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Children of Bodom

The band Children of Bodom: Alexander, Jaska, Janne, Henkka and Alexi

Children of Bodom is a Finnish band from the small town of Espoo which is one of the precursors of the melodic death metal style.

Biography

The band was founded in 1993 by guitarist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen under the name of IneartheD. Having known each other since childhood and sharing the same interest for heavy/death metal bands such as Stone, Entombed and Obituary, they formed the original line-up of the band that would later become Children of Bodom together with bassist Samuli Miettinen. The band recorded its first demo - entitled Implosion of Heaven - on that same year.

Samuli was the main composer of the band's lyrics for the two years he took part of IneartheD, but in 1995 his family moved to the USA and there was no way for him to continue in the band. His last contribution to IneartheD were the lyirics of the songs from their second demo, Ubiguitous Absence of Remission. Alexi, who previously only composed the melodies of the songs, assumed the role of the band's lyricist.

In junior high, Alexi and Jaska got to know Henkka "Blacksmith" Seppälä, who was one year younger than them. Despite the slight age difference, they got along well and soon Hennka became the band's new bass player. From then on, Henkka also started doubling as the band's backing vocalist.

Jaska played a French horn in a local big band at the time, and one day - during rehearsal - he met Alexander Kuoppala, who was a trumpet player and also a good guitarist. When the band was about to record their second demo, Alexander was invited to join them and soon became an active member of the band.

For some time, Alexi and Jaska played and recorded the keyboard sections of IneartheD's songs separately and later mixed the keyboard track with the other instruments, but in 1996 they felt the need of adding a musician to specialize in keyboards. The person chosen for that role was Jani Pirisjoki.

With this new line-up, IneartheD recorded their third demo, named Shining. This new demo didn't impress record labels much more than the previous ones had, and no label took interest in the young Finnish band. It was a harsh time, in which - despite all of their efforts - their music got no exposure and they only managed to play at small events.

As a last resort, the band decided to record an independent album, funding all of the production costs themselves, a daring move considering that none of them had much money to begin with.

Alexi wanted to make use of the keyboards more effectively this time around, and Pirisjoki just wasn't fit for the task anymore. So he was fired from the band - albeit not in a hostile manner - and a friend of Jaska's, a talented pianist called Janne "Warman" Wirman, assumed the position of keyboard player.

Janne was the component that was missing for IneartheD to assume the style that would later characterize Children of Bodom. With him, the band successfully recorded their first album in the year of 1997 and got a professional deal from it. Their debut - Something Wild - was supposed to be released by a small Belgian label, but Sami Tenetz (from Thy Serpent) got hold of a copy of their album through the hands of Alexander shortly after IneartheD signed this contract, and sent it to Spinefarm Records' boss, who immediately got interested in signing them for a country-wide release. The later deal was much more interesting for the band, since the Belgian label was offering them close to no help, to the point where they would have to distribute and sell the album themselves.

For the band to be able to sign with Spinefarm Records, they were forced to change their name, since the contract with the Belgian label had already been signed under the name of IneartheD. The answer to that problem came as the bandmen looked for good names in their local phone book. When they stumbled upon Lake Bodom, they realised it was a name with impact; one which had an interesting story behind it. A long list of possible names involving the word Bodom was then made, and they settled with Children of Bodom.

The story of the Lake Bodom murders goes as follows: on the night of June the 4th of 1960, three teenagers were murdered while on a camping trip to the lake. There was a lone survivor, who has lived a relatively normal life afterwards. The murders have remained one of the most widely-discussed cases in Scandinavian history and remained unsolved for more than fourty years. In late 2004, Finnish police arrested the survivor, who is the main suspect of commiting the crime.

With the intention of promoting the upcoming release of Something Wild, the band opened one of the shows from the black metal band Dimmu Borgir. However, their success was such that the Nuclear Blast label approached them with a contract for an European release; the deal started in the following year.

Something Wild was officially released in November of 1997, and for promotional purposes the band recoeded a music video of the song Deadnight Warrior. The video directed by Mika Lindberg had a slim budget of €1000, but managed to convey the band's style well through the use of simple scenery, in which they play at night, in the cold.

