Children of Bodom
with Moonsorrow and Kiuas
The Astoria, London
8th March 2008
All live pics and review by HannTu
Phew, three nights of metal in a row, and my head is pounding, even as I write this review. But I certainly was not going to pass up the chance to see Children of Bodom up close and personal. I saw them at Brixton Academy on the Unholy Alliance tour with Slayer and In Flames a couple of years back, but they only played a short set – five songs or something. This would be my first time seeing them as headliner. It’s an all-Finnish line-up tonight* with little-known band Kiuas and epic metal heathens Moonsorrow.
*It’s Bring-a-Finnish-band-to-London Month I think – Apocalyptica last night, Children of Bodom, Moonsorrow and Kiuas tonight, Turisas and Norther this coming Thursday, and Nightwish later on in the month!
Kiuas will be releasing their third full-length album, THE NEW DARK AGE, on the 12th of March, and if you feel like some good hard rocking heavy metal, go out and get it. Their sound is a mix of traditional heavy metal and some power metal, but with a heaviness and menace that your average power metal band doesn’t have. They played two songs from the new album last night, “The Decaying Doctrine” and “Of Sacrifice, Loss and Reward”, both guitar-heavy and riff-laden tracks, with the added bonus of some catchy choruses! The band is quite energetic live, and they really got the crowd going. “Across the Snows” slowed it down a little, with a folkish intro, while “The Spirit of Ukko” and “Warrior Soul” got the pace up again. A very interesting band, well worth looking at.
SetlistThe Decaying Doctrine
Of Sacrifice, Loss and Reward
Of Ancient Wounds
Across the Snows
The Spirit of Ukko
I had only heard of Moonsorrow prior to this gig, and I wished I had checked them out before seeing them live. They play a type of folkish metal that is enhanced with black metal vocals, sung in Finnish. All I can say was that I was entranced by their performance, which featured great expanses of music without singing: swirling chords and tremolo picked notes over heavy bass lines and double bass drumming. Epic? You bet. Definitely a band I will listen to in the near future.
Children of Bodom
People have hailed BLOODDRUNK as a return to the band’s old sound, somewhere between FOLLOW THE REAPER and HATE CREW DEATHROLL. Personally I didn’t think ARE YOU DEAD YET was all that bad. Sure, it had its empty riffing moments, but it wasn’t completely devoid of melody as some people made out. Anyway I do think that while BLOODDRUNK is more interesting musically than AYDY, it’s still a closer cousin to AYDY, and I wouldn’t call it a return to FOLLOW THE REAPER.
The crowd was pretty heavy even during Kiuas’ set, it was claustrophobic during Moonsorrow’s, and by the time the photographers took to the pit, it was almost impossible to get anywhere near the front. The front rows were being given water by bouncers, and you could see the effort on their faces as they tried to withstand the massive forces behind and beside them. The waves were going through the crowd, as people struggled to stay where they were.
The chants of “Bodom!” must have had some effect, as the lights went out sharp-ish, and their weird clown intro began to play. Alexi was first on stage, giving the horns to the crowd as he walked around in that cocky slouch of his. They kicked off with the super-popular “Sixpounder”, but Alexi screwed up a couple of lines. He was coughing and appeared to have some trouble with his voice/throat, and he came in wrongly on one of the choruses. Keyboardist Janne was perhaps the most chilled out of the lot – eating and drinking throughout the songs, wandering offstage whenever he wasn’t playing, but managing to get back just in time to wreak a blinding solo.
“In Your Face” and “Living Dead Beat” went off without a hitch, and Alexi seemed to have sorted outwhatever it was that was wrong. He was back to his old swagger, and his solos are pretty damn impressive – say what you want about him, but he’s one of the shredders of his generation. “Hate Me”, another Bodom classic, and the crowd needed no invitation to yell “I don’t give a fuck/If you HATE ME!” “Children of Decadence” got an airing – not one of the more commonly played songs I don’t think. It was then time for the new song “Blooddrunk” to be played live, which is an okay song, not good not bad. The crowd went mad though.
Alexi then said “We’re gonna slow it down a little” before going into “Angels Don’t Kill”. He missed a couple of bends in the solo, rather noticeably too but that’s just nitpicking. During “Needled 24/7” the fun side of the band showed itself, with Alexi and Roope engaging in some general horseplay, and Janne feeding Henkka a drink. Children of Bodom have an infectious good humour onstage that is really cool to watch. They genuinely do have an interaction among themselves, with Alexi frequently sharing a joke with Janne, trying to play his keyboards for him till Janne shooed him away.
The second BLOODDRUNK song was played, “Tie My Rope”, where an extremely loud keyboard led into the song. When I say loud, I mean shake-the-rafters type loud. This is also a pretty average song, it doesn’t have the exuberance of the earlier songs. That being said, Children of Bodom played it well, giving the crowd a taster of what will probably be a concert favourite in years to come. “Every Time I Die” was played absolutely perfectly, even the solo, and the song was capped off by the Wildchild signature move – the guitar round-the-world. This got an amazing reaction from the crowd as the band left the stage.
The renewed clapping and stomping brought them back out for encores, to which Alexi responded, “That was fucking beautiful”. He then said “We’ve never played this one before” and they launched into “Mask of Sanity”. “Do you want some more…HEAVY FUCKING METAL???” The reaction of the crowd towards the intro of the last song “Downfall” was absolutely deafening. “Let me see those fucking middle fingers!” and those who heard him duly obliged. Having seen the setlist beforehand, I was expecting “Hate Crew Deathroll” but they must have run out of time, because they left out "HCDR" even though it was printed on the setlist. At the end of “Downfall” Alexi just unslung his guitar from his shoulder and chucked it 10 feet in the air behind him. Ahhh the pain – I love that instrument, such a fucking metal beast of a guitar.
After the initial hiccup in the first song, Children of Bodom settled down into the groove where they are best suited: the live environment. I remember a couple of years back when people were saying that Children of Bodom had lost it as a live band, when Alexi was being a dumbass, breaking bones, gaining weight, the band being too drunk to play on stage, more interested in partying etc etc. It was with great trepidation that I saw that show with the Unholy Alliance in November 2006. Well, they blew me away that night, and they played another crazy yet controlled gig tonight as well. I don’t know if those rumours then were true or not, but I can say that they were professional as hell tonight. I look forward to seeing them at Wacken this year. Until then, kippis to the Hate Crew!
In Your Face
Living Dead Beat
Children of Decadence/Chokehold
Angels Don’t Kill
Follow The Reaper
Tie My Rope
Every Time I Die
Mask of Sanity/Deadnight Warrior
Thanks to Adam Sagir at The Noise Cartel for the photo pass and the invite to the after party!