With Children of Bodom being a band years before this album and releasing demos with little support, it led them to the point where Something Wild was supposed to be released under their old name Inearthed and by a small Belgian label named Shiver Records. The band signed a contract to release the album with the label, but Sami Tenetz from Thy Serpent, acquired a copy of their album through the hands of Children of Bodom's guitarist Alexander Kuoppala, at the same company they both worked for at the time. Tenetz then gave the copy to Spinefarm Records' boss who immediately became interested in signing them for a country-wide release. The latter deal was much more attractive to the band since Shiver Records was offering them close to no help to the point where the band would have to distribute and sell the album themselves. To get out of the contract from Shiver Records, the band faked a break-up under the old name and renamed themselves to Children of Bodom.
The album was in C♯ tuning (C♯, F♯, B, E, G♯, C♯). It presents a darker and generally more experimental sound than the one present in their later albums, and contributed most to the infamous genre controversy of their classification as a death metal or black metal band at the time. A fair helping of black metal was still present, due to Alexi Laiho's stint (as lead guitarist) in Impaled Nazarene and his self-professed "roots being in black metal". In a recent interview Laiho claims that the band at the time were inspired by "a lot of black and death metal bands" such as Dissection and Hypocrisy as well as classic rock/metal bands like the Scorpions (who they ended up covering for the reissue of this album), and that many other new bands in the scene were "trying to sound like Dimmu Borgir", leading to them wanting to do something "different". Although Laiho is very critical of all of the music he has written, he notes that he dislikes Something Wild the most of all of his albums. When recording this album, Laiho had tried to mimic the style of one of his idols, Yngwie Malmsteen, which is why Something Wild is considered one of the most technical albums Children of Bodom have ever produced. Despite this, he still considers it to be their "most important" record, as it "put them on the map". The song-writing here is much more free-flowing and the use of keyboards and strong neo-classical metal influences are much more prevalent than they would be in future releases such as Hatebreeder or Follow the Reaper.
The album is filled with covers, even classical miniature parts within the bands songs; two being from Bach with songs like "The Nail" containing a piece from his Toccata and Fugue in D minor and "Red Light In My Eyes Part 1" containing a part of Invention No. 13 in A minor. "Red Light In My Eyes Part 2" has musical pieces from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with the intro having Symphony No. 25 in G minor and a little later on and the main theme from the Confutatis section of Requiem Mass in D minor, appears. The album also uses filmsamples in the intros of the bands songs like with once again "The Nail" quoting Jack Hawkins' character in the 1959 film Ben-Hur and with "Deadnight Warrior" containing lines from A Nightmare On Elm Street and It. The song also has a music video, released in 1998 and directed by Ed Grain and Mika Lindberg, at a slim budget of €1000. It made use of simple scenery, which consisted essentially of an outdoors location after a snowstorm. The band played for a couple of hours at night, with an average temperature of minus fifteen degrees Celsius. To continue, a mix of cover with film and television production was put in on "Touch Like Angel of Death", with the track actually ending at 5:30, followed by a silence and then an hidden track, which is a shorter version of the Miami Vice Theme, that's 1:20 second long, performed on keyboard by Laiho and Kuoppala, who were both drunk. The 2008 edition of the album does contain the theme, but this time it is at the end of the bonus song "Mass Hypnosis".