Children of Bodom's first tour happened in February of 1998. They played together with Hypocrisy and a few other bands such as Covenant and Agathodaimon, but suffered from the absence of Janne, who was busy finishing his studies. He was replaced by Erna Siikavirta - a female pianist who is a friend of the band's and who curently plays with the teatrical band Lordi - for the duration of the tour.

Their second tour happened in September of the same year, but once more Janne was not able to play with them. Alexi's then-girlfriend Kimberly Goss (from Sinergy and ex-Dimmu Borgir and Therion) played with them this time around. The band showcased the song Towards Dead End for the first time during this tour.

In late 1999, Children of Bodom was finally able to tour with Janne on the keyboards. The success of the Downfall single and of the Hatebreeder album allowed them to make three shows in Japan with the veterans from In Flames and with Sinergy. In one of these shows, the album Tokyo Warhearts was recorded. With only two albums recorded previously, the band managed to play a technically flawless concert, seamlessly reproducing and at times improving on their songs.

For their next release, the band decided to make use of Peter Tägtgren's Abyss studio in Sweden, instead of the Finnish ASTIA studio from Anssi Kippo, in which they had recorded all of their previous releases, including the demos from IneartheD. The band wrote eight new songs for the album, and while on the studio, decided to add an extra track, which was hastly composed and whose lyrics were improvised by Alexi; that track would eventually receive the name of Kissing the Shadows. The band gave this album the name of Follow the Reaper and recording sessions took place between August and September of 2000; the album saw a worldwide release in early 2001.

With their rapidly increasing success, Children of Bodom recorded another album, and their first complete world tour began in 2003 and lasted until late 2004. This tour had many sold-out concerts and was a defining point in their career, but it was also accompanied by an unexpected annoucement: Alexander decided to quit the band for personal reasons, giving no warning and right in the middle of the tour. Alexi's bandmate from Sinergy, Roope Latvala (founding member of Stone, one of the bands which started the heavy metal movement in Finland) then replaced him as a session player, until a more permanent solution could be found. This formation was introduced in Moscow on the 16th of August.

Roope successfully finished the world tour and took part in the recording of the Trashed, Lost & Strungout single. Ever since then, he has been playing regularly with Children of Bodom and seems to have assumed a permanent position in the line-up that will record the band's upcoming album.

Children of Bodom's symbol is the Grim Reaper, and they often refer to themselves as the Hate Crew.

Current line-up

  • Alexi Laiho - Vocals, lead guitar
  • Roope Latvala - Rhythm guitar
  • Janne Viljami Wirman - Keyboards
  • Henkka Seppälä - 5-string bass
  • Jaska Raatikainen - Drums

Former members

  • Alexander Kuoppala - Rhythm guitar
  • Jani Pirisjoki - Keyboards
  • Samuli Miettinen - Bass

Discography

Albums

  • Something Wild (1997)
  • Hatebreeder (1999)
  • Tokyo Warhearts (Live CD, 1999)
  • Follow the Reaper (2001)
  • Hate Crew Deathroll (2003)

Singles

  • Implosion of Heaven (Demo, 1994)
  • Ubiquitous Absence of Remission (Demo, 1995)
  • Shining (Demo, 1996)
  • Children of Bodom (1997)
  • Downfall (1998)
  • Hate Me! (2000)
  • You're Better Off Dead! (2002)
  • Trashed, Lost & Strungout (2004)

Cover songs

  • Aces High, by Iron Maiden
  • Bed of Nails, by Alice Cooper
  • Don't Stop at the Top, by Scorpions
  • Hellion, by W.A.S.P.
  • Latomeri, by Klamydia
  • Mass Hypnosis, by Sepultura
  • No Commands, by Stone
  • Rebell Yell, by Billy Idol
  • She Is Beautiful, by Andrew W. K.
  • Shot In the Dark, by Ozzy Osbourne
  • Silent Scream, by Slayer
  • Somebody Put Something In My Drink, by Ramones
  • Waiting, by King Diamond
Despite popular belief, Children of Bodom have never covered the song The Final Countdown by Europe.

