After touring around Asia and Europe for two and a half months Children of Bodom finally brought their I Worship Chaos World Tour back to home base, playing five shows for domestic Hate Crew. Musicalypse went to Jyväskylä to see if the band was still able to stir up the chaos even with a lengthy tour behind them.
It was like a second Christmas when I finally received my copy of Children of Bodom’s new album, I Worship Chaos. The band’s ninth studio album was released in the beginning of October, heading straight to number one on the Finnish album chart. The album exceeded my expectations and thus I was more than ready to see the band performing their new songs live.
A third Christmas came when the band announced that they would be playing five gigs in Finland. The first gig in Helsinki was part of their tour with Lamb of God and Sylosis. As we all know, due to the unfortunate events in Paris, Lamb of God decided to cancel the rest of their European tour. Children of Bodom, however, carried on and played the remaining gigs with British band Sylosis. The four other shows in Finland were supported by Medeia and Ensiferum, both of whom have been touring with Children of Bodom before. Though it would have been nice to have some “newer” bands supporting Bodom, at least I could be certain that Medeia and Ensiferum would likely get the crowd ready and excited for the night’s main act.
An interesting detail regarding this Finnish tour was that the venues have gotten bigger compared to previous gigs. Instead of performing at places like Pakkahuone or Lutakko, Children of Bodom hit the stage in Tähtiareena in Tampere, Paviljonki in Jyväskylä, and SuperPark Areena in Oulu, all of which are places for organizing fairs and congresses of all kinds. I personally have very warm memories of seeing Children of Bodom in Pakkahuone in Tampere, so attending a show in a congress center did raise some mixed feelings.
Arriving at Paviljonki in Jyväskylä took the edge off my excitement and not in a good way. After the doors opened, the crowd would walk through a big hall with the cloak room and merchandise table, past the cafe and candy counter, to the next big hall with the actual stage and bar area. For a moment I was not sure if I was about to attend a metal gig or an office Christmas party where sitting on tables and enjoying beverages from the bar was the main entertainment, while some cover band would play familiar tunes on stage without anyone really paying attention. There was less than 10 meters between the stage and the fenced-off 18+ area. I could already imagine most of the crowd just standing around with beers in their hands without really giving a damn about the bands. All-in-all, the venue was a huge disappointment even before the first band of the evening had started their set. The social environment was gloomy and simply did not feel inviting. To put it briefly, Paviljonki did not give me a good first impression.
The night started with Medeia’s 30 minute set. Last time we saw them on stage was in Nummirock 2014 right after their new vocalist, Frans Aalto; had joined the band. That gig had left me with controversial feelings. Medeia was on stage just how I remembered them from last time I saw them: lots of moving around, jumping, and all-around devotion to the music and audience. There were no unnecessary breaks, with full speed from the beginning to the end. However, the venue just did not work for them. Even though the audience was almost surprisingly big – considering it was still early and they were the first of three bands performing – the crowd did not really give Medeia the welcome they might have deserved. The band would have thrived in a smaller club venue but they were just not big enough to fill the halls of Paviljonki.
The atmosphere and genre changed quite drastically when one of Finland’s biggest Viking metal bands, Ensiferum, took over the stage with their battle songs. The beginning of the gig might have been a bit slow but during Ensiferum’s set, the audience finally started to show some signs of liveliness. Hearing older favorites like “One More Magic Potion” and “Lai Lai Hei” certainly gave the crowd the kick they needed. Throughout the show, a few enthusiastic fans asked the band rather loudly to play their song “Iron,” which was finally heard as the last song on their set list. This proved to be a top-notch choice, since the song is rather famous for the singalong – or shoutalong – part, “tättädädää”. This part was practiced beforehand with the band, so when the time came, the audience in Jyväskylä could give their own contribution to the gig. By the end, Ensiferum had delivered a solid gig that got the crowd warm and ready for the main act.
Finally it was time for the evening’s main performer. The gig started with “Are You Dead Yet?” and “In Your Face,” which were perfect songs to get the crowd excited and shouting along with the choruses. Children of Bodom played a nice range of songs from all of their albums except for one. For some reason, nothing was heard from Relentless Reckless Forever, which I found a bit surprising. Those preferring the older material got pampered with songs like “Lake Bodom,” “Everytime I Die,” and “Hate Me!”
Being the I Worship Chaos World Tour promoting Bodom’s new album, it was a bit of a disappointment that the band chose to play only three songs from the record: the title track, “Morrigan,” and “I Hurt.” No complaints on those particular choices, but I personally would have hoped for more new songs. Then again, with bands like Children of Bodom who have a long career with many good albums and songs to choose from, it likely gets difficult to compile a setlist that will satisfy the fans whether they prefer the older or newer material. Still, I hope in the future they’ll add some other songs from I Worship Chaos to their set list in the future.
Towards the end the crowd managed to pull off pretty some good moshpits, but throughout the gig I could not shrug the feeling that the audience did not quite give their all even though the bands on stage were trying their best. Although, to be fair, the audience did sing along quite nicely to “Hate Crew Deathroll,” which for me is “the” Bodom -song. Hearing the fans shouting “we’re the hate crew, we stand, and we won’t fall” carries that special something, a feeling of unity of sorts.
The evening’s hit parade got its perfect ending with encore songs “Needled 24/7” and “Downfall.” The latter is one of the regulars on Bodom’s set list and is guaranteed to make the crowd go wild. After the encore, there was one happy and exhausted looking band on stage when the outro song, Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)” started playing. After this, there was one more gig to go on this tour before a well-deserved break.
When it comes to the overall performance of the band, the Bodom guys deserve a solid 8. From my point of view, the long tour did not seem to affect the performance but the audience could have been a bit livelier. One has to also acknowledge the great job Antti Wirman has done as a substitute for second guitarist. The rumors are saying that the new guitarist who will replace Roope Latvala, who left the band last spring, will be revealed in the beginning of next year, an announcement I bet many are eagerly waiting for. Hopefully Children of Bodom will do a couple of summer festivals in Finland as well so that we’ll get to see the new guy in action as soon as possible.
01. Are You Dead Yet?
02. In Your Face
04. Halo of Blood
05. I Hurt
06. Everytime I Die
07. Bodom Beach Terror
08. Hate Me!
09. Lake Bodom
11. I Worship Chaos
12. Angels Don’t Kill
13. Silent Night, Bodom Night
14. Hate Crew Deathroll
15. Bodom After Midnight
16. Needled 24/7
Text: Essi Nummi | Photos: Eliza Rask | Ed: Amy Wiseman