Well does this follow-up to the acclaimed "Hatecrew death roll" live up to expectations? Do the famous Finnish headbangers deliver the goods yet again? Alot of people were scandalized by the departure from their neo-classical roots on their previous album, and well, this release won't win them back that's for sure. Gone are the hyper fast minute long arpeggiated leads, or the extended harmonic minor shredding, but that's a good thing I would say; as much as I loved the original COB style, it would have been repetitious and stale for them to stay in the same registry for any longer. This new album focuses much more on the many catchy and heavy riffs it features, with songs paced at a mid-tempo which accentuates the heavy metal feel, as opposed to the previous power/speed-metal tendencies. But fear not, as each song features it's share of inspired ripping guitar/synth leads and solos by virtuosos Laiho and Wirman, albeit less technical than I had expected... I guess they are getting over the need to play as fast as possible hehe. Alexi's vocals on the other hand are getting better and better with each release (thank the heavens... if it had gotten worse than on the first couple of albums, I would have given up on this band), and he actually does a good job with his new-found half-growl, half-singing style... but as ever, the lyrics and song titles are really, extremely moronic ("Punch me, I bleed" never fails to make me lol), and this is the down-side of his cleaner style of singing : we can now hear how much the lyrics are ridiculous. Ah well, makes for a few good laughs. There are some pretty cheesy bits in many of the songs in this album (which is absolutely normal comming from a finnish metal act), but some parts of this album procure a VERY satisfying headbanging experience, tracks such as "Living dead beat", "If you want peace...", "Next In Line" can be considered as truely top-notch melodic heavy metal. Oh and a special mention goes to the Britney Spears cover, which will have you keeling over from all the head banging and laughing. As for the production quality of the album, it has been very well recorded, the bass is nice and present, the drums sound great, the vocals mix is perfect, but the guitars sound a bit too transistorish, thin and trebly... but that's a nitpick, they do the job fairly well.
In conclusion I would recommend this album to all those who like melodic metal, and don't mind the occasional cheesiness. Warning to extreme metal-heads, this album is not melodic death-metal, nor is it supposed to be... it's melodic heavy finnish metal, and it's to be taken with a pinch of salt :) Enjoy.
1- Living dead beat
2- Are you dead yet?
3- If you want peace... prepare for war
4- Punch Me I Bleed
5- In Your Face
6- Next in Line
7- Bastards of Bodom
8- Trashed, Lost & Strungout
9- We're Not Gonna Fall
10- Oops I did it Again (BS cover, Japan bonus track)
11- Talk dirty to me (Poison cover, Japan bonus track)