1997 – 2019 (22 years)
Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
- Alexander Kuoppala (1997 – 2004)
- Alexi Laiho (1997 – 2020)
- Daniel Freyberg (2016 – present)
- Henkka Blacksmith (1997 – present)
- Janne Warman (1997 – present)
- Jaska Raatikainen (1997 – present)
- Roope Latvala (2004 – 2015)
Children of Bodom was a Finnish metal band from Espoo. The band is usually labelled as melodic death metal , although it incorporated many other musical styles including power metal , thrash metal or neoclassical metal.
The group consisted of Alexi Laiho (Lead vocals, lead guitar), Janne Wirman (keyboards), Henkka T. Blacksmith (bass), Jaska Raatikainen (drums) and Daniel Freyberg (rhythm guitar). They released ten studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, two compilation albums and one DVD.
Formed in 1993 by guitarist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen under the name of Inearthed. They had known each other since early childhood and had shared an interest in heavy metal, especially death metal groups, such as Dissection, Entombed, Cannibal Corpse, Autopsy, and Obituary and classic metal groups such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Dio, and Ozzy Osbourne. Bassist Samuli Miettinen completed the initial line-up of the band. Inearthed recorded its first demo, Implosion of Heaven, during August of the same year.
Samuli was the main composer of the band's lyrics for the two years that he took part in Inearthed, but his family moved to the United States in 1995, making it impossible for him to remain in the band. His last contributions to Inearthed were the lyrics of the songs from their second demo, Ubiquitous Absence of Remission which was the first time they worked with producer Anssi Kippo at Astia-studios (Lappeenranta, Finland). In this demo, keyboards were incorporated into the band's songs for the first time. In order to achieve this, both Laiho and Raatikainen played the keyboards separately and subsequently mixed the recorded track with the other instruments. Laiho, who had previously only composed the melodies of the songs, assumed the role of the band's lyricist.
At the time, Raatikainen played French horn in a local big band, and during a rehearsal, he met Alexander Kuoppala, a trumpet player and also a proficient guitarist. Shortly after the recording of their second demo, Kuoppala was invited to join Inearthed as a rhythm guitarist.
The bassist chosen to replace Samuli was Henkka "Blacksmith" Seppälä, whom Laiho and Raatikainen had previously known from school. Apart from playing the bass, Seppälä also often doubles as the band's backing vocalist. Also, the band recruited a musician to specialize on keyboards, whose name was Jani Pirisjoki. Both joined Inearthed in early 1996.
With this new line-up, Inearthed proceeded to record their third demo, entitled Shining. This demo did not impress record labels any more than the previous ones had, and none took interest in the band. Despite their efforts, their music got little exposure and managed only to play at local events. As a last resort, the band decided to record an independent, self-funded album. Considering that none of the musicians had much money to begin with, it was an audacious move.
Laiho wanted to make use of the keyboards more effectively, but Pirisjoki was not attending rehearsals. Thus, he was fired and replaced by a friend of Raatikainen's, a jazz pianist named Janne "Warman" Wirman.
Wirman was the component which was previously missing from Inearthed. His presence allowed the band to assume the style which would later characterize Children of Bodom. With Wirman, the band successfully recorded their first album in 1997. Their debut, Something Wild, was supposed to be released by a small Belgian label, Shiver Records, but second vocalist Sami Tenetz (from Thy Serpent) acquired a copy of their album through the hands of Kuoppala. They both worked for the same company at the time. Shortly after Inearthed signed this contract, Spinefarm Records' boss became interested in signing them for a country-wide release. The latter deal was much more attractive to the band since the Belgian label was offering them close to no help, to the point where they would have to distribute and sell the album themselves.
The band was required to create a new name to sign up to Spinefarm Records. The contract with Shiver records had already been signed under the name of Inearthed. The answer to that problem came as the members looked for good names in their local phone book. When they stumbled upon Lake Bodom, they realized that it was a name with impact and one which had an interesting story behind it. A long list of possible names involving the word Bodom was then made, and they settled with Children of Bodom. The band's name is derived from the Lake Bodom murders.
The band's third studio album, Follow the Reaper, was their first album to receive a Gold certification in Finland, and subsequent studio albums have acquired the same status. Three consecutive albums debuted at number one on the Finnish album charts, and have also seen chart positions on the United States Billboard 200.
They are one of Finland's best selling artists of all time with more than 250,000 records sold there alone.
The band played their last concert on 15th December 2019 in Helsinki's Jäähalli. The band stated on their website that Jaska, Janne and Henkka will leave the band to follow different paths of their lives:
Also, we definitely want to set the record straight with the misconception that we quit because we have families or wanted to retire. Music is our profession and our lives, and all our families know that. They are proud of what we do, and they completely have our back. It should also go without saying that we as individuals are not retiring.
As Jaska, Janne and Henkka owned the trademark to the name “Children of Bodom", Alexi Laiho and Daniel Freyberg formed a new band, Bodom after Midnight.
On 4 January 2021, it was announced that Alexi Laiho had died.
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