I’ll never forget the first time I saw Finnish metal legends Children of Bodom in concert nearly ten years ago when they stopped by Quebec City as part of the Unholy Alliance Tour. Even though they were playing before giants like Lamb of God and Slayer, the reception they got from the crowd was unforgettable. The band has always enjoyed a great relationship with the metal loving crowd in the province, and last Friday’s show was no exception.
Coming right off the Dystopia Tour in support of Megadeth, Denver Colorado’s trash metal outfit Havok were in support of Bodom for the night. As the only opening act, they got to play for nearly one hour, much to the delight of the crowd. Everything from Havok’s simple, black-and-white logo hanging on a banner to the band’s stage setup with Flying V and Jackson guitars screamed 80s trash metal and the crowd seemed to love it. Having been around since 2004, the band has enjoyed some good critical response for their last two albums, Time is Up and Unnatural Selection, yet they haven’t hit the mainstream metal scene just yet. Their performance at the Corona Theater, as well as a slot at this year’s Heavy MTL Festival will definitely help them break through in the Canadian market as the band was well received, even considering that the crowd was probably saving their moshing for the headliners. With cuts like “Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Death” and “Worse Than War,” Havok could have just as easily supported Megadeth on tour back in 1986 when the released the Peace Sells album. Lead singer David Sanchez took time to thank the crowd, and also gave us his thoughts on the state of the world, with a very anti-greed and anti-corruption theme to his speech. It wasn’t overdone, and it added to the political trash metal lyrics and overall vide of the band.
The sold out Corona Theater was buzzing with anticipation as the COBHC banner was lifted and the lights dimmed to the sound of some droning synths, signaling the entrance of Children of Bodom. Alexi Laiho walked out with his arms spread out to his side as he spat a cloud of water (or beer?) aimed at the ceiling (much to the delight of the nearly 1000 people in attendance). “Are You Dead Yet” opened up the set followed by “In Your Face” and the band’s latest single “Morrigan.” Laiho then took some time to thank the crowd, and explained how the Megadeth tour had ended the night before in Quebec City’s new Videotron Center arena, but that the band insisted that they make a stop to Montreal. The crowd cheered mightily before Bodom launched into “Everytime I Die” followed by a couple of older tracks including “Follow The Reaper” and the performance staple, “Hate Me.” They came back to some of their more recent material with “Blooddrunk” and “I Worship Chaos” before returning to classics like “Angels Don’t Kill.” Concert favourite “Bodom After Midnight” had everyone singing to the chorus. I was personally a little disappointed that the only cuts they played from the Hatecrew Death Roll album were the title track and the aforementioned “Angel’s Don’t Kill,” as it is by far their best and most well-known record; but that is really just nitpicking, as the set was still well-balanced between older classics and their newer material.
After having exited the stage, Bodom came back for a rousing “Lake Bodom” and ended with the venerable “Downfall.” The many crowd surfers and moshers in the front section no doubt got what they wanted from the band, even if the reaction from some attendees afterwards was that it was a little “by the numbers.” Bodom still delivered their unique blend of technically virtuosic melodic metal with just the right amount of humour and beer chugging on stage to make me want to come back whenever they decide to drop by.
Written by Ben Massicotte
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson