Long-running Finnish melodic death metal act Children of Bodom will be going through a major lineup change. The band has announced the impending departure of drummer Jaska Raatikainen, bassist Henkka T. Blacksmith, and keyboardist Janne Wirman — all longtime members of the group. The current lineup will perform one final series of shows together in December.
The news comes as a shock to fans, as the three departing members have been vital to Children of Bodom’s distinct style of melodic death metal alongside frontman Alexi Laiho.
Children of Bodom formed as Inearthed with Laiho and Raatikainen’s back in 1993, after which Blacksmith and Wirman joined to help form the outfit’s core lineup. The band changed its name to Children of Bodom just prior to the release of their 1997 debut album, Something Wild, and have delivered a total of 10 albums in the past 20-plus years.
The departure of the three musicians will leave Laiho and guitarist Daniel Freyburg, who joined in 2016, as the only two remaining members of the band.
Children of Bodom issued a statement on Facebook announcing the lineup change and a final show. The statement cites personal reasons for the split:
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that 2019 will be the last for Children of Bodom with this line-up.
After almost 25 years with Bodom, thousands of shows & 10 albums it is time for Henkka, Janne and Jaska to step back and change direction within their lives. All three will miss the fans and supporters in every city in every country the band ever played.
The last show of this line-up will be on the 15th of December at Helsinki Ice Hall. Tickets still remain for some of the Finnish shows in December. Alexi and Daniel will have further announcements about their plans to keep creating new music in the future. Thanks again for everything – Children Of Bodom”
Children of Bodom released their 10th studio album, Hexed, back in March. The record was a return to form following a string of releases that were met with critical ambivalence compared to their legendary output of the late ’90s and early aughts.The album is a fitting swan song for the current lineup.
The future of Children of Bodom is now in the hands of its longtime leader Laiho and relative newcomer Freyburg. The current lineup will finish out their December tour across Finland before the final show on December 15th in Helsinki.