Children of Bodom

support Cannibal Corpse + Diablo
author NB date 19/02/09 venue Forum, London, UK

With the recent demise of the London Astoria operations seem to have been relocated to the Islington Academy and the London Forum in Kentish Town. The Islington venue (being smaller than the Astoria) caters for the low-profile tours whilst Kentish Town gets shows like this one. AP and I had only managed to secure balcony seats for the show but, from this perspective at least, I can say that this venue is far better than the Astoria ever was. Add this to the quick queue and it more than makes up for the fact that the venue is bloody miles away!

Diablo

Diablo would have a hard job to win over a crowd disgruntled from an interminable wait for the gig to start, and actually they didn't do a bad job. It came as a surprise to me to find that this Finnish melodeath act was refreshingly technical and at least somewhat original. My accomplice and I were struggling to draw comparisons between this and other bands in the genre. The best I could come up with was to label them as a mixture of Dark Tranquillity and Kalmah whereas AP was adamant that he could hear some Iron Maiden in there somewhere. In my opinion, this can only be a good thing. The vocals were a slight letdown for the band, but the fact that they looked like they were really enjoying a laid-back jam session, standing in a little circle-of-shred on stage, made the set far more interesting than most apathetic warm-up acts.

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Cannibal Corpse

During the interval the Cannibal Corpse logo was unveiled to inexplicably wild cheers and I spent the first half of their set trying to work out why. Admittedly not the biggest fan of the genre, I was wondering what people saw in a live show consisting of track after track of death-metal background music. Many of Cannibal Corpse's songs have generic riffs and distorted sound that is the staple of the death metal repertoire. It's not impossible to enjoy these songs live but it is impossible for anyone but a true fan to tell them apart. Suddenly, however, the set went from monotonous to hilarious. "This song is about shooting blood from your cock!" announced Corpsegrinder cheerfully; and, instead of seeking medical attention immediately, he went on: "I Cum Blood", before launching into that happy little number. Next up "a song for the ladies" came in the form of "Fucked With A Knife". Now I see the attraction of this band, and it's not just because the songs in this half of the set are varied and interesting, it's because this band is a complete joke (even if they don't know it themselves). At the end of the set AP and I turned to each other with the same thought: "that was entertainment, if nothing else".

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Children of Bodom

You know when you are talking to someone and you aren’t really paying attention to what they are saying but keep glancing impatiently over their shoulder? I had the same sort of feeling during the Cannibal Corpse set. Whilst the show was good, every time a bright white light flashed on it illuminated ghostly COBHC lettering behind the Cannibal Corpse backdrop. It was like the flash of lightning which gives the audience of a B-rate slasher movie a momentary glimpse of the killer: a taste of the more exciting things to come. For tonight's audience that excitement was Children of Bodom.

I think it is safe to say that this was a feeling held by many people that night because suddenly everyone who had been seated throughout the first two acts stood up. Children of Bodom came on stage and struck up my least favourite song from the latest album: "Hellhounds On My Trail". I had been worried that their performance would be a disappointment after having seen the final song of what looked to have been a fairly wooden support set at the Slipknot show last year. Pretty much instantly this fear was assuaged. Apart from the bass being way too high and the occasional screw-up by Alexi and Janne which only the most diehard fan (i.e. me) would notice, the show was pretty breathtaking. Aside from Laiho being about as frenetic as you can be when playing guitar and screaming, the set list was a well planned selection of material from the band's entire discography resulting in a very varied performance.

Incidentally the COBHC backdrop that I mentioned earlier turned out to be the coolest one I've ever seen. It was some sort of luminescent text on a transparent curtain with various images ("Roy" the reaper, for example) on another curtain behind. I guess you had to see it to understand! So, after the band's usual trick of ending a song halfway through (in this case "Children of Decadence") and jumping into "Bodom After Midnight" without any pause and of course wrapping up the set with "Downfall", I was pretty satisfied with the show. The band then returned to the stage for an encore: "great", I thought, "there’s no Bodom like more Bodom." But only a few bars into "Bed of Razors" the keyboard and bass disappeared from the mix and Janne timidly informed Laiho, who was still mid-shred, that something had gone wrong. It was left to him to inform the angry mob that someone in the crowd had thrown their beer on the mixer ending the show there and then. He encouraged us to kill this person. So let me suggest for the future: DON'T THROW YOUR FUCKING BEER AROUND (even if it is Carling and that's really all it's good for). I certainly don't like getting wet and neither, apparently, does music!

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Setlist:

01. Hellhounds On My Trail

02. Living Deadbeat

03. Sixpounder

04. Silent Night Bodom Night

05. Banned From Heaven

06. Hate Me!

07. Children Of Decadence / Bodom After Midnight

08. Follow The Reaper

09. Blooddrunk

10. In Your Face

11. Angels Don't Kill

12. Lake Bodom / Bodom Beach Terror

13. Downfall

--Encore--

14. Bed Of RazzzZZ..zzz...z!~@#z..

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