Children Of Bodom
20 Years Down and Dirty European Tour 2017
Forever Still – special guest
ONI – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
2/4 – 2017
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
In order to celebrate 20 years as a band, Finnish metal machine Children Of Bodom is out touring the roads of Europe. The band released their debut album, SOMETHING WILD, 20 years ago; in order to celebrate it, the band’s focus is to only play songs from the four first albums on the tour. The tour began March 8th 2017 in Germany and reached its end two dates after the Malmo show in Stockholm, Sweden. The band has always been pretty popular in Sweden and therefore I was pretty surprised when I realized the venue wasn’t sold out. Since three bands were on the bill the club opened at 7pm and ONI kicked off the night 30 minutes later. I met up with the band earlier in the day and the guys were all nice, unlike the last time I met them when they kept their heads down and didn’t talk to anyone. The friend I was with also spoke Finnish and maybe that made the members a little more friendly? 🙂
The doors opened as scheduled and it was nice to get inside the warm club. I took a look to see if there was a photo pit but there wasn’t and I really hoped, for the sake of my camera, that the crowd was going to be somewhat calm. It was easy to see that the tour was about to end because there weren’t a lot of items left on the merchandise stand. The stage looked typical with mics and amps but on the right side I saw something unusual: the support act was apparently going to use a xylo-synth!
ONI, as the first act was called, is a band from Ontario, Canada that released their debut album IRONSHORE last year. I hadn’t heard about the band before but was intrigued to hear the xylo-synth in action.
5 minutes late the band showed up on stage. It was pretty crowded on stage with all the gear and the xylo-synth. Two songs were run through after which singer Jake Oni introduced the band and asked if the crowd was having a good time. The line up in the band is:
Jake Oni – lead vocals
Martin Andres – guitar
Chase Bryant – bass
Joe Greulich – drums
Brandon White – guitar
Johnny DeAngelis – xylosynth
It was hard to take pictures because of the massive amount of red lights but luckily the sound system worked better. Oni thanked fans for the response and asked if we were ready to see Children of Bodom. The songs were really long (it felt like they never ended), which made the show feel extended. Oni tried to get the crowd going but the people felt reluctant and many stood by the bar looking at the band. He encouraged the crowd to shout for Children Of Bodom and that moment was about the most exciting one during the show.
ONI’s 30 minutes on stage felt like twice that and I didn’t like the band’s very strange progressive death metal music at all. The long instrumental parts and the xylo-synth were really confusing and didn’t appeal to me at all. Despite the fact that ONI comes from Canada (which is the home of Metal-Rules.com), they can’t be forgiven for taking up 30 minutes of my life, ha ha.
The duo Forever Still comes from Denmark and was on tour with Lacuna Coil in 2016. During 2013 the band released the EP BREAKING FREE; the twosome consists of singer Maja Shinning and multi-instrumentalist Mikkel Haastrup. The band released their debut album TIED DOWN last year and soon landed a deal with Nuclear Blast. Looking at the band’s website, they call their music alternative metal and if I remember correctly, I wasn’t that impressed with the band when I saw them opening for Lacuna Coil. It seems like drummers and guitarists come and go as the female guitar player the band had the last time they played Sweden has since left the band.
The band themselves prepped the stage and it took a while until everything was ready for the show. After 20 minutes the stage lit up and the club turned dark and it was time for Forever Still to do their thing.
“The Last Day” opened the show but something wasn’t right because Shinning told the mic technicians that she couldn’t hear herself properly. “Awake the Fire” continued the show. I couldn’t find any names on the rest of the members so I can only write that the band consists of:
Maja Shinning – lead vocals
Mikkel Haastrup – bass
The new guitarist is a guy and I don’t know if the drummer is the same one as the last time I saw them. He was also the one who took care of the the programmed music. Shinning didn’t do much talking in between songs and the band seemed a little nervous. The members mostly looked at the floor instead of at the crowd and it was Shinning who tried hardest to connect with the audience. Even though the band did a tour not long ago, it seemed that they didn’t learn how to handle a crowd. The new guitarist brought a heavier sound to the band compared to the previous one and he felt more skilled as well. The technical problems continued as Shinning said the band still couldn’t hear themselves; maybe because of that the band didn’t deliver a solid performance.
“Miss Madness”, taken from the debut TIED DOWN, continued the night and straight away followed “Fight!”. The music could definitely be named as alternative metal however I think the band have some musical similarities with the likes of Lacuna Coil. It was no problem with the sound out in the crowd but the technical mishaps seemed to continue for the band. “Tied Down” followed and the crowd applauded but didn’t seem to be convinced with what they were hearing. The band’s music has nothing to do with the music of Children of Bodom and I don’t know what the tour organizer was thinking putting these two bands on the same tour. The most exciting thing during the show was to look at Shinning’s mic stand which resembled the one Blackie Lawless used to have back in the day. In “I’m Out” smoke covered the stage and the band had some problems with hearing their guitars. “Once Upon a Nightmare” and “Breathe In” followed, as well as “Save Me”. The last song for the night was “Scars” and with that the 45 minute show was over.
Forever Still has a lot to work on in the future. They couldn’t help the technical errors but Shinning and the band have to work on their stage-presence and addressing the crowd. Shinning hardly spoke between songs and the silence became awkward. The only positive thing was the new guitarist that brought in more metal and heaviness into the music.
