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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. The band has stated that they are very satisfied with this album, and that in many ways they wish it had been the follow-up to Hysteria. 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. X, Def Leppard's tenth album, was released in 2002. This formation was introduced in Moscow on the 16th of August. Next came the album Euphoria in 1999. 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. He collaborated in the songwriting for Slang, which was released in 1996.

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. Vivian Campbell had previously been in Sweet Savage, Dio, Whitesnake, Trinity, Riverdogs, and Shadow King. 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. In 1992, guitarist Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard. 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. Retroactive was followed by the release of Vault 1995, Def Leppard's Greatest Hits, which sold 3.5 million copies. 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. Some of this album's songs were written as B-sides for Hysteria singles.

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. Retroactive was released in 1993 and is a collection of songs which, although not new, were either rare or never previously released. With only two albums recorded previously, the band managed to play a technically flawless concert, seamlessly reproducing and at times improving on their songs. It was also nominated for Best Video of the Year at the 1992 9th MTV Video Music Awards. However, it did not have the longevity of their previous albums, and in retrospect many fans consider it one of their weakest albums. In one of these shows, the album Tokyo Warhearts was recorded. It remained there for five weeks, selling six million copies, and the first single, "Let's Get Rocked," was on MTV's video countdown for a long time. 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. The album entered the US charts at number 1.

The band showcased the song Towards Dead End for the first time during this tour. Adrenalize was finally released in 1992, the only album recorded by Leppard as a four-piece (Elliott, Collen, Savage, and Allen). Alexi's then-girlfriend Kimberly Goss (from Sinergy and ex-Dimmu Borgir and Therion) played with them this time around. After Hysteria 's release, internal problems (including the death of guitarist Steve Clark from a drug and alcohol overdose on January 8, 1991) resulted in a long delay before the follow-up. Their second tour happened in September of the same year, but once more Janne was not able to play with them. Much of Leppard's success in the 1980s is credited to their producer, Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, who was considered by the band to be its sixth member. 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. The seventh and last single to be released from this album was Rocket in early 1989 (see 1989 in music).

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. The album included a total of six Top 20 singles. Children of Bodom's first tour happened in February of 1998. Album sales were slow until the fourth single, "Pour Some Sugar On Me", became a hit. 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. The first released single, Women, was not very successful. Something Wild was officially released in November of 1997, and for promotional purposes the band recoeded a music video of the song Deadnight Warrior. Leppard's next album, Hysteria, (yet again produced by Lange), was released in 1987 (see 1987 in music).

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. He then worked with Simmons to design a custom electronic drum kit. 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. He practiced drumming with pillows, and realized that he could use his legs to do some of the percussive work previously done with his arms. In late 2004, Finnish police arrested the survivor, who is the main suspect of commiting the crime. While recovering in the hospital from his accident, Rick was committed to continuing his role as Def Leppard's drummer. The murders have remained one of the most widely-discussed cases in Scandinavian history and remained unsolved for more than fourty years. The period after the album's success, however, was difficult: on December 31, 1984, Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car crash in which his Corvette veered off the road into a concrete wall.

There was a lone survivor, who has lived a relatively normal life afterwards. Aided by the singles "Photograph", "Rock of Ages", and "Foolin'", Pyromania sold six million copies in 1983 & 84. 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. Lange was again the producer. A long list of possible names involving the word Bodom was then made, and they settled with Children of Bodom. This personnel change took place during the recording of their next release, Pyromania (January 20, 1983). When they stumbled upon Lake Bodom, they realised it was a name with impact; one which had an interesting story behind it. Pete Willis later recorded with the bands Gogmagog and Roadhouse.

The answer to that problem came as the bandmen looked for good names in their local phone book. Phil Collen, former guitarist from the band Girl, replaced Pete Willis who was fired on July 11, 1982 due to alcoholism. 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. From it, "Bringin' on the Heartbreak"'s video was one of the first "metal" videos played on MTV video. 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. High 'N' Dry (1981 in music) was their first album to be produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. 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. Their major label debut was On through the Night (1980 in music).

