Alex Laiho, acclaimed frontman and guitarist of Children of Bodom, a legendary Finnish metal outfit, died this past week in his home in Finland at the age of 41. One of the biggest stories of current news within the past week is that the cause of death is still in question at this time. The statement from his management team said that Laiho “had suffered from long-term health issues during his last years.”
“We are crushed by the sudden passing of our dear friend and band member. Words cannot describe this shock and the profound sadness that we feel,” said a group of Laiho’s surviving bandmates from his latest band, Bodom After Midnight, which included Mitja Toivonen, Daniel Freyberg, and Waltteri Vayrynen.
Laiho’s parents had him in Espoo, Finland back in 1979. In a 2008 interview with Metal Hammer, he spoke about growing up in a musical household. His mother sang in a choir and played the flute while his father was an organist and pianist. While he started out playing the violin as a young boy, he would eventually gravitate towards the guitar. His sister receives much of the credit for introducing him to heavy metal in the first place.
In the same interview with Metal Hammer, he noted, “When I was seven years old she played me her Guns N’ Roses, Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe, and Skid Row tapes. Everything about it was so fucking attractive: how they played, the sound of the guitar, the way the guys looked. They were dangerous. I was so fucking drawn into it. And I still am.”
Inearthed, Laiho’s first band, was formed in 1993 along with drummer Jaska Raatikainen. The band spent many years recording heavy metal and death metal demos, though all the while incorporating synthesizers and keyboards. Unfortunately, the band could never seem to catch a break.
Eventually, the two enlisted the help of Janne Wirman, a jazz pianist, who would help them solidify a new sound. This was around the same time that they began recording Something Wild, which would be their first LP. Spinefarm Records, a Finnish label, would release this LP under the band’s new name, Children of Bodom.
In the coming years, Children of Bodom’s portfolio of albums would grow as they continued to tour throughout Europe. Hate Crew Deathtoll was the album that solidified the band’s name in the United States prior to the release of their most successful album in 2008, Blooddrunk. The release of Skeletons in the Closet came as a surprise to many fans, as the album incorporated unique renditions of famous songs by the Ramons, Pat Benetar, Britney Spears, Scorpions, Kenny Rogers, and more.
The band would release another four studio albums before playing their final show together after the release of Hexed in 2019. Beyond his time spent with Children of Bodom, Laiho fronted a few other bands, including Local Band, Warmen, Sinergy, and Kylahullut. Laiho and Bodom After Midnight shot one more music video before his death, as well as recorded three new songs.
The video and songs will be released in the coming year.