Children Of Bodom

Friday night and another curfew gig – here we go again. Despite the 5.30pm door there was a reasonable turnout to witness the first band of the night, although a disturbing trend with sound issues detracted from their, and the rest of the line-up’s, dynamics….

Machinae Supremacy received the worst deal of the night sound-wise by a considerable margin. The intro – albeit overly long – set them up well enough with its oriental and industrial flavours, but as soon as the band appeared things went downhill rapidly. The guitars had no bite, drums were tinny, and the bass was non-existent. Coupled with a vocalist of limited range and power it was a set best forgotten, although in fairness even older, more experienced, bands would have struggled. Hard night at the office fellas….

Ensiferum Ensiferum

Ensiferum were greeted with fist-pumping adulation from the word go, albeit that their sound was only a marginal improvement. Shields, crossed swords, and banners adorned the stage, and the thoughtful lighting made them appear a far slicker, and assured, outfit than the opening act. Folk, battle, and power metal influences were blended with considerable finesse, with only the sludginess of the sound detracting from what should have been a memorable (if short) performance. They possess a fine frontman who led them well, two guitarists of considerable technical ability, and a more than solid rhythm section which underpinned it all. Possessing a keyboard player to flesh their sound out even further helped too. Hopefully they will get longer on stage next time they visit.

Amon Amarth Amon Amarth

Amon Amarth, in all honesty, were the band I’d come to see tonight. An exponential increase in audience volume greeted them and they attacked their allocated time with considerable gusto. Recent interviews suggest that they aren’t too happy with the ‘Viking metal’ tag any more, although it’s the description that still sums them up most adequately. Whilst still possessing a folk and battle metal base, Amon Amarth inject considerably more venom into their music than most. When they were on song the levels of both power and groove were astonishing. There were however a couple of times in the set where the intensity dropped and they were nowhere near as compelling a unit. By this time the sound had improved, but more volume and clarity would have turned this into a killer display instead of an accomplished one.

Children Of Bodom Children Of Bodom

Children Of Bodom, to my ears at least, played one of the most tedious sets at Bloodstock last year, so ever keen to give a band a second chance here was their chance of redemption. Did they pull it off? No. Still duller than an Orc’s teeth. Which is strange because they shouldn’t be. Undoubtedly Alexi is a fine shredder who has been massively influential in pushing the boundaries of sweep picking, whilst incorporating neo-classical melody, amongst many other talents. They have a solid enough back catalogue of songs which they deliver with considerable conviction. Only problem is once you’ve heard one you’ve heard them all. The monotony of the drumming with the bias towards a double kick drum assault didn’t help, neither did the keyboard player who looked on the verge of falling asleep. Coupled with crowd addresses so expletive strewn that Wayne Rooney would have blushed (and perhaps learned a new word or two) and you’ve got a recipe for mediocrity.

Children Of Bodom

Quite frankly the highlight of their time on stage was an audience member doing a camp, semi-metal, version of dad dancing which was enthralling in its ineptitude. In their defence the staging, particularly the lighting, was the best of the night by a country mile, and with a better sound they may have stood half a chance to impress. However I suspect they are going to fall into the same category as In Flames for me – technically incredibly proficient, but aside from the odd stand out track, their sets remain an act of endurance rather than flying by.

Children Of Bodom Review by Chop

Live Gig Photos by Gobinder JhittaEmail Gobinder

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