A final lap in the lake of Bodom
So here it is, the concluding chapter of Alexi Laiho’s work. While working on delivering Bodom fans more content through a music video and a full-length album, Laiho, then 41, passed away from heart complications in late December 2020. With the Children of Bodom namesake being relegated to the hell of legal issues and the Bodom After Midnight name buried in honor of Alexi Laiho, Paint The Sky With Blood stands as his final offering and sign-off.
Albeit just two original Laiho compositions and a cover of Dissection’s “Where Dead Angels Lie,” Paint The Sky With Blood helps at least somewhat wrap up and move on, yet keeps fans wanting the futile follow-up album. The legacy and voice of Laiho shine through on this EP, especially in his songwriting. One to never compromise his vision and innovations, one can hear how every era of Laiho is related to the other, never to be challenged by leaps of clumsy faith, but rather a continuation and buildup of sorts. This is especially true here, even though just featuring two completed songs by the relatively new Bodom After Midnight.
The title track bursts with color and energy, picking up where the band’s latest album, Hexed (2019), left off, yet also is extremely reminiscent of their earlier work two decades prior, bringing to mind Hatebreeder (1999). “Payback’s A Bitch” showcases even more thrashy verse riffs and shredfest guitar leads, again, not unlike anything Bodom has put out in their career.
Interestingly enough, it isn’t until the Dissection cover of “Where Dead Angels Lie” where Laiho starts to capture raw, heartfelt emotion that is often lost on the more flashy, energetic and thrashy tunes. With the song fading out, one can’t help but wonder what the final, finished product would’ve been. Would these songs have stayed? More covers? Different originals? Well, more likely than anything else, Laiho had the drive right up to the end to continue on the Children of Bodom path, something now immortalized with each other.
Finland’s Bodom After Midnight remained, no, remains, to be one of the biggest and most important bands in contemporary melodic death metal and power metal alike. Like Chuck and Death, Jeff and Slayer, now Alexi and Bodom. In loving memory, may Paint The Sky With Blood be the most fitting of swan songs.