CHILDREN OF BODOM – A CHAPTER CALLED CHILDREN OF BODOM – FAREWELL GIG
THE 15TH OF DECEMBER 2019
ICE HALL, HELSINKI, FINLAND
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
Children Of Bodom has been one of the most important and influential metal bands from Finland for three decades. Their debut album SOMETHING WILD was released in 1997 by Spinefarm and Nuclear Blast and caused an incredible fuss in the metal media and among the metal fans.
The band started as InEarthed in the early ’90s, and soon they inked a deal with a label from Belgium. However, the PR guy of Spinefarm had fortunately realized the talents of the Bodom guys and literally rescued them from a catastrophic deal commitment. Their debut gig as Children Of Bodom dated on the 31st of October 1997 by supporting Dimmu Borgir at Lepakko Helsinki. During their career of 25 years, the “Bodom HateCrew” has released ten studio albums, plus several live and complication releases. All those albums will remain at the highest level of the metal genre. The band will stay as one of the most successful metal bands coming out of Finland.
The band’s career has been ascending since SOMETHING WILD was released and gained a loyal and even fanatical die-hard fanbase worldwide. In November of 2019, after nearly 25 years of chaos and heavy touring, the band surprisingly announced that Bodom would call its quits at the end of 2019. This news was shocking, and most fans were more than surprised. What makes the band decision even more difficult to accept is the fact that earlier this year, the band released the album HEXED. Both critics and fans loved the record, and it’s been widely said that it’s one of the band’s strongest releases to date.
Therefore witnessing the last gig of Children Of Bodom became quite a mandatory thing to catch. As said before, the announcement was entirely unexpected, as the five-piece had already been scheduled to play at the forthcoming Tuska Festival the next summer. Of course, that show was scrapped for obvious reasons.
The band spent most of the year on tour around the world, supporting HEXED. Before the last show, COB embarked on the final tour consisting of eight shows in different cities here in Finland. This final show or, in fact, the chapter had been named “A Chapter Called Children of Bodom” to close the era of 25 years. The original plan was that the gig in Ice Hall was supposed to be limited to 3000. Still, when the farewell announcement was released, the interest in the concert became tremendous, so there were more tickets available for this show.
The farewell gig was kicked off by a pair of songs taken from the latest HEXED album. “Under Grass and Clover” and ”Platitudes and Barren Words” opened the show. The classic “In Your Face” and less performed “Shove Knockout” followed, and the band sounded as tight as well. The set-list pretty much covered every Bodom album. It was put well together, with no annoying or dull moments. The group hammered down the classic Bodom songs mixed with newer material. If, and when, there are serious internal problems within the band members, it didn’t affect their playing. The band sounded brilliant without losing an inch in the notes. Alexi Laiho, and the band’s newest addition Daniel Freyberg, played perfectly together, and it was easy to see that the guitarist dual had the specific chemistry on stage together. Laiho and Freyberg will continue playing together after Bodom has been put into the grave, so it’s going to interesting to see what will happen in the future.
The keyboard player Janne Wirman’s eccentric and pointless comments were odd and funny throughout the show. Of course, I don’t know for sure, but I have a strong guess that “somebody had put something on his drink.” But as said, it didn’t affect his playing, and his comments probably only helped the band go through the show under the circumstances which were, what they were. Bassist Henkka Blacksmith and drummer Jaska Raatikainen played as tight as ever through the show, but maybe there was less communication between them and Laiho for apparent reasons.
I’m sure that one thing that many fans were expecting to see at least some of the former band members with the band on stage. In fact, Roope Latvala was present in the audience, but he was not invited to play ex-colleagues one more time. The original guitarist Alexander Kuoppala was not seen, but maybe he was there as well? So, there were no ex-members or other special guests at this show. That was a little bit disappointing, but what was also surprising was that the show was really stripped down. There were no pyros or other fireworks onstage. The Bodom has usually invested and put a lot of effort into having remarkable good-looking shows. Also, many fans were looking after something extraordinary, “the last show” merchandise, like signed posters, etc., but there was nothing available.
The audience lived up to the music and playing of the band. Even the people being in the front broke into tears. The crowd followed and enjoyed the gig. Several pits and wall-of-deaths broke out several times on the floor. The best crowd reactions were seen when the band played the encores: “Hate Me!”, “Cate Crew Deathroll,” “Lake Bodom,” and the last song, “Downfall.” The 90-minute set was over. The band thanked and left the stage one by one. Of course, Alexi Laiho thanked the band for all these years. Instead, Jaska Raatikainen personally thanked the audience and fans for all these years and said he would miss this. After the band was long gone, the audience stayed for a long time and kept chanting Bodom and demanding more songs. It didn’t help.
After the show, we had some mixed feelings. Was it really over ?! The guys are in their 40’s, and they still have a lot to offer. They have, however, announced continuing in the music business in a way or another. But there are a lot of unsolved questions; Will there be a reunion one day !? Will they bury the hatchet ?! The time shall tell…At this point, the current version of Children Of Bodom has ceased to exist. The farewell and the ending of Bodom came out of the blue for both the band and the management. They had plans to retire, but a year later. Apparently, they must have had plans to have a gigantic way of ending a long career, but it wasn’t supposed to happen now. By now, we know that each member of the band will continue their musical career, not together, but in different projects. As for Alexi, Laiho will definitely carry on playing the Bodom hymns, but under a different moniker.
Thank you, Children, Of Bodom, for all these years and the great music!
Under Grass and Clover
Platitudes and Barren Words
In Your Face
Bodom Beach Terror
Every time I Die
Halo of Blood
Are You Dead Yet?
I Worship Chaos
Angels Don’t Kill
Follow the Reaper
Hate Crew Deathroll