Children Of Bodom – Academy 2, Manchester 14/10/13

I’ll quite happily admit that when I first noticed that Children Of Bodom were touring the UK, I booked my ticket mainly on the strength of Medeia supporting, so it was quite disappointing to get inside the venue five minutes after the doors had been opened to discover they were already playing. Whilst it was obvious there was a lot to get through due to there being four bands on the bill, it did seem rather unfair to get things moving whilst the crowd was still filtering inside – especially as later on in the night, there was a 30 minute changeover for Children Of Bodom with a spare ten minutes at the end where there was just an empty stage as the crowd waited for the band to come on!

Saying that, Medeia did put on an awesome show despite their miserly designated set duration of not even 25 minutes. The sound quality definitely wasn’t the best (although it wasn’t amazing for any of the bands) as you couldn’t even hear keyboardist Laura’s vocals and everything seemed a little distorted as a whole, but the band didn’t let this put them off and they powered through a great set all the same. Keijo was an incredible frontman and one of the highlights of their set was when their guitarist Samuli climbed down off the stage and performed in the area between the barrier and the stage!

Their best song of the night was Cold Embrace, which packed an even bigger punch live than it does on CD and the tracks they chose to represent their upcoming album Iconoclastic, in particular Prophecy and their new single Misery Kills (which they recently released a video for) worked a lot better in a live environment. Medeia are clearly a band that has a massive emphasis on their live performances and it’s just a shame that they weren’t properly given time to shine due to their miniscule set – maybe next time I’ll get to see them for longer!

Up next was Insomnium, who also put on a strong and powerful performance, going down very well with the crowd. They sounded nice and tight, and really absorbed in the music they played, which was great to see, and there were a fair few heads banging along to them by the end! Admittedly I’m not incredibly familiar with this band and some of their songs were a little similar to one another, but it was an impressive performance from this Finnish fourpiece, all the same.

Napalm Death could easily be earmarked as the ‘odd band out’ on this otherwise all-Finnish tour lineup, but this show wouldn’t have even been half as good without them there and they had a humongous circle pit going by the time the opening chords of the second song of the night rang out! It was a treat to see them playing on a larger stage for a change, as they can usually be found playing in some tiny little sweathole on the UK underground circuit, and they took full advantage of the extra space. In particular, frontman Barney is such a character and completely owned the stage from start to finish.

With a set full of old and new songs alike, they treated the crowd to a good chunk of songs from their latest release Utilitarian but it was of course their older stuff that garnered the biggest reaction and the whole room went crazy when they began play Scum and naturally their track You Suffer (billed as ‘the epic’ by Barney) was greeted by a humongous roar of cheers!

It was fairly obvious that Children Of Bodom wouldn’t quite top the might of Napalm Death, but they were still on top form all the same as they arrived onstage to repeated chants of “Bodom!” and kicked off with a new song before going back to 2003’s Needled 24/7.

Something that struck me as odd about their set was the fact they played exactly zero songs from their previous album Reckless, Relentless Forever – not even the two singles from it, which was extremely disappointing. However, it was utterly fantastic to see they’d added Lake Bodom back to their set, which in my opinion is one of their strongest songs to date.

One of the things that was great to see was the amount of ‘togetherness’ Children Of Bodom have. There was a lot of interaction between members and it really added a lot to the performance as there’s nothing worse than going to see a band and having them just stand there playing the songs, keeping themselves to themselves!

They closed with In Your Face, rounding off what was an all-round decent night. It was a shame that their setlist was a little lacking – aside from the lack of anything from Reckless, Relentless Forever, they didn’t even play Hate Me! – but sometimes you can’t have everything.

8/10

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About Natalie Humphries 1780 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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