Kissing The Shadows: Revisiting Children Of Bodom’s “Follow The Reaper”

Our next edition of our Revisited series starts with Children Of Bodom’s 2000 album, Follow The Reaper. Often considered the album that launched the burgeoning Finnish metal band into worldwide prominence, Follow The Reaper is a skillfully-crafted, musically-gifted record that both fans of flashy guitar and genuinely fun music will both love. Of course, if you like a power metal/melo-death band being influenced by black metal, this might just be the record for you, too.

While subsequent record Hate Crew Deathroll helped raise the band’s profile in North America even more, Follow The Reaper was, in a way, the prelude to the oncoming storm. Mastermind vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho brings it on pretty much every song, with blistering solos in “Hate Me” and “Kissing The Shadows” taking center stage. It’s unbelievable how talented each member of the band is, but Alexi Laiho’s guitar playing in particular is instantly recognizable, and while it’s just as distinct on Something Wild and Hatebreeder, this album is one where you can truly feel the band coming into their own as more than just a flash in the pan act.

If you can handle the harsh, black metal-influenced shrieks of Laiho on “Kissing The Shadows”, you can probably stomach the entire record as well. It can be a bit much for the typical power metal fan, but dismissing it entirely would be a mistake. There are plenty of major key melodies that, combined with some seriously flashy and dynamic fretwork, make for an accessible intro of sorts to heavier genres. That doesn’t mean Follow The Reaper isn’t heavy – it is – but what Children Of Bodom created here was timeless melodic extreme metal. A whole new genre? Possibly.