Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom
Alexi Laiho and the rest of the band Children of Bodom may be hard partiers, but theyʼre also hard workers. Thatʼs how theyʼve stayed on top of their game for over 15 years. Letʼs take a look back through the years and see how Children of Bodom became one of metalʼs most extreme bands.
The Early Years
It was way back in 1993 when a then-14 year old guitar player from Espoo, Finland named Alexi Laiho put together a band with drummer Jaska Raatikainen and other childhood friends. Originally called IneartheD, the band was made up of a group of teenagers who shared a love for death metal. In 1996, another schoolmate, Henkka Seppälä, took over on bass duties in the band, joined soon thereafter on keyboards by a local young jazz virtuoso pianist named Janne Wirman.
Recording demos and playing live, IneartheD faced the same challenges all young bands face: breaking out of their local scene. They decided to record a full-length album in 1997, and with the addition of Wirmanʼs talents, the bandʼs sound became much more unique. Getting signed to Spinefarm Records, the band changed their name to Children of Bodom to avoid a contract dispute, and the album Something Wild got a country-wide release in Finland.
The Bandʼs Name
As is appropriate for a band with as heavy a sound as CoB, they chose a name with an equal level of heaviness. In 1960, there was an infamous multiple homicide at Lake Bodom, where a group of teenagers were brutally murdered. The event had such an impact in the otherwise peaceful area of Finland that the band found it to be a perfect complement to their sound.
The band began getting recognition in Finland for their powerful, technically-oriented sound on the first album, and they were approached by the Nuclear Blast label to release the album throughout Europe. They began their first full tour of Europe in 1998, and then began recording again. Their second album, Hatebreeder, came out in 1999 and ended up topping the charts on many European countries. Their newfound success allowed Children of Bodom to take on shows in Japan, where they recorded a live album (Tokyo Warhearts) as well.
In fall of 2000, the band went back into the studio for a month and created the album Follow the Reaper, which included the bandʼs first huge hit song, “Everytime I Die”. At this stage, Alexi was starting to get recognized by international guitar publications as being one of the fastest and technically-minded young guitar gods to hit the scene, as well as getting lauded for his composing abilities (having composed the entire albumʼs music and lyrics).
Hate Crew Deathroll
Never standing still for long, Children of Bodom started writing new songs in 2002, and quickly went back into the studio to record their fourth album, Hate Crew Deathroll. Released in January 2003, this album was a major breakthrough for CoB, staying on top of the Finnish charts for weeks and resulting in the first gold album for the band. They were voted Band of the Year at the Finnish Metal Music Awards, and began their first world tour which lasted much of the next two years. Children of Bodomʼs fans quickly adopted the name in an ironic way, and to this day are known as the COBHC (Children of Bodom Hate Crew).
Unfortunately, in the midst of the tour, their former rhythm guitarist quit for personal reasons. Alexi invited guitarist Roope Latvala to join (first temporarily, then on a permanent basis), and that has been the lineup of Children of Bodom ever since.
The following year, the band quickly made an EP called “Trashed, Lost & Strungout” (featuring a very amusing parody cover of Britney Spearsʼ “Oops!... I Did It Again”), and then got a little more serious for their next full-length release Are You Dead Yet in 2005. Using simpler but heavier guitar riffs, the album became the bandʼs most commercially successful release to date.
With all of their success at the point, itʼs not surprising that Alexi and Children of Bodom began to finally get the recognition for their hard work. In 2006, Alexi was voted “Worldʼs Best Guitarist” by Metalhammer Magazine, and later that year, CoB had a spot on the Unholy Alliance Tour, hitting the road along with Slayer, Lamb of God, and other top-tier metal bands. The following year, the band played the Monsters of Rock festival, along with Ozzy and Megadeth.
Somehow, in between these giant gigs and tours, Children of Bodom created yet another studio album, Blooddrunk, which was released in 2008. Their sixth album was another hit, and in October of that year, they did a headlining tour of the US, and then more touring... and more touring. In fact, it wasnʼt until a year and a half later, in October 2009, that they finished playing to support the Blooddrunk album. In between these times, Alexi Laiho achieved one of the highest honors for a guitar player, being named "Best Metal Guitarist" by the readers of Guitar World.
Even while they worked to support Blooddrunk, Children of Bodom had time to put out a cover album (Skeletons in the Closet) that included songs originally done by a surprising variety of artists including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pat Benetar, Kenny Rogers, Iron Maiden, and yes, Britney Spears.
Late in 2009, the band started work on their latest album, and at the beginning of 2011, they released the first single (“Was It Worth It?”) from the new album Relentless Reckless Forever, which was released in March 2011 by Universal Music.
Alexi, Children of Bodom and ESP
Weʼre proud to say that Alexi Laiho, Roope Latvala, and Henkka T. Blacksmith are all part of the ESP family. All three players have had ESP/LTD Signature series models released, and an entire series of Alexi Laiho guitars have been developed over the last seven years.
There are five current Alexi Laiho Signature Series models available: the ESP ALEXI BLACKY, the ESP ALEXI-SCYTHE, the LTD ALEXI-600-BLACKY, the LTD ALEXI-600- SCYTHE, and the LTD ALEXI-200. This variety allows for players of all levels to get into the Alexi Laiho look and feel, regardless of their budget.
See the Tour!
CHildren of Bodom is on the road right now, and ESP is proud to be a sponsor of their 15th anniversary tour. See below for tour dates, and visit www.cobhc.com for tickets and the most updated Bodom tour info!
February 4 - Pop's (Sauget, IL)
February 6 - Granada Theatre (Lawrence, KS)
February 7 - Gothic Theatre (Englewood, CO)
February 9 - House of Blues (Las Vegas, NV)
February 10 - The Complex (Salt Lake City, UT)
February 11 - Knitting Factory (Boise, ID)
February 13 - Yost Theatre (Santa Ana, CA)
February 14 - House of Blues (San Diego, CA)
February 15 - Marquee Theatre (Phoenix, AZ)
February 17 - Sunshine Theatre (Albuquerque, NM)
February 18 - Tricky Falls (El Paso, TX)
February 19 - The Pavilion (Lubbock, TX)
February 21 - Emo's East (Austin, TX)
February 22 - Warehouse Live (Houston, TX)
February 24 - Expo Five (Louisville, KY)
February 25 - Peabody's (Cleveland, OH)
February 26 - Sound Academy (Toronto, ON)
February 27 - Metropolis (Montreal, QC)
February 29 - Imperial (Quebec City, QC)
March 1 - Webster Theatre (Hartford, CT)
March 2 - The Paramount Theater (Huntington, NY)
March 3 - Starland Ballroom (Sayerville, NJ)
March 4 - Ram's Head Live (Baltimore, MD)