This past Monday, Finland’s melodic death legends Children of Bodom played to a large crowd of "most likely hungover from St. Patrick's Day" fans at St. Andrew's Hall (weird, two Saints in one sentence) in Detroit. With a career spanning over 25 years, Children of Bodom this time made their way to the States in support of their tenth studio album Hexed, and much like past US tours, they've brought along an interesting slate of supporting acts.
Performing first was Hollow Cry, a Spanish metalcore band hailing from Lleida who released their debut album, From Ashes to Flames via Into Records, and though metalcore isn't really my cup of tea when it comes to my taste in metal, I can appreciate the band's effort and dedication to delivering a solid performance. If you're a fan of bands like As I Lay Dying or Killswitch Engage, check them out!
Up next was Wolfheart, a Finnish death metal band from Myrskylä (to be confused with the now defunct Wolfheart from Raahe) who recently released their fourth full album Constellation of the Blacklight on Napalm Records. To be honest, I hadn't heard of Wolfheart until this tour was announced. Upon looking into the band, I found myself enjoying their sound and looking forward to experiencing it live. Cutting to the chase, Wolfheart really got the blood pumping when they took the stage, putting on a highly energized show that got the crowd moving. Their unique sound and catchy riffs really made for an enjoyable experience. I believe that very soon, they will be headlining their own world tour. Check them out if you're a fan of bands like Insomnium or Amon Amarth.
Rounding out the supporting acts was the Finnish (yes, three Finnish bands on this tour!) death-doom metal band, Swallow the Sun. I had been a fan of Swallow the Sun for many years before this show but never had the opportunity to see them perform live. Needless to say, I was looking forward to their set. The band released their seventh album When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light earlier this year via Century Media Records. As fans of Swallow the Sun know, the band has such an interesting variation of sounds, and I was worried that wouldn't translate well to a live performance, but my concerns were immediately swept away within the first song. Several fans sang along and were in awe of their talents, myself included. The guys played several tracks off their newer album, in addition to fan favorites, and as far as the band’s live sound goes, Swallow The Sun showcased top class musicianship. A must-see band if you are ever presented with the opportunity to do so.
Finally came the moment hundreds of fans had been waiting for, the lights dimmed, the crowd roared and the mighty Children of Bodom took the stage, kicking their set off with a favorite track, "Are You Dead Yet?" from their 2005 album of the same name. The band quickly went into "Under Grass and Clover", a track from their newest Hexed. After the first two tracks, vocalist and main guitarist Alexi Laiho talked to the crowd, thanking everyone for coming out the show on a Monday and more-so the day after St. Patrick's Day. Alexi then asked the crowd if they were ready for another classic track, and following an excited yell of assurance from fans, the chugging into of "In Your Face" commenced. The very much appreciated lengthy set was full of fan favorites like "Everytime I Die", "Angels Don't Kill" and "If You Want Peace...Prepare For War", in addition to a few new tracks, including the hit single "This Road" and "Platitudes and Barren Words". I must say, the new tracks perfectly blended with all the older tracks that comprised the fantastic setlist. As a fan of Children of Bodom for many, many years now, I couldn't have been more satisfied with their performance. Alexi's vocals and guitar work were spot on, Janne Wirman absolutely melted faces with every single keyboard solo, the entire band as a whole really nailed their parts. I also very much enjoyed the band's chemistry and hilarious banter in between songs, it's always nice to see a band, especially one that's been around for decades, still enjoying themselves on stage. It's easily apparent why Children of Bodom continue to remain so well-respected in the metal scene.
One of the fondest memories of my middle/high school years is sitting around with all of my metalhead friends and watching our favorite band DVDs, one of those being Children of Bodom's Chaos Ridden Years, and now, all these years later, seeing the band was honestly a dream come true. If you've never been able to see this band play live before, you're truly missing out. The guys in Children of Bodom really know how to put on a great show and they're certainly a must-see act for any extreme metal fan!
Check out the remaining tour dates to see if they're coming to a town near you!