Children of Bodom: those hard-partying boys from Finland who changed the scope of heavy metal during an era where groove and nu-metal were dominating the scene. Bringing an unprecedented level of musicianship to the table in their teenage years, the high-flying duo of guitarist / vocalist Alexi Laiho and keyboardist world-wonder Janne Warman helped fuse the insatiable riffing frenzy and hook-laden anthems of '80s metal with classical and jazz backgrounds between the two of them.

The result was something fresh and exciting, with flashy guitar work that not just dazzled fellow musicians, but caught the ear of fans with undeniable memorability. With one foot in elite musicianship and the other deeply entrenched in those hooks, Bodom instantly separated themselves from their contemporaries on their Something Wild debut. With a slight black metal bend to their sound thanks to Laiho's banshee rasps, Bodom were staged for mass appeal, even managing to break through to fans who had largely ignored extreme metal up until their sudden and asteroidal level impact on arrival.

Hatebreeder was a massive step forward from an already staggeringly impressive start, refining their sound that would eventually reach an apex on Follow the Reaper. Despite their esteemed talent, Bodom always managed to stray from being too cerebral, maintaining a fun sensibility either through grin-inducing leads, galloping rhythms or Alexi's extreme vocal take on hair metal-like phrasing. This coincided with their offstage personas: reckless, heavy-drinking musicians who often blurred the lines between work and play.

In 2005, Bodom made a stylistic overhaul on Are You Dead Yet?, adopting the ethos of the New Wave of American Heave Metal, placing a heavy focus on rhythm rather than their fleet-fingered melodic dominance. While some fans clung desperately to the first three or four records, others were finding favor with the new style as Bodom amassed a staggering worldwide fanbase, headlining tours around the globe. Bouncing back and forth between styles in recent years, the Finns have earned the ability to do as they please, knowing there will be one legion of fans or another (or even both!) that will bring the newest release to the counter with their knuckles gleaming white.

Scroll through the gallery at the top of the page to see how we ranked Children of Bodom's albums from weakest to strongest!

Children of Bodom Reflect on Follow the Reaper

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