Alexi Laiho – Defender Of The Faith.

Written by David Halbe

It featured Alexi Laiho, the most prolific guitarist I’d heard since Yngwie Malmsteen on his famed album, Trilogy.

There was a time when I stopped listening to metal. Back in 1998, the black metal explosion had gone stale and classic death metal had lost its bite. I reluctantly turned my ears away; metal was dying and I didn’t want to be around to witness it’s final breath.

I spent 2 years searching for a viable replacement, but nothing seemed to fill my void of extremity until I discovered Children Of Bodom and their famed effort, Follow The Reaper.

Follow The Reaper is the third studio album by the Finnish melodic death metal band. It was released in 2000 via Spinefarm Records. The album fuses power metal with symphonic death metal elements. In my mind, it will always be Children Of Bodom at their best. Many songs on the album have become setlist favorites, such as: “Follow The Reaper”, “Everytime I Die” and “Hate Me!” In March of 2020 Bodom veterans officially announced their new band, Bodom After Midnight named after the second track from the album. This record also featured some wicked samples from the 1990 film The Exorcist III, what more could any metalhead ask for? This is the band and album that got me back into metal. Follow The Reaper featured more than just a new sound. It featured Alexi Laiho, the most prolific guitarist I’d heard since Yngwie Malmsteen on his famed album, Trilogy.

I learned everything I could about Children Of Bodom from the infamous Lake Bodom Murders (still unsolved) to Alexi’s taste in classic metal. He was aware of metal’s history and was a true defender of our faith. Aside from releasing covers of classic songs by legendary bands like the Scorpions and Iron Maiden, Laiho lived and breathed metal. Alexi’s “Wildchild” nickname was derived from the song “Wild Child” by the band W.A.S.P. He also had a clothing line named: “Wild Child Industries”. The word “HATE” tattooed on his right hand was meant as a homage to Ozzy Osbourne, who has a similar tattoo, (O-Z-Z-Y), on his left hand.

Alexi Laiho (born Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho (April 1979 – December 2020) was a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen founded Children Of Bodom in 1997 (as Inearthed from 93-97). The band was one of the most internationally acclaimed metal acts of all time. Releasing 10 studio albums and 2 live releases before their final farewell as a group back in 2019.

Alexi has received widespread acclaim for his guitar work. He started playing guitar at the age of 11 and never stopped.  He’s shared the cover of Guitar World magazine with fellow axe masters Steve Vai and Zakk Wylde.  Children Of Bodom played the 2008 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, where Laiho received the Dimebag (Dimebag Darrell/Guitarist – Pantera) Award for “Best Shredder.” He also received the “God Of Riffs” award at Metal Hammer in 2018.

In January 2021, it was announced that Alexi Laiho had died of long-term health complications. He left behind more than just a back catalogue of Children Of Bodom records and a few new songs (recorded as Bodom After Midnight). He left behind his family, friends and the numerous fans who will forever celebrate his legacy.

As we move on in this world, I urge you to make listening to Children Of Bodom a new tradition. Whenever you do, remember Alexi Laiho and what he did for metal. \m/

CHILDREN OF BODOM (Follow The Reaper2000):

  • Alexi Laiho – Guitar, Vocals
  • Alexander Kuoppala – Guitar
  • Janne Wirman – Keyboards
  • Henkka Seppälä – Bass
  • Jaska Raatikainen – Drums

BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT:

  • Alexi Laiho – Vocals, Guitar
  • Daniel Freyberg – Guitar
  • Mitja Toivonen – Bass
  • Waltteri Väyrynen – Drums
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