Bodom After Midnight
Paint the Sky with Blood EP

With Bodom After Midnight, I’ll be honest in saying it’s not easy tackling the topic of one of my favorite musicians passing away… and so young at that. I will admit I had been concerned for Alexi for quite some time as a fan before this occurred. Watching behind the scenes footage of drunken shenanigans and hearing many stories made me question how long he had. When I read that he sold his shares, stake, or whatever you wish to call it in Children of Bodom last year, I thought something was afoot, but not THIS.

As someone who has struggles with alcohol dependency, especially when depressed (and I frequently am), it hits home. While many last year took up alcohol more because of the pandemic, I will admit I at first did the same. It didn’t affect my job, so I figured I was okay. After I started feeling terrible every day, not enjoying beer, but wanting to just drink it to numb my pain, I knew it was time for a change. When a large number of people were diving into alcoholism last year, I was jumping out. I wanted to enjoy the flavor of beer for once, but not drink it just to go to sleep at night and forget my sorrows. I was luckily able. Some others aren’t so fortunate. So, what I’m saying with Alexi is that it could have been me (minus the monstrous guitar shredding talent), and if you or anyone you know is in that state, get help!

All of that aside, we have the final recordings of Alexi’s Bodom After Midnight, a 3-song ep with two new songs and one Dissection cover. So, let’s talk about the music, eh?

For me, I started listening to Children of Bodom around the time Hate Crew Deathroll came out and I’ll be damned if the first track doesn’t have a similar vibe. Yeah, I hear you, most of COB’s material had a “similar vibe.” On that album, though, is where the vibe was right for me. I know some would argue the earlier recordings did it better, and to each their own (even if they’re wrong). Despite the vibe, I must admit there’s not much of a hook. Yes, there’s a great solo, but the lack of a hook like the ones found in COB’s best work makes this a good song, but unfortunately not a great one.

The second track, “Payback’s a Bitch,” does a better job in the hook department. It’s definitely not an earworm, but still solid. The interplay between the keyboards and lead guitars, unsurprisingly, carry this track well, and there’s another fantastic solo. As a fan, I’ve always enjoyed Alexi’s solos. Not only are they tuneful, but each note is audible, and of course they’re blindingly fast. Once again, though, this is a good song, not great, and I think the previous is better.

The last track is the Dissection cover, “Where Dead Angels Lie,” which was on Storm of the Light’s Bane. It’s no secret many people adore Dissection’s catalog. You can count me in as someone who considers The Somberlain and Storm of the Light’s Bane as timeless. Of course, Bodom After Midnight do the original justice here and I have no gripes.

So, at the end of this 3-song excursion, the question to be asked is, do you need this? On its own, the answer is no. However, if one is a fan and takes it as a tribute to Alexi, that answer changes, especially as there are multiple pre-order packages that are worthy of your time, money, and attention. So, it really depends on where you stand. The unfortunate news has been broken that there are no extra recordings, so unless there are some in Children of Bodom archives somewhere, this is likely the last time you’ll hear anything new with Alexi. For that purpose alone, it’s worth your time to at least give it a listen. I hope this isn’t the last time we hear it, but if it is, I’m glad to have reviewed it. Rest easy, Wild Child.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 7th, 2021


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