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. They signed to Mercury Records. 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. Rick Allen was added as the permanent drummer, to replace Kenning. Alexi wanted to make use of the keyboards more effectively this time around, and Pirisjoki just wasn't fit for the task anymore. They began playing locally and soon added Steve Clark before recording the underground hit "Getcha Rocks Off" for Bludgeon Riffola, their own label. 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. Elliott had thought of the name Deaf Leopard in school and the band changed the name to Def Leppard based on the way Led Zeppelin spelled their name.

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. Rick Savage (bass), Pete Willis (guitars) and Tony Kenning (drums) formed the band in 1977 in Sheffield (see 1977 in music). Joe Elliott joined as the vocalist, and brought the name of the band with him, originally they were called Atomic Mass. 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. Def Leppard are a band from Sheffield, England, that emerged in the late 1970s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. With this new line-up, IneartheD recorded their third demo, named Shining. 2003 "Long Long Way to Go" #40 UK. The person chosen for that role was Jani Pirisjoki. 2002 "Now" #23 UK.

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. 1999 "Promises" #38 US. 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. 1996 "All I Want Is Everything" #38 UK. 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. 1996 "Work It Out" #22 UK. From then on, Henkka also started doubling as the band's backing vocalist. 1996 "Slang" #17 UK.

Despite the slight age difference, they got along well and soon Hennka became the band's new bass player. 1995 "When Love and Hate Collide" #2 UK. In junior high, Alexi and Jaska got to know Henkka "Blacksmith" Seppälä, who was one year younger than them. 1994 "Action" #14 UK. Alexi, who previously only composed the melodies of the songs, assumed the role of the band's lyricist. 1993 "Miss You in a Heartbeat" #39 US. His last contribution to IneartheD were the lyirics of the songs from their second demo, Ubiguitous Absence of Remission. 1993 "Two Steps Behind" #32 UK, #12 US.

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. 1993 "Tonight" #34 UK. The band recorded its first demo - entitled Implosion of Heaven - on that same year. 1993 "Heaven Is" #13 UK. 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. 1992 "Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)" #34 US. The band was founded in 1993 by guitarist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen under the name of IneartheD. 1992 "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" #16 UK, #12 US.

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. 1992 "Make Love Like a Man" #12 UK, #36 US. Waiting, by King Diamond. 1992 "Let's Get Rocked" #2 UK, #15 US. Somebody Put Something In My Drink, by Ramones. 1989 "Rocket" #15 UK, #12 US. Silent Scream, by Slayer. 1988 "Love Bites" #11 UK, #1 US.

Shot In the Dark, by Ozzy Osbourne. 1988 "Armageddon It" #20 UK, #3 US. K. 1987 "Hysteria" #26 UK, #10 US. She Is Beautiful, by Andrew W. 1987 "Pour Some Sugar on Me" #18 UK, #2 US. Rebell Yell, by Billy Idol. 1987 "Animal" #6 UK, #19 US.

No Commands, by Stone. 1987 "Women" #80 US. Mass Hypnosis, by Sepultura. 1983 "Rock of Ages" #16 US. Latomeri, by Klamydia. 1983 "Photograph" #12 US. Hellion, by W.A.S.P. 1983 "Foolin'" #28 US.

Don't Stop at the Top, by Scorpions. Rock Of Ages - The Definitive Collection (2005). Bed of Nails, by Alice Cooper. The Best of Def Leppard (2004). Aces High, by Iron Maiden. X (2002) #14 UK, #11 US. Trashed, Lost & Strungout (2004). Euphoria (1999)#11 UK, #11 US.

You're Better Off Dead! (2002). Slang (1996) #5 UK, #14 US. Hate Me! (2000). Vault: Def Leppard's Greatest Hits 1980-1995 (1995) #3 UK, #15 US. Downfall (1998). Retro Active (1993) #6 UK, #9 US. Children of Bodom (1997). Adrenalize (1992) #1 UK, #1 US.

Shining (Demo, 1996). Hysteria (1987) #1 UK, #1 US. Ubiquitous Absence of Remission (Demo, 1995). Pyromania (1983) #18 UK, #2 US. Implosion of Heaven (Demo, 1994). High 'N' Dry (1981) #26 UK, #38 US. Hate Crew Deathroll (2003). On through the Night (1980) #15 UK, #51 US.

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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