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Children of Bodom's symbol is the Grim Reaper, and they often refer to themselves as the Hate Crew. He re-recorded some old singles, and worked with The Specials for 1992's King of Kings's, which used hits from Dekker's musical heroes, including Derrick Morgan. Roope successfully finished the world tour and took part in the recording of the Trashed, Lost & Strungout single. Ever since then, he has been playing regularly with Children of Bodom and seems to have assumed a permanent position in the line-up that will record the band's upcoming album. Only a single live album was released in the late 80s, but a new version of "The Israelites" reawakened public interest in 1990, following its use in a Maxell ad. This formation was introduced in Moscow on the 16th of August. In the early 80s, as the Two Tone movement died out, he saw his fortunes dwindle, and he declared bankruptcy in 1984. Alexi's bandmate from Sinergy, Roope Latvala (founding member of Stone, one of the bands which started the heavy metal movement in Finland) then replaced him as a session player, until a more permanent solution could be found. Though Compass Point did not sell well, Dekker was still a popular live performer, and he toured with The Rumour.

This tour had many sold-out concerts and was a defining point in their career, but it was also accompanied by an unexpected annoucement: Alexander decided to quit the band for personal reasons, giving no warning and right in the middle of the tour. His next album was Compass Point, produced by Robert Palmer. With their rapidly increasing success, Children of Bodom recorded another album, and their first complete world tour began in 2003 and lasted until late 2004. His first single was "Israelites", a Top Ten Belgian hit, and was followed by "Please Don't Bend", Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" and "Book of Rules". The band gave this album the name of Follow the Reaper and recording sessions took place between August and September of 2000; the album saw a worldwide release in early 2001. He recorded an album called Black & Dekker, which featured his previous hits backed by The Rumour, Graham Parker's backing band. The band wrote eight new songs for the album, and while on the studio, decided to add an extra track, which was hastly composed and whose lyrics were improvised by Alexi; that track would eventually receive the name of Kissing the Shadows. At the end of the 1970s, Dekker signed with Stiff Records, a punk label linked with the Two-Tone movement, a fusion of punk and ska.

For their next release, the band decided to make use of Peter Tägtgren's Abyss studio in Sweden, instead of the Finnish ASTIA studio from Anssi Kippo, in which they had recorded all of their previous releases, including the demos from IneartheD. He was unable to follow its success, however, and did not chart in the UK for some time, also finding only a limited audience in Jamaica. With only two albums recorded previously, the band managed to play a technically flawless concert, seamlessly reproducing and at times improving on their songs. His first hit with the pair was 1975's "Sing a Little Song", which was a British Top Ten. In one of these shows, the album Tokyo Warhearts was recorded. Dekker continued recording, but with only limited success, until he began working with the production duo Bruce Anthony in 1974. In late 1999, Children of Bodom was finally able to tour with Janne on the keyboards. The success of the Downfall single and of the Hatebreeder album allowed them to make three shows in Japan with the veterans from In Flames and with Sinergy. Among his best known releases of this period was "You Can Get It If You Really Want", written by Jimmy Cliff, which Dekker had not wanted to record but was convinced by Leslie Kong. Kong, whose production had been an instrumental part of both Dekker's and Cliff's careers, died in 1971, and both his protegé's were lost for a period before returning to music.

The band showcased the song Towards Dead End for the first time during this tour. In the 1970s, Dekker spent most of his time touring and moved to the UK, where he continued to record. Alexi's then-girlfriend Kimberly Goss (from Sinergy and ex-Dimmu Borgir and Therion) played with them this time around. He also released "Problems" and "Pickney Gal", both of which were popular in Jamaica, but saw only limited success elsewhere. Their second tour happened in September of the same year, but once more Janne was not able to play with them. 1969 saw the release of "It Mek", which first saw only lukewarm success but was re-recorded and became a hit both in Jamaica and the UK. He was replaced by Erna Siikavirta - a female pianist who is a friend of the band's and who curently plays with the teatrical band Lordi - for the duration of the tour. That same year saw the release of "Beautiful and Dangerous", "Writing on the Wall", "Music Like Dirt", "Bongo Girl" and "Shing a Ling".

