Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Something Wild, CHILDREN OF BODOM have kicked off a tour in celebration of the milestone. Joining them are Canadian metallers ONI and the Danish outfit FOREVER STILL. We caught their show at Manchester Academy to see how they got on.
Bursting onto the stage, ONI takes point and opens the show amazingly well. Their blend of technical progressive metal is a welcome opening, blasting material off their debut album, Ironshore, including The Only Cure. Vocalist Jake executed growls and cleans with apparent ease, engaging with the audience and humbly thanking them at every opportunity. Johnny DeAngelis brings the xylophone into the modern era with the xylosynth, creating a whole new sound that ONI have taken and made truly special. The band brought an awesome amount of energy to the stage from the onset, making it very difficult to find fault. Considering the band are still in their early days, Ironshore only having been released next year, ONI are definitely one to watch, especially in a live format.
Second onto the stage were Danish alternative metallers FOREVER STILL, fronted by vocalist Maja Shining. Right off the bat, the band’s stage presence must be complimented. All members interacted brilliantly with the audience, displaying great energy and lighting to hype up the crowd as they blasted tracks such as Awake the Fire. Bassist Mikkel Haastrup dominated the stage, hitting his bass in a DOYLE-like fashion. Crushing riffs and more melodic sections kept the blood pumped Maja blew the crowd away with breathtaking vocals that were simultaneously beautiful and aggressive. The odd flat note here and there (very rare during the performance) didn’t even slightly dent their otherwise solid performance, which has really reinforced FOREVER STILL’s continuing rise in the metal scene since their conception in 2013. One aspect of FOREVER STILL’s set that was unexpectedly impressive was the lighting, which really added to the atmosphere of the set. FOREVER STILL brought a mix of hard-hitting, anthemic tracks with an abundance of energy, and were an excellent warmup for the crowd before CHILDREN OF BODOM, as reflected in the pits that were created from the band.
Entering to a cacophony of roars from the audience CHILDREN OF BODOM burst on stage with almost as much energy as the crowd. Shooting straight into the classic Deadnight Warrior, the band did not hold back in delivering what made them real contenders in the metal scene. 20 years on, the songs from Something Wild and Follow the Reaper are just as devastating as they once were, but this time they have the added flavour of nostalgia to accompany them. Frontman Alexi Laiho engaged with the crowd incredibly well, occasionally teasing them before bursting into Hate Me, and delivering the crushing riffs CHILDREN OF BODOM are known for. Drummer Jaska Raatikainen kept everyone’s chest thumping throughout the whole set, delivering a top performance. Keyboardist Janne Wirman and bassist Henkka Blacksmith were relatively static during the performance, however they played brilliantly. Janne especially was crucial for delivering part of CHILDREN OF BODOM’s signature sound, with their heavy keyboard-laden tracks, which was done brilliantly.
Rather abruptly, CHILDREN OF BODOM exit the stage before returning to triumphant roars from the crowd for an incredible encore. Heralding The Nail and Towards Dead End, CHILDREN OF BODOM finished their set with finesse and an incredible light display, making it all the more memorable. The only potential criticism of CHILDREN OF BODOM’s set is that, except for Alexi, the band didn’t interact with the audience a whole lot, which made for a kind of disconnection between the band and the audience. This was only a minor issue, however, as Alexi’s charm and energy played a large part in the enjoyment of the show, and really engaged the audience with the band. To sum it up, CHILDREN OF BODOM delivered an excellent night of Finnish metal nostalgia, unifying fans both old and new for an incredible night in metal. For celebrating 20 years since the band’s first full album, all bands pulled out the stops to deliver 110%, and CHILDREN OF BODOM gave the tracks off Something Wild and Follow the Reaper full justice. Their support, ONI and FOREVER STILL, kept up to the high standard of the main act, making the whole evening thoroughly enjoyable and memorable.
Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography here: