Alexi Laiho‘s CHILDREN OF BODOM and BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT bandmate Daniel Freyberg has paid tribute to the late guitarist/vocalist, saying he was “a very charismatic frontman” who “created his own sound” and “style.”
Freyberg, who played with NAILDOWN and NORTHER before joining CHILDREN OF BODOM in 2016, discussed his late bandmate in a new interview with Music Radar. Asked what he thinks Alexi‘s legacy will be, Daniel said: “I think the new style of music that he created. That and many great records — the songs, the guitar playing. He created his own sound, his own style. It was technical excellence combined with a punk rock attitude. Also, he was a very charismatic frontman. He just had it.
“There are many great guitar players out there but they are just not interesting,” he continued. “Alexi, besides being a virtuoso, his solos always had something catchy, something memorable.
“If you take the solo from ‘Every Time I Die’. He was probably 21 when he did that. It is already an instant classic guitar solo. Not many people can combine that technical shit and create catchy stuff at the same time. That’s what Alexi had. That’s probably what the legacy is going to be. He showed that you can be successful with growling vocals. That is the first thing that comes to my mind. I think that people will listen to his music for a very long time.”
Laiho passed away on December 29, 2020 in his home in Helsinki, Finland. The 41-year-old had reportedly suffered from long-term health issues leading up to his death.
Freyberg previously told Revolver magazine that he had no clue Alexi had only a few months to live while they were working on the first BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT material last year. “He seemed as normal as ever,” Daniel said. “Yeah, I definitely didn’t see this coming.”
Asked what Alexi was like on a personal level, Daniel said: “He was a very humble guy. Never made a fuss about himself, you know? He had an excellent sense of humor — really black, gallows humor. It was awesome. He was a very down-to-earth guy and a private guy outside of the band.
“He was very likable,” Freyberg added. “Everybody wanted to be around him and everybody wanted a piece of him. That was exhausting to him — he was always in the spotlight. But he was very loyal and generous towards his friends and always curious about how they were.”
In early March, Alexi‘s cause of death was revealed to be “alcohol-induced degeneration of the liver and pancreas connective tissue.” Furthermore, Laiho had a cocktail of painkillers, opioids and insomnia medication in his system at the time of his passing.
Alexi and drummer Jaska Raatikainen founded CHILDREN OF BODOM in 1993, and the band was one of the most internationally acclaimed metal acts in Finland up until their very last farewell concert in December of 2019. Last year, Alexi put together BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT, which recorded three songs and shot one music video, the latter of which was released earlier this week.
Besides CHILDREN OF BODOM, Laiho had played in such acts as WARMEN, SINERGY, KYLÄHULLUT and THE LOCAL BAND. Awarded with a Metal Hammer Golden God and several other international prizes, the guitarist was also the main star, leading a group of one hundred guitar players at the Helsinki Festival in 2015 in “100 Guitars From Hel” — a massive concert piece he composed.
BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT made its live debut last October at Rytmikorjaamo in Seinäjoki, Finland. The 17-song show consisted entirely of CHILDREN OF BODOM material.