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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. On March 16th, however, the reunion was cancelled, with Fraser pulling out for "personal reasons.". 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. On January 31 2005 Cocteau Twins announced that they would be reforming to perform at the Coachella Festival on April 30, 2005, and later indicated that additional tour dates through the fall would be added. This formation was introduced in Moscow on the 16th of August. Elizabeth Fraser provided vocals for two songs on Massive Attack's Mezzanine in 1998, the soundtrack to the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (and the second installment: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), as well as for other, less known projects and groups, and is rumoured to be working on a solo album. 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. Raymonde has released the solo album Blame Someone Else. Guthrie released his first solo effort Imperial and continues to create music with his band Violet Indiana.

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. Guthrie and Raymonde formed the record label Bella Union, and have produced releases from new bands signed to that label. 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. The former members of Cocteau Twins have remained active musically in the years since the band's demise. 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. Finally, in 2003, 4AD followed Stars and Topsoil with re-releases of digitally remastered versions of the first six Cocteau Twins LPs. 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. In 2000, 4AD released Stars and Topsoil, a compilation of selected songs--hand-picked by the band members--released during their years with 4AD, all digitally remastered by Robin Guthrie.

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 collection is a complete record of the band's appearances on UK radio programs from 1983 to 1996, with some rare and/or unreleased material included. With only two albums recorded previously, the band managed to play a technically flawless concert, seamlessly reproducing and at times improving on their songs. In 1999, Bella Union released a double-CD compilation entitled BBC Sessions. In one of these shows, the album Tokyo Warhearts was recorded. Fans of the group weren't however, left entirely empty-handed. 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. While a number of songs were partially recorded and possibly completed, the band has stated that it will likely never be finished or released in any form.

The band showcased the song Towards Dead End for the first time during this tour. In 1997, while recording what was to have been their ninth and final LP, the trio suddenly disbanded over irreconcilable differences (mostly related to the break-up of Guthrie and Fraser). Alexi's then-girlfriend Kimberly Goss (from Sinergy and ex-Dimmu Borgir and Therion) played with them this time around. There were two singles for it, Tishbite and Violaine (both exist in two versions, with different b-sides included on each). The band, augmented by an extra guitarist and a drummer, toured extensively to support the album--their last with Mercury--and in live performances seemed to have found a cohesive freshness and power that had been lacking on their previous outing in 1993/94. A new song, "Touch Upon Touch," which debuted during the live shows and was recorded later in 1996, was the last Cocteau Twins song ever released. Their second tour happened in September of the same year, but once more Janne was not able to play with them. The record, which some hailed as a "return to form," with heavily layered guitars and voice (Fraser began once again to obscure her lyrics, though not entirely), was released in 1996 to somewhat mixed reviews. 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. As it turned out, some of the tracks on both Twinlights and Otherness were versions of songs from the band's eighth album, Milk and Kisses.

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. Both EPs were labeled 'experimental' by the press, since they were very different from the EPs the band released in the past. Children of Bodom's first tour happened in February of 1998. The former consisted of four gentle acoustic songs, recorded with only piano, acoustic guitar and voice; Otherness, by contrast, was a collaboration with Seefeel's Mark Clifford, and featured four electronic remixes of Cocteau Twins' songs. 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. 1995 saw the release of two new EPs: Twinlights and Otherness. 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 band themselves explained that Four-Calendar Café was simply a response to the turmoil that had engulfed them in the intervening years, with Guthrie entering rehab and quitting alcohol and drugs, and Fraser herself undergoing therapy (the two had been in a long-term relationship, and by this time had a young daughter, Lucy-Belle, born in 1989).

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. This, along with audibly comprehensible lyrics--something previously elusive, as Fraser tended to sing in a style that masked or otherwise obscured her lyrics--led to mixed reviews: some critics would accuse the group of selling out and producing an 'accessible album,' while others would praise the new direction as a worthy successor to Heaven or Las Vegas. 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. It was a departure from the heavily-processed, complex and layered sounds of Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas, featuring crystal-clear, minimalistic arrangements. In late 2004, Finnish police arrested the survivor, who is the main suspect of commiting the crime. The band's seventh LP, Four-Calendar Café, was released in the fall of 1993. The murders have remained one of the most widely-discussed cases in Scandinavian history and remained unsolved for more than fourty years. 4AD and Capitol released a Box Set in 1991 that compiled the band's EPs from 1982 to 1987, including a bonus disc of rare and/or previously unreleased material.

There was a lone survivor, who has lived a relatively normal life afterwards. While on their international tour supporting Heaven or Las Vegas, the group signed a new recording contract with Fontana in the UK and elsewhere, while retaining their ongoing US relationship with Capitol. 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. They parted ways with 4AD following Heaven or Las Vegas, partially because of conflicts with its founder Ivo Watts-Russell, and were close to breaking up over internal problems, due in large part to Guthrie's addiction to drugs including alcohol. A long list of possible names involving the word Bodom was then made, and they settled with Children of Bodom. However, despite the success of the record and the tours, not everything was well with the band. When they stumbled upon Lake Bodom, they realised it was a name with impact; one which had an interesting story behind it. The most commercially successful of their many recordings, the album rose to the top of the charts immediately after its release.

The answer to that problem came as the bandmen looked for good names in their local phone book. The style the group began exploring with Head Over Heels reached its peak on Heaven or Las Vegas, released in late 1990. 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. While remaining a 4AD band internationally, Cocteau Twins finally signed a major-label contract with Capitol Records in 1988 for distribution in the US, and released their fifth proper LP, Blue Bell Knoll, in October of that year. 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. To commemorate the event, the compilation The Pink Opaque (1985) was released as a way of introducing the new, broader audience to the band's back-catalog. 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. In 1985, with a major-label release still years away, 4AD signed an agreement with Relativity Records for distribution of Cocteau Twins in the US and elsewhere.

