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'Are You Dead Yet' is for me another fantastic album from Finnish metal band Children of Bodom. Released in 2005 as their 5th studio album, it offers a more contemplative side to the band, with songs like Punch Me I Bleed (apparently inspired by a line from the Spider Man films, hinting that even the most apparently strong people and figures are still human and have human emotions, etc) and 'Are You Dead Yet?' (which is apparently inspired by a low point in singer and lead guitarist, Alexi Laiho's, life, in which he found himself looking in the mirror and asking himself; 'are you dead yet?')
And yet, this is another fantastic Bodom album, with the amazing and yet melodic guitar and keyboard solos (I love the introduction to 'Living Dead Beats by Janne), the heavy riffage and fantastic rhythm sections, courtesy of Henkka, Roope and Jaska) which has made Children of Bodom such a well respected and prestigious metal band.
There has definitly been some speculation that the band aren't as good or as difinitive as they once were, but it is easy to champion the older material of your favourite band because that's the material you knew first and which made that first major impact on you. However, I believe personally, that although the band may have changed slightly over the years (what band with integrity doesn't as the musicians mature and go through different experiences) they are still a fantastic band who play music that is not only amazing to listen to, but really very challenging to play too, and for that reason, they are still significantly inspiring to the world of music.
This album, like any good album should, marks a period in the lives of the band members and the life of the band; I wouldn't want them to produce the same music time and time again, despite their changing life experiences, etc. They are all exceptional musicians with a great gift of writing music which is not only very heavy but also melodic, which I feel is quite rare, and they are a significant band in the history of metal.
Yes, this album arguably isn't as heavy as some of their earlier offerings but that obviously doesn't mean, necessarily, that it's not as good! And perhaps there aren't the same stand out tracks which are going to be requested at every show, such as Downfall and Every Time I Die, yet it's hard to say at this point, as tracks become legendary over time.
This album is also the first to feature guitarist Roope Latvala (replacement for ex guitarist Alexander Kuoppala) and finally, I also appreciate how Alexi's vocals are less 'heavy' and therefore more audiable in these later albums; it makes, for me, the music much more listenable!
1. "Living Dead Beat" - 5:18
2. "Are You Dead Yet?" - 3:54
3. "If You Want Peace... Prepare for War" - 3:57
4. "Punch Me I Bleed" - 4:51
5. "In Your Face" - 4:16
6. "Next in Line" - 4:19
7. "Bastards of Bodom" - 3:29
8. "Trashed, Lost & Strungout" - 4:01
9. "We're Not Gonna Fall" - 3:17
On the UK version, there is also a fantastic cover of Billy Idol's 'Rebel Yell', which has a great guitar solo and also a great vocal from Alexi.
All in all, it's still Children of Bodom, and they're still making some of the best metal music around.
If 'Hate Crew Deathroll' represented the start of Children of Bodom's decline, this is an even lower point, and the worst thing is that it's not even all that bad, just depressingly mediocre. The band is still clinging desperately to some threads of its original, once-distinctive sound, but has now moved on to a slower, duller and more insultingly angst-ridden style of melodic death metal.
The slower tempo is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of all, lacking any of the excitement of previous Bodom releases and failing to compensate with any particularly memorable groove riffs, reaching its dullest moment in the plodding 'Punch Me I Bleed.' Janne Warman's keyboards are only audible in certain sections, being relegated to background ambience for the most part, and Alexi Laiho's yelled vocals are frequently horrendous, most offensive in the pointlessly confrontational swear-fest 'In Your Face.'
The album's only real moments of delight come when the band seems to recapture some of its old-school sound, which seems to occur more frequently in the second half of the album in limited bursts of guitar and keyboard melody. This is still quite clearly a Children of Bodom album, you just have to listen to the choruses to gather that, but it's a comparatively poor release from the Finns that nevertheless holds its own against other competitors.
1. Living Dead Beat
2. Are You Dead Yet?
3. If You Want Peace... Prepare for War
4. Punch Me I Bleed
5. In Your Face
6. Next in Line
7. Bastards of Bodom
8. Trashed, Lost & Strungout
9. We're Not Gonna Fall
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Living Dead Beat
2 Are You Dead Yet
3 If You Want Peace... Prepare For War
4 Punch Me I Bleed
5 In Your Face
6 Next In Line
7 Bastards Of Bodom
8 Trashed, Lost And Strungout
9 We're Not Gonna Fall
10 Rebel Yell