A Must-Listen: "Are You Dead Yet?" (2005) by Children of Bodom
“Are You Dead Yet?” is a huge style change for Children of Bodom, after their previous 4 albums, which were more speed and scream reliant. The album has a more metalcore-like side, which was becoming more and more popular back at the time. This change of sound was praised and criticized at the same time by the fans. A new, different work was good progress for the band, however, the swift change of their trademark sound didn’t get a great welcome by some.
The album cover is again different from the previous albums, we see the Grim Reaper in different places in different positions in “Something Wild”, “Hatebreeder”, “Follow the Reaper” and “Hate Crew Deathroll” with different colors in each album, unlike the “Are You Dead Yet?” cover which shows the hand of the Grim Reaper holding his scythe, and this time we don’t see where he is. We can say the album cover gave a clue about the change, from the different spot of us seeing the Grim Reaper.
The riffs are simple and heavy, down-tuned to drop C tuning from D standard, but incomparable with the more complex and well-structured songs of the previous albums. The first three tracks stand out on their own, unlike the rest of the album which can be recalled as weaker tracks. “Living Dead Beat” and “In Your Face” include synth solos, and including “Trashed, Lost and Strungout”, the trio has a more “melodic” death metal sound, while some songs remind more of the mainstream or the traditional sounds. The lyrics of the songs aren’t so deep or literary, Laiho mostly talks (or screams) about fighting, with the enemy or with himself, and pain. Lyrics surely are not the strength of the songs, but they are good words for a death metal songs’ screaming lines.
“Are You Dead Yet?” is surely a different work for the band, distant from their previous sound, but still is catchy and heavy, and a great success for the band, which grew their popularity. The album debuted at number 1 on Finnish charts and was awarded gold in Finland.