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. He returned to the group for The Moon and The Melodies (1986), which was a collaboration with Harold Budd, and was not released under the Cocteau Twins name. 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. Raymonde, who was collaborating on the second This Mortal Coil LP, did not participate in the recording of the fourth Cocteau Twins LP, Victorialand (1986), a predominantly acoustic record which featured only Guthrie and Fraser. Alexi wanted to make use of the keyboards more effectively this time around, and Pirisjoki just wasn't fit for the task anymore. These included The Spangle Maker (1984), Treasure (1984), Aikea-Guinea (1985), Tiny Dynamine and Echoes in a Shallow Bay (1985) and Love's Easy Tears (1986). 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. With Simon, the band released a series of critically acclaimed albums and EPs, exploring their new style.

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. In 1983, the band participated in 4AD's This Mortal Coil project (this spawned a cover-version of Tim Buckley's Song to the Siren performed by Guthrie and Fraser, which became a major hit), and during their work for that, they got to know Simon Raymonde (formerly a member of Drowning Craze), who joined the group later that year as a bass player. 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. Despite being very different from its predecessor, Head Over Heels was well-received by both press and fans. With this new line-up, IneartheD recorded their third demo, named Shining. This led to establishing the Cocteau Twins' signature sound: heavily effected guitars combined with Fraser's ethereal voice. The person chosen for that role was Jani Pirisjoki. Since the band's sound on its first three recordings relied heavily on Heggie's rhythmic basslines, Guthrie's minimalistic guitar and Fraser's voice, Cocteau Twins' next full-length LP, Head Over Heels, had to rely solely on the latter two.

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. Will Heggie left the group after the tour that followed the 1983 release of the band's second EP, Peppermint Pig. 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. Their debut recording, Garlands, was released by 4AD in 1982, and was an instant success, as was the subsequent Lullabies EP. 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. The name Cocteau Twins itself comes from an early (unreleased) song by Simple Minds. From then on, Henkka also started doubling as the band's backing vocalist. The band's influences at the time included The Birthday Party, Sex Pistols and Siouxsie & the Banshees.

Despite the slight age difference, they got along well and soon Hennka became the band's new bass player. At a local hotel disco club, Nash, they met Elizabeth Fraser, who eventually provided (vocals). In junior high, Alexi and Jaska got to know Henkka "Blacksmith" Seppälä, who was one year younger than them. The band was formed in 1980 by Robin Guthrie (guitar) and Will Heggie (bass), both from Grangemouth, Scotland. Alexi, who previously only composed the melodies of the songs, assumed the role of the band's lyricist. Their trademark sound of layered, ethereal guitar and indecipherable vocals inspired the 1990s shoegazing genre, which included numerous bands such as Lush, Slowdive, Pale Saints, and My Bloody Valentine. His last contribution to IneartheD were the lyirics of the songs from their second demo, Ubiguitous Absence of Remission. Cocteau Twins were an influential and prolific British band formed in 1980, their music becoming nearly synonymous with their record label 4AD.

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. Stars and Topsoil (2002). The band recorded its first demo - entitled Implosion of Heaven - on that same year. BBC Sessions (2000). 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. Box Set (1991). The band was founded in 1993 by guitarist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen under the name of IneartheD. The Moon and The Melodies (1986) with Harold Budd.

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. The Pink Opaque (1985). Waiting, by King Diamond. Other:

    . Somebody Put Something In My Drink, by Ramones. Violaine 2 (1996). Silent Scream, by Slayer. Violaine 1 (1996).

    Shot In the Dark, by Ozzy Osbourne. Tishbite 2 (1996). K. Tishbite 1 (1996). She Is Beautiful, by Andrew W. Bluebeard (1994). Rebell Yell, by Billy Idol. Snow (1993).

    No Commands, by Stone. Evangeline (1993). Mass Hypnosis, by Sepultura. Heaven or Las Vegas (1990, Promotional only). Latomeri, by Klamydia. Iceblink Luck (1990). Hellion, by W.A.S.P. Singles:

      .

      Don't Stop at the Top, by Scorpions. Otherness (1995, with Mark Clifford of Seefeel). Bed of Nails, by Alice Cooper. Twinlights (1995). Aces High, by Iron Maiden. Love's Easy Tears (1986). Trashed, Lost & Strungout (2004). Echoes in a Shallow Bay (1985).

      You're Better Off Dead! (2002). Tiny Dynamine (1985). Hate Me! (2000). Aikea-Guinea (1985). Downfall (1998). The Spangle Maker (1984). Children of Bodom (1997). Sunburst and Snowblind (1985).

      Shining (Demo, 1996). Peppermint Pig (1983). Ubiquitous Absence of Remission (Demo, 1995). Lullabies (1982). Implosion of Heaven (Demo, 1994). EPs:

        . Hate Crew Deathroll (2003). Milk and Kisses (1996).

        Follow the Reaper (2001). Four Calendar Café (1993). Tokyo Warhearts (Live CD, 1999). Heaven or Las Vegas (1990). Hatebreeder (1999). Blue Bell Knoll (1988). Something Wild (1997). Victorialand (1986).

        Samuli Miettinen - Bass. Treasure (1984). Jani Pirisjoki - Keyboards. Head Over Heels (1983). Alexander Kuoppala - Rhythm guitar. Garlands (1982). Jaska Raatikainen - Drums. Albums:

          .

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

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