They played together with Hypocrisy and a few other bands such as Covenant and Agathodaimon, but suffered from the absence of Janne, who was busy finishing his studies. He was the first Jamaican performer to enter US markets with pure Jamaican music, though he never repeated the feat. Children of Bodom's first tour happened in February of 1998. In 1968, Dekker's "The Israelites" was released, appearing on both the US and UK charts, eventually topping the latter and peaking in the Top Ten of the former. The video directed by Mika Lindberg had a slim budget of €1000, but managed to convey the band's style well through the use of simple scenery, in which they play at night, in the cold. Many of the hits from this era came from his debut album, 007 (Shanty Town). Something Wild was officially released in November of 1997, and for promotional purposes the band recoeded a music video of the song Deadnight Warrior. His "Pretty Africa" is a long-standing favorite among his fans, and may be the earliest popular song promoting repatriation.

However, their success was such that the Nuclear Blast label approached them with a contract for an European release; the deal started in the following year. Dekker continued with songs along the same vein, such as "Rude Boy Train" and "Rudie Got Soul", as well as continuing with his previous themes of religion and morality in songs like "It's a Shame", "Wise Man", "Hey Grandma", "Unity", "It Pays", "Mother's Young Girl" and "Sabotage". With the intention of promoting the upcoming release of Something Wild, the band opened one of the shows from the black metal band Dimmu Borgir. "007 (Shanty Town)" was a Top 15 hit in the UK, and he toured the country with a posse of mods following him. In late 2004, Finnish police arrested the survivor, who is the main suspect of commiting the crime. The song established Dekker as a rude boy icon, and also became an established hero in the United Kingdom's mod scene. The murders have remained one of the most widely-discussed cases in Scandinavian history and remained unsolved for more than fourty years. Dekker's own songs did not go to the extremes of many other popular tunes, though he did introduce lyrics which resonated with the rude boys, starting with one of his best-known songs, "007 (Shanty Town)".

There was a lone survivor, who has lived a relatively normal life afterwards. In that year, however, he appeared on Derrick Morgan's "Tougher Than Tough", which helped begin a trend of popular songs glamourizing the violent rude boy culture. The story of the Lake Bodom murders goes as follows: on the night of June the 4th of 1960, three teenagers were murdered while on a camping trip to the lake. Until 1967, Dekker's songs were polite and conveyed respectable, mainstream messages. A long list of possible names involving the word Bodom was then made, and they settled with Children of Bodom. Dekker and the Howards recorded a number of hits, including "Parents", "Get Up Edina", "This Woman" and "Mount Zion". When they stumbled upon Lake Bodom, they realised it was a name with impact; one which had an interesting story behind it. Dekker then recruited four brothers, Carl, Patrick, Clive and Barry Howard, who became his backing band, known as The Four Aces.

The answer to that problem came as the bandmen looked for good names in their local phone book. The song remains well-known among ska afficionados. For the band to be able to sign with Spinefarm Records, they were forced to change their name, since the contract with the Belgian label had already been signed under the name of IneartheD. It was "King of Ska", a rowdy and jubilant song on which Dekker was backed by The Cherrypies (also known as The Maytals). The later deal was much more interesting for the band, since the Belgian label was offering them close to no help, to the point where they would have to distribute and sell the album themselves. His fourth hit, however, made him into one of the island's biggest stars. Their debut - Something Wild - was supposed to be released by a small Belgian label, but Sami Tenetz (from Thy Serpent) got hold of a copy of their album through the hands of Alexander shortly after IneartheD signed this contract, and sent it to Spinefarm Records' boss, who immediately got interested in signing them for a country-wide release. "Honour Your Father and Mother" was a hit, and was followed by "Sinners Come Home" and "Labour for Learning", as well as a name change (from Desmond Dacres to Desmond Dekker).

Janne was the component that was missing for IneartheD to assume the style that would later characterize Children of Bodom. With him, the band successfully recorded their first album in the year of 1997 and got a professional deal from it. Dekker's "Honour Your Father and Mother" was to be that song. So he was fired from the band - albeit not in a hostile manner - and a friend of Jaska's, a talented pianist called Janne "Warman" Wirman, assumed the position of keyboard player. With Morgan's suport, Dekker was signed but did not record until 1963, because Leslie Kong wanted to wait for the perfect song. Alexi wanted to make use of the keyboards more effectively this time around, and Pirisjoki just wasn't fit for the task anymore. Neither were impressed by his talents, and the young man moved on to Leslie Kong's Beverley record label, where he auditioned before Derrick Morgan, then the label's biggest star. As a last resort, the band decided to record an independent album, funding all of the production costs themselves, a daring move considering that none of them had much money to begin with. In 1961, he auditioned for Coxsone Dodd (Studio One) and Duke Reid (Treasure Isle).

