REVIEW: Bodom After Midnight – Paint The Sky With Blood EP

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Bodom After Midnight was supposed to be a striking successor to the legendary Children of Bodom. And Paint The Sky With Blood EP – an exciting new chapter for the newly formed band. Instead, it is released as a post-mortem tribute to the legendary guitarist and vocalist Alexi Laiho. So let’s take a look at what’s inside.

Paint The Sky With Blood

The title track opens with a speedy guitar intro accompanied by a rapid rhythm section. Alexi’s vicious scream pierces the music like a swift arrow cuts the air. And right from this intro it becomes apparent that Bodom After Midnight was in no way supposed to be lousy follow up doomed to remain in a shade of its predecessor. Alexi’s scream’s resemblance of that of Children of Bodom’s Are You Dead Yet might make it even more bittersweet for some of the longtime COB fans.

The main verse is extremely guitar-driven. Despite the vocal line maturing as it develops, it is the guitar parts which take the lead and build the main rhythmical melody. Yet the roles reverse in the catchy and melodic chorus, with the vocals uniting in synergy with the two guitars and leading them in this musical mayhem. The backing vocal scream «Fight, fight» would have been a great shout along on any Bodom After Midnight live shows, which unfortunately are never set to happen.

Who also deserves praise here, especially during the chorus is Waltteri Väyrynen on drums and Mitja Toivonen on bass, who build a monolithic backbone for the song’s structure, yet are not afraid to experiment. That rhythm section undoubtedly adds to the fierceness of the song moulded by the two guitarists.

By the second verse the song grows in might, yet it is the breakdown where the tension increases most and explodes during the duelling guitar solo by Alexi Laiho and Daniel Freyberg. It is the song’s climax point which Alexi and the team were able to keep going until the very end of the track. Cause from there on it’s just pure madness.

Okay, so at this point I’m supposed to say some loud words about how Paint the Sky with Blood was supposed to be a new gate to the new musical journey, and so on and so forth. I’m not gonna though. It is a very strong song and it has already been released as a single, so if you haven’t yet make sure you check it out.

Payback’s A Bitch

Unlike the first track on the EP Payback’s A Bitch starts with no build up and bursts with energy from the first opening notes. The catchy guitar riff, which will run throughout the track in its several variations is simple yet extremely powerful and vigorous. Alexi’s voice sounds extremely strong on this one and together with speedy yet dark main musical theme unite to form an unstoppable force. The track does not only portray the variety of musical influences and styles melted in this piece, but also an impressive virtuoso musicianship of every band member and wonderful appearance of the guest keyboardist Vili Itäpelto.

And once again more than anywhere this masterful performance is eminent in the duelling guitar solo, in which the two guitarists showcase their remarkable abilities. And yet, this song is not a vitrine of technical musical mastery. It is a very well thought track full of energy and passion.

Where Dead Angels Lie

The EP’s closing track is a cover version of the 1995 song by the Swedish Melodic Black / Death Metal band Dissection. And while the band did not change neither the original song’s tempo nor the overall musical line, they still definitely added the Bodom After Midnight punch to it. I do not think there is any point to analyse the musical composition of a 26-year-old track, yet one thing is worth pointing out. Despite being written by completely different people many years before Bodom After Midnight was formed the song does not sound out of place on this EP. Alexi and the team were able to make it sound like their own without being it. And so, it is a great ending to a short, yet memorable record

Verdict

Paint the Sky with Blood EP is an extremely bittersweet record for any Children of Bodom fan. If I knew that there is a full length album coming afterwards, I’d be extremely excited. Knowing it is not, makes you sad that this fairy tale ended way too soon. It definitely makes you long for more, but all you can do at this point is go and re-listen to some of the older material produced by the guys. And so for this EP, if you don’t mind, I will not leave a usual grade, as we usually do at the end of our Review Series.

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