A fantastic retrospective of the band’s career

It’s hard to think that when Alexi Laiho and Jaska Raatikainen formed Children of Bodom, they were quite literally children at just 18 and 17 respectively.

After fifteen years, seven studio and two live albums, the Finnish five piece have released their first worldwide best-of, a collection of 18 studio tracks, two new cover songs and a DVD ‘documentary.’ Have the children grown up? Not really, but this isn’t a bad thing.

After getting over the initial “this isn’t a best of because my favourite song isn’t on it,” (where’s “If You Want Peace… Prepare for War”?), it quickly becomes clear just how great this collection is. All the most popular tracks and live staples are there, with at least one song from each album, and four from the two fan favourites Hate Crew Deathroll and Are You Dead Yet? While these albums may seem a bit dominant, there’s no denying that they are the highlight of the bands career so far, and where some of Alexi’s best solos are to be found.

Among other things Holiday at Lake Bodom is designed to convey the bands jovial attitudes to life and music, ideas which the two new covers deliver in spades. “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” and “Jessie’s Girl” are performed with the same tongue in cheek humour and musical finesse as their previous tributes. Compositions are tight and precise, and the metal interpretations are perfect tributes to the originals without sounding exactly the same. The only real drawback of the CD portion is the complete lack of order in the track list. A chronological approach would have made much more sense, allowing fans and newcomers to appreciate the evolution and refinement of Bodom’s sound over the years.

Although the DVD portion claims to be a documentary, it’s mostly twenty minutes band related drunken antics in the studio and on the road. Nevertheless it’s an amusing, and almost endearing, insight into their party driven lifestyle, just don’t expect any deeply personal revelations. As most of the footage is filmed on handycams or phones, the quality isn’t great, but it’s not unwatchable. Finally, the DVD also contains the bands new video clip for “Shovel Knockout”, a ‘live video’ of sorts that follows the band off stage, on the road, and into the next venue. It’s an interesting take on the live performance video idea, but does feel a bit thrown together.

Holiday at Lake Bodom is a fantastic retrospective of the band’s career so far. They’ve pulled a solid collection of their best work together, making it a perfect one stop shop for the Bodom initiate, and the fan who owns every album but wants an all encompassing CD for the car. Despite the subtitle, there’s no evidence of wasted youth here, and we can only hope that the next fifteen years will be just as awesome.

1. Hate Crew Deathroll
2. Shovel Knockout
3. Hate Me
4. Everytime I Die
5. Needled 24/7
6. I’m Shipping Up to Boston
7. Sixpounder
8. Warheart
9. Roundtrip to Hell and Back
10. Trashed, Lost and Strungout
11. Living Dead Beat
12. Deadnight Warrior
13. Blooddrunk
14. Follow the Reaper
15. Are You Dead Yet?
16. Silent Night, Bodom Night
17. Jessie’s Girl
18. In Your Face
19. Angels Don’t Kill
20. Downfall