that’s not something I pick lightly. Stay tuned to see what happens come December.
“Glass Houses” is another kick-the-door-in number, which is great because you can never have too many of those as far as I’m concerned. Meanwhile “Hecate’s Nightmare” changes things up a bit tempo-wise, and gives us all a chance to collect ourselves. It’s still heavy as balls, though, so don’t think the band is backing off here, ‘cuz clearly they’re not. A lot of my friends have been going nuts over “Kick In a Spleen” and rightfully so. If you’re looking for the song that will 100% get a circle pit going, look no further. CoB is coming to Reverb next month and to not play this tune would be criminal. “Platitudes and Barren Words” is easily one of the most melodic tracks on the record, and quite frankly it’s fucking excellent, with killer keys and guitar solos to boot.
Title track “Hexed” is an absolute rager with a chorus tailor-made to get fists in the air and heads banging like crazy, while “Relapse (The Nature of My Crime)” takes off at a gallop and also captures a more traditional, back-in-the-day vibe that many of us know and love. “Say Never Look Back” has an arena-ready feel that only proves these guys have what it takes to play 20,000 seaters here in the U.S. Then we end things with “Soon Departed” and “Knuckleduster”, and I can honestly say these two are the perfect one-two punch to close a record, especially “Knuckleduster.” Holy fuck is that one great, with a killer groove and melody, and you’ll want to come back to it again and again.
I’ve heard a lot of music from CHILDREN OF BODOM over the years, and as I said before, I usually wasn’t impressed. But lemme tell you something right now, okay? Hexed is an excellent record, and much like its predecessor had me enthralled from first note to last. That is truly the mark of a great album, when it can make you fall in love with a band you previously had no time for. Such is the power of music. So if you think this one isn’t already on my list for Top Albums of 2019, I’d advise you to think again. And I would also advise you to go pick this monster of a record up RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM