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Label: Spinefarm Records

Date: December 15th, 2023

Evil minds would say: this is just the way the band wants to earn some more money… I see it as a tribute to one of the most talented musicians of his generation who left this world too early. But the legacy lives…

I have to say that when I heard the news of Alexi Laiho’s death, I was kind of aware of mortality just because we are the same age. And yes, when someone from your generation leaves this world, it makes you wonder, where have you been, what have you done…  But here, we are talking not about me, but about Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho; where he has been, what he has done…

We can say he was a Wunderkind, one of a kind. Started playing violin at the age of seven and guitar at the age of eleven makes him special. Although the world gets to know him better through COB and black metal, his influences actually have roots in heavy and power metal. As a fan of Helloween, Manowar, Judas Priest and W.A.S.P., we can just imagine that in his room in front of the mirror, as a kid, Alexi was dreaming to be a part of the band. And his dreams came true, he was not a part of one band but many more. Besides COB, my favourite was Sinergy. His first concert with COB was on Halloween 1997, in Helsinki, supporting Dimmu Borgir. He met Kimberly Goss, who said that Alexi was a beast on the guitar. The same year they formed Sinergy and five years later they were not just musical but life partners. In 2004, Laiho founded a side-project called Kylähullut. As Alexi once said, it was a joke, but the fact the band was playing punk rock, says a lot about his nature. I would say he played metal but lived punk. After receiving awards as best guitarist several times, contributing as a guest guitarist on other projects, now, a clearly established and highly ranked wild child from Espoo, western Finland city, lived his dream. But, as life can be unpredictable, at some point his life went downhill. In 2012, Alexi was hospitalized which led to European tour hiatus. In 2019, it was officially announced that COB no longer exists. Their last show was played at the Ice Hall in Helsinki, and a chapter called Children of Bodom was over. And here I shall stop. Because that is the chapter that this review should be focused on.

For the first and unfortunately the last time, COB played in my home country in 2013. You can say this or that about his personal life, alcohol abuse, behaviour, but you cannot deny, if you ever heard Alexi performing live, he was damn professional. 

“A Chapter Called Children of Bodom – The Final Show in Helsinki Ice Hall 2019” is the celebration of life of a metal visionary, innovator, one of the best guitarists and frontmans of his generation who lived in the moment and for the moment. For all those who ever had a chance to hear COB live, this album is like traveling with the time machine, and for all those who haven’t, just a reminder what they have missed.

Whatever Alexi did, as he said, he did it for the music and the love of playing. End of the fucking story. And that might be the core of this review. On this album you can clearly hear that he loved to play, he did it on extremely high professional level; of course, we can always debate about setlist because each of us have personal favourites, but overall sound is clear, not over polished, not so much interaction with audience is involved (as expected), It would be completely unfair not to mention the rest of the band too. Knowing that this will be their last show as Children of Bodom and not even thinking about Alexi’s tragic end, it was a special and extremely emotional evening. As Seppälä stated, he started crying while playing “In Your Face”. Understandable, expected and justified. 

I wrote that after their last show, the chapter called Children of Bodom was over. I would add, after Alexi’s death, one chapter in the history of metal is over. 

Before I get pathetic and emotional, I will finish this not review, but homage to Alexi and Children of Bodom with his words: “I need chaos around me to feel comfortable.” 

Wherever you are, I hope you create chaos for yourself and that you feel comfortable. Thank you for everything you have done here on Earth Mr. Wildchild.

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