Bodom After Midnight - Paint the Sky with Blood (EP)
Napalm Records
Melodic Death Metal
3 songs (14:53)
Release year: 2021
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Goat

It would be easy to define Alexi Laiho, who passed away in December at just 41 years old, by his short life's troubles. Multiple accidental injuries, a suicide attempt that left him in a week-long coma, years of alcohol abuse. Yet Children of Bodom were a genuinely innovative group that mixed Dissection-esque melodic black metal with power metal flamboyancy, becoming known for their skilful guitar-dominated sound. As the years went by the neoclassical influences left and modern metalcore influences arrived, quality levels rising and dipping, and eventually the band fell out and split, Alexi Laiho starting a new project called Bodom After Midnight with Hexed guitarist Daniel Freyberg, bassist Mitja Toivonen (ex-Santa Cruz), drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost) and keyboardist Vili Itäpelto. A full-length was planned, but only three songs (and a music video) actually recorded before Laiho's death.

And this is it, Paint the Sky with Blood the last ever recorded material from Laiho. Freyberg has confirmed that no other releases will follow; there are no songs left, no riffs. And as sad as that is, again, let's focus on the positives, mainly that these three songs (two originals and a cover) are some of the best Bodom-related material in years. The opening title track seethes with passion and intensity, an orchestral-backed galloping pounder that returns wholeheartedly to the neoclassical past, gang shouts of "Fight! Fight!" backing up Laiho's snarls perfectly. Payback's a Bitch is groovier and more typical of later Bodom material, yet has plenty of widdly melodic guitar for old-school fans to enjoy. And closing with a cover of Dissection's Where Dead Angels Lie is almost too perfect a touch; faithfully replicating the classic and paying homage to another troubled soul who left this world too soon. It feels like the closing of a circle, Laiho's musical career keeping that sound alive and hopefully inspiring a whole new generation of musicians to come. RIP.

Killing Songs :
Paint the Sky with Blood, Where Dead Angels Lie
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