Friday, March 28, 2014

Children of Bodom at Irving Plaza

Friends since early childhood in Espoo, Finland, Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho and Jaska Raatikainen shared an interest in heavy metal, especially death metal groups. They formed a melodic death metal trio called Inearthed in 1993, but had little success until renaming the band Children of Bodom, recruiting new members and releasing a debut album in 1997. The band went on to become Finland's most successful music act and Laiho's speedy guitar technique has achieved international acclaim. Readers of Total Guitar voted Laiho the greatest metal guitarist of all time and Metal Hammer magazine voted Laiho the world's best guitarist of 2006. Guitar World magazine ranked Laiho among the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time, and also ranked him as one of the 50 fastest guitarists in the world. Laiho also received the Dimebag Award for "Best Shredder" at the 2008 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. The group currently consists of Laiho (vocals, guitar), Roope Latvala (guitar), Janne Wirman (keyboards), Henkka Seppälä (bass), and Raatikainen (drums). Children of Bodom has released eight studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, two compilation albums and one DVD. The most recent album, Halo of Blood, became available in 2013.

At the first of two headlining nights at Irving Plaza tonight, fans chanted "Bodom, Bodom, Bodom" as the lights dimmed. Children of Bodom took the stage and began pounding "Sixpounder." Laiho strapped on his guitar, chugged some beer and then sprayed it into the audience from his mouth. Immediately, the crowd surfing became so relentless that within 10 minutes, security guards prematurely cleared the photo pit out of safety concerns. The music continued at the same power and intensity. The 16-song set, which included brutal crushers "Hatecrew Deathroll" and "Blooddrunk," was performed at a frantic pace, yet remained melodic. The band borrowed from many similar musical styles, particularly death metal, thrash metal, symphonic black metal, neoclassical metal, power metal, nu-metal and even industrial metal. Laiho often growled rough vocals, then stepped away from the microphone to focus on playing fast and furious guitar licks while the band thrashed behind him. The spotlight repeatedly gravitated on the guitar playing, which showcased a versatility that accented a twin guitar sound similar to Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, followed by Laiho moving forward with Michael Schenker or Yngwie Malmsteen-influenced technical skills. Wirman often then mellowed the overall sound on his keyboards with a loud and commanding power-metal gloss; this softened the abrasive thrust incited everywhere else on the stage. This balanced sense of melody and coarseness operating simultaneously within any given song made Children of Bodom stand out from among the many grunting, head-crushing bands on the metal scene.

Visit Children of Bodom at