It was a harsh time, in which - despite all of their efforts - their music got no exposure and they only managed to play at small events. Dekker began working as a welder, singing around his workplace while his coworkers encouraged him. This new demo didn't impress record labels much more than the previous ones had, and no label took interest in the young Finnish band. He was born in Kingston in 1941, and became an orphan as a teenager. With this new line-up, IneartheD recorded their third demo, named Shining. Before the ascent of Bob Marley, Desmond Dekker was the most well-known Jamaican musician outside of his country, and one of the most popular within it. The person chosen for that role was Jani Pirisjoki. Other hits include "007 (Shanty Town)" (1967), "It Mek" (1968), "The Israelites" and "You Can Get It If You Really Want".

For some time, Alexi and Jaska played and recorded the keyboard sections of IneartheD's songs separately and later mixed the keyboard track with the other instruments, but in 1996 they felt the need of adding a musician to specialize in keyboards. Together with his backing group, The Aces (consisting of Wilson James and Easton Barrington Howard), he had the first international Jamaican hit with "Israelites". When the band was about to record their second demo, Alexander was invited to join them and soon became an active member of the band. Desmond Dekker (born Desmond Dacres in Kingston, Jamaica on July 16, 1941) is a ska and reggae singer and songwriter. Jaska played a French horn in a local big band at the time, and one day - during rehearsal - he met Alexander Kuoppala, who was a trumpet player and also a good guitarist. From then on, Henkka also started doubling as the band's backing vocalist.

Despite the slight age difference, they got along well and soon Hennka became the band's new bass player. In junior high, Alexi and Jaska got to know Henkka "Blacksmith" Seppälä, who was one year younger than them. Alexi, who previously only composed the melodies of the songs, assumed the role of the band's lyricist. His last contribution to IneartheD were the lyirics of the songs from their second demo, Ubiguitous Absence of Remission.

Samuli was the main composer of the band's lyrics for the two years he took part of IneartheD, but in 1995 his family moved to the USA and there was no way for him to continue in the band. The band recorded its first demo - entitled Implosion of Heaven - on that same year. Having known each other since childhood and sharing the same interest for heavy/death metal bands such as Stone, Entombed and Obituary, they formed the original line-up of the band that would later become Children of Bodom together with bassist Samuli Miettinen. The band was founded in 1993 by guitarist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen under the name of IneartheD.

Children of Bodom is a Finnish band from the small town of Espoo which is one of the precursors of the melodic death metal style. Waiting, by King Diamond. Somebody Put Something In My Drink, by Ramones. Silent Scream, by Slayer.

Shot In the Dark, by Ozzy Osbourne. K. She Is Beautiful, by Andrew W. Rebell Yell, by Billy Idol.

No Commands, by Stone. Mass Hypnosis, by Sepultura. Latomeri, by Klamydia. Hellion, by W.A.S.P.

Don't Stop at the Top, by Scorpions. Bed of Nails, by Alice Cooper. Aces High, by Iron Maiden. Trashed, Lost & Strungout (2004).

You're Better Off Dead! (2002). Hate Me! (2000). Downfall (1998). Children of Bodom (1997).

Shining (Demo, 1996). Ubiquitous Absence of Remission (Demo, 1995). Implosion of Heaven (Demo, 1994). Hate Crew Deathroll (2003).

Follow the Reaper (2001). Tokyo Warhearts (Live CD, 1999). Hatebreeder (1999). Something Wild (1997).

Samuli Miettinen - Bass. Jani Pirisjoki - Keyboards. Alexander Kuoppala - Rhythm guitar. Jaska Raatikainen - Drums.

Henkka Seppälä - 5-string bass. Janne Viljami Wirman - Keyboards. Roope Latvala - Rhythm guitar. Alexi Laiho - Vocals, lead guitar.

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