I woke up this morning to the passing of one of most influential guitarists, Alexi Laiho. Back when I was a young, budding guitarist in high school (early 2000’s), I started getting into heavier metal in a general succession. It started with Led Zeppelin, on to Black Sabbath, Metallica, Black Label Society, and eventually Alexi’s band Children of Bodom. I remember reading articles about him in my subscription of Guitar World that my parents bought for me (they were and are still very supportive). There were tabs in one issue for their song “Triple Corpse Hammerblow,” but I never had the patience to learn it (or anyone else’s music for that matter.) I was more likely to be inspired by imitating something I heard or saw. I remember distinctly writing a song and getting stuck – not knowing where to take the composition next. I turned to a burned copy of Children of Bodom’s Hatebreeder for inspiration – naturally, I found it.
We had terribly slow 56k internet growing up. Many nights were spent setting up a music video to download in hopes it would have finishing by morning. One of those videos included the clip below (2:30 mark) in which Alexi plays harmonics on his fretboard by alternating his left hand over and under the neck – I definitely stole that move for at least 2 – 3 songs I’ve recorded.
Very recently, I had been going through my stacks of old CDs. I came across the CoB album Hate Crew Deathroll, and it has been in my car’s CD player in recent weeks. In regards to losing musicians, 2021 is apparently not starting off much better than 2020 (we lost Neil Peart early last year). But – I am thankful for the memories, I cherish the inspiration, and we can go forward in optimism and hope for this year. RIP Alexi.