The Last Day
Awake The Fire
Once Upon A Nightmare
As the work with the stage proceeded, a podium appeared and lights were hung on the wall on the side of the stage. A long row placed as a U were put on the stage and the singer was almost built in the monitors. All told, the stage took about 30 minute to build.
Children of Bodom started out in 1993 and released their debut in 1997. Since then the band have released 8 more albums. Their third album, FOLLOW THE REAPER, received gold certification in Finland and they are one of Finland’s best selling artists of all time with more than 250,000 records sold in Finland alone. Previous guitarist Roope Latvala isn’t part of the band anymore and has been replaced by Daniel Freyberg.
More people had now arrived to the club but it wasn’t sold out at all. I thought CoB would draw more visitors to be honest. At 9.30 everything was set and ready to go and it was time for the evening’s headline act.
Children Of Bodom
While the intro faded out, the members got ready and the first song out was “Deadnight Warrior” taken from SOMETHING WILD. The audience went crazy from the start and singer/guitarist Laiho thanked them, saying it was fun to be in Malmo as they fired off “In the Shadows”. He played his guitar with one foot on the monitor in front of him and the fans went wild when they heard the band do the first notes of “Needled 24/7”. Laiho wanted to see a circle pit and the fans immediately formed a small circle in front of the stage. CoB’s current line-up is :
Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho – lead vocals, guitar
Jaska Raatikinen – drums
Henkka Seppälä – bass
Janne Wirman – keyboard
Daniel Freyberg – guitar
It was pretty bad that the club didn’t use the lights to the fullest capacity; they mostly used the red and pink lights in the middle of the stage and the rest of the stage was pretty dark. The poor lighting ,along with the crazy fans in the front of the stage, made the pictures turn out pretty badly.
Laiho said it was time for another old track that was unleashed 18 years ago in “Black Widow”. The small circle pit took another round on the floor and Laiho said he wanted to see everyone in their fucking hate crew clap their hands. It was the fans at the front of the stage that were the craziest, the ones at the back stood still and clapped their hands after each song. I don’t understand what you’re doing at a show if you only stand still with crossed arms. Sure, you don’t have to go crazy and enter a circle pit, but you could act interested in what the band is doing on stage. The people at the back looked like they’d have rather stayed home than watch the show. Strange behavior. An intro was heard and “Lake Bodom” was next on the list which woke up the fans at the front of the stage. It was nice to hear some old hits in a row as I don’t think the band is going to do this again; playing all the old hits is probably a one-time thing. Laiho asked if the crowd was doing fine and said that it was 20 years ago SOMETHING WILD came out and next up was a song the band hadn’t played live before, it was “Warheart”. Laiho had the fans to scream at his command in the middle of the song and he wanted everyone to show their horns in the air.
“Angels Don’t Kill” from 2003’s HATE CREW DEATHROLL followed and straight after came “Red Light In My Eyes pt2”. The tempo was set to “fast” right from the start and the intensity was kept throughout the entire show. Laiho said that the next song was all about him in “Hate Me!” after which the intro to “Downfall” followed which made the fans go mental. Laiho wanted the fans to scream for him in the song, which is taken from 1999’s HATEBREEDER. Laiho didn’t talk much between songs, he mostly encouraged the fans to scream or sing with him. Now it was time for Wirman to show off on keyboards and he did a piece which turned into “Everytime I Die”. It was nice to hear him doing a solo. The rest of the band did a great job together as well. All of the members are great musicians and new guitarist Freyberg completed Laiho perfectly. Laiho urged the fans to do a hate ‘n roll and that ended the song. He wanted to see everyone in the club head bang as “it doesn’t matter if you have hair or not, you can headbang anyway”. Now it was time for some “Hate Crew Deathroll” and that song woke up the majority of the people at the front of the stage as the song was longed for amongst the fans.
“Bed of Razors” followed. There wasn’t much space for the members to move around the stage. All of the members mostly stood still on their spots during the show. Laiho thanked the fans for coming and the final song for the night was “Children of Decadence”. That was another song the fans had been waiting for and another circle pit formed. I couldn’t help but be amazed by how many strong songs the band’s released during their long career. It was fun to hear them all straight after each other and I think the fans also loved what they heard this night. 70 minutes flew by really fast and the fans didn’t want the band to leave as they shouted for encores.
The band returned and the fans shouted even louder than before. The PA played an intro with a voice saying, “Your eyes are full of hate”, and “The Nail” was the first encore. Laiho thanked the fans again and asked if Malmo could take another song. “Towards Dead End” was next up and that song ended the night. The band took off their instruments and thanked the fans for the night, ending 80 minutes of CoB magic.
Again, it was an wonderful and unique thing to be a part of the amazing set list the band had prepared. It was fun to hear all the classic tunes again because they normally don’t play so many during a “normal” tour. Laiho’s voice was as great as ever, Freyberg did a great job and fit into the band perfectly. However, I thought that 80 minutes was a little too short for a headline act and wished for the band to play at least another ten minutes to hit the 90 minute mark. The band could have a more exciting back line and moved around more. Still, overall it was a good show and even though I have seen them do better shows, I’m glad I was part of this night too.
In The Shadows
Angel’s Don’t Kill
Red Light In My Eyes pt2
Everytime I Die
Hate Crew Deathroll
Bed Of Razors
Children Of Decadence
Towards Dead End