Children Of Bodom w. Death Angel & Tyr
Feb 23rd, 2014
Mac Hall Ballroom, Calgary, Alberta
Reviews by JP Photos by Monika D
Each gig has a unique feel to it based on any number of obvious factors, venue, date, time, indoor vs. outdoor, bands all those things come into play. I was looking forward to the Children Of Bodom/Death Angel/Tyr gig for a number of reasons.
The show was held in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom (Capacity: 1000) in Calgary, Alberta and over the years I have seen dozens maybe even low hundreds of bands there. It is a familiar, nice venue and I was going with a bunch of friends. Compare this to a gig I saw in Toronto last year, at a venue I had never been in, seeing bands I had never seen and going by myself in a city I don’t live in. Very different ‘feel’ to each concert, not bad just different. If I had to define it, I’d say that the COB show in support of their latest excellent album HALO OF BLOOD was a safe, comfortable gig. Those aren’t usually words associated with a Metal gig, but nonetheless it was pretty laid-back. Or at least…I was pretty laid-back. I have had the pleasure of seeing each band on the bill at least 4-5 times each previously.
Before the show, I also had the pleasure of having supper with Mark and Rob from Death Angel at a nice restaurant so we arrived on time with a full belly, a few drinks in us and lots of friends in a familiar venue to see three bands I love. I have the entire catalogue of all three bands in my collection.
Tyr was up first with a disappointingly short five-song set. It was the biggest stage I have seen them on to date and they plundered through five cuts ending strong with ‘Shadow Of The Swastika’. With seven full-length albums under their belt they could have headlined a two-hour gig in my mind. (COB has 8 albums and Death Angel has seven as well, so Tyr are just as established, just not as popular in North America. They were of course the least well-known but because it was an early Sunday night all-ages gig there was a very decent crowd early on.
Death Angel was up next and it is hard to be impartial, but they played to their largest crowd in the last five times they have been here. They were happy to be on the COB tour because they aid it introduced them to a whole new audience. I found that quite curious as I assumed that COB fans and DA fans were one and the same, but I was mistaken. Compared to last time they were in town with Anthrax and Testament (which was an older, mostly male old-school trash crowd) this gig was way younger and way more girls.
Death Angel won over people in the audience being by far the heaviest, fastest band on the bill. Mark had cut off his dreadlocks and the band just ripped into it opening with. The crowd was in a good mood that night as Canada had just won a Gold Medal in the Men’s Hockey at the Sochi Olympics. Mark addressed the crowd as ‘Gold medal winning motherfuckers’ (which got a huge roar of approval) before they ripped into ‘Claws In So Deep’ from their last studio album RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION.
The Mark III line-up with the new rhythm section Damien Sisson (bass) and Will Carrol (drums) have really settled in making this in my mind, the strongest line-up. They finished off with the a teaser, the classic intro riff from ‘The Ultra Violence’ before ending with what has become their signature closing song, ‘Thrown To The Wolves’ the opening track from the third album THE ART OF DYING.
Admittedly, it was Children Of Bodom’s crowd, I could tell it was a younger crowd, the beer gardens were not that full! The ages ranged from 5 to 65 and the hall was as it sat comfortably full at about 800 souls and bodies were flying! The stage had three sets of six multi-coloured strobes on tall stands that made for a simple, but effective light show. The sound was crystal clear which is good to emphasize the higher end with the heavy keyboard and guitar sound the band has. The pacing seemed a little off but the band was only a few dates into the North American tour and maybe had to work out a few little timing measures. The band had some pre-recorded spoken word interludes and Alexi was a little lower key than I had seen in him in previous years. The Finnish frontman did thank us (Canada) for ‘…beating the shit out of Sweden’(!) in Hockey which was appreciated by the crowd.
The band ran through a good cross selection of their catalogue playing cuts from every album except, RELENTLESS RECKLESS FOREVER. I found I still preferred the cleaner burning, faster cuts from the first three albums, (SOMETHING WILD, HATEBREEDER, FOLLOW THE REAPER), before they injected more modern sounds into their delivery. ‘Are You Dead Yet?’ seemed to be a crowd favourite with lots of singing and bodies flying. There was some really nice trade-off soloing between Alexi and Janne (keyboards) during ‘Towards Dead End’ from HATEBREEDER.
They finished predictably with ‘Downfall’ but it was nice to hear them come back for an encore and close with ‘In Your Face’. I had seen the band many times and they were as good as ever. I know that does not sound like a glowing endorsement but it was like I said a good gig, no surprises and had a lot of fun being there. It is a good triple bill and if you can catch them on the eight-week north American tour do it and arrive on time to see Tyr!