CHILDREN OF BODOM with guests ONI and FOREVER STILL
Manchester Academy 2 – 11 March 2017
Children of Bodom return to Manchester to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Something Wild, as well as deeper cuts from their early discography, while bringing Oni and Forever Still as support. Children of Bodom have always brought along interesting support bands for most of their UK tours and this was no exception.
Performing first was Oni, a relatively new progressive metal band from Canada who released their debut album, Ironshorevia Metal Blade records, and based on their performance are destined to become significant figures in Prog-Metal; think Meshuggah meets Dream Theater and you have Oni.
The second band was Forever Still, another newcomer and while the band definitely have an appeal similar to Lacuna Coil, I can’t help but feel that they were somewhat out of place opening for Children of Bodom. They put on a highly energised show and will most likely have some success in the future as a mainstream rock band, but many of the songs were simplistic and repetitive, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not what you would expect to hear at a Children of Bodom concert.
Children of Bodom have had a significant change in sound, promoting a more straightforward brand of Melodic Death Metal over the past decade which has worked in their favour and helped gain a wider following. However, this 20th anniversary show focused entirely on the first four albums which is perfect for fans of the original Neo-Classical Shred influenced sound.
The first two tracks of the set were from their debut record, Something Wild, and it is immediately apparent why this band is so well-respected in the metal scene, everything about these songs are awe-inspiring; the intensity in Alexi Laiho’s voice, the screaming Yngwie Malmsteen influenced guitar solos, the breakneck blast beats, and the lead keyboard skills of the criminally underrated Janne Wirman.
With a few exceptions, the set was surprising and gave Children of Bodom an excuse to play some deep cuts, including songs that have never been played live prior to this tour or simply haven’t been played in years, most notably are “Red Light in my Eyes Part 2,” “The Nail,” and “In the Shadows,” songs that longtime fans would never expect to hear live again and might never hear after this tour.
It would be understandable for fans to question whether or not lead guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho can still play some of the older songs due to their demanding nature, but there were very few instances where Alexi was off point and there were few moments more impressive than the guitar/keyboard solo from “Downfall,” the Neo-Classical influence is at its clearest but at no point does the band seem to be trying too hard to blow people away with their skills – it is completely effortless.
While this tour was short, the band has never sounded better and will provide listeners with confidence in the future for Children of Bodom.