Tickets for this show sold faster than hotcakes at a County Fair and how could this not be the case when you were putting new sensations Gojira and Viking Warriors of Metal Amon Amarth together with Children Of Bodom. Bodom or CoB as their fans are known to refer to them has been proving on a regular basis that they are indeed one of the most exciting bands of our time. Their shows are nothing less than energetic, exhilarating and just an overall damned good time. Here are some thoughts of the evening.
Read on for Ken Pierce and Pete Pardo's full review of the Nokia show!
Ken Pierce-The show was kicked off by Sanctity who recently came off an opening slot on Gigantour. It's a great move for their career to have done a tour like that and then to open up for CoB just shows that they are considered a quality brand of Metal. We missed most of their set this time around, but I am sure they will be back very soon. Their debut album is due in 2007 on Roadrunner Records. Gojira would come up next and this is a band that is set to impress. If you are a fan of Mastodon and music that rolls along their style then you will enjoy them. Hailing from France, these rockers performed a tight and interesting set that would focus on material from their album "From Mars To Sirius". I really took notice of the crowd enjoying them and feel that we shall see a lot of good things coming from them in the future. Keep your eyes out for them, and grab that album which comes to you on Prosthetic Records – it's a keeper.
As their opening music came across the venue speakers Amon Amarth arrived like the Viking Warriors that they are. A thunderous opener of "Valhal Awaits Me" shot the point home very early in the audience who greeted the band with raised fists and horns. Their latest release With Oden On Our Side is a great follow up to The Fate Of Norns and is an album that should be able to bring an entirely new group of fans to their cause. Lead singer Johan Clegg is definitely a serious individual and there he stood, shirtless and well-bearded with a horn slung from his belt. Those that have seen the band walking around after their sets might have seen him drinking from this in the past. His growls through every song drove the point home again and again. If you have not heard the new recording, its really a recommendation as it employs their classic Death Metal style with songs about Viking lore, but this time around there is a stronger sense of classic Metal that I think reaches a larger demographic. I was happy to see them get the reception that they did.
It was not long before Children Of Bodom would hit the stage and what I have enjoyed bearing witness to was their continual rise as far as the size of the venues they have hit when appearing on this side of the Atlantic. My own earliest memory would be L'Amour and B.B. Kings where they were openers, to Irving Plaza and now Nokia Theatre where they would very rightfully headline. It was also interesting to recall that the band performed at Irving Plaza a little over a year to the day of this show and this particular run of shows had Amon Amarth featured as part of the package. Bodom last arrived to support Are You Dead Yet, and while this tour is still underway, the band has added the release of both a CD and DVD from this tour entitled Stockholm Knockout, an incredible concert recording that literally brings you down to the front row, the photo pit and on to the stage during a Bodom gig. As far as video concerts go this one really drove the point home and made you feel as though you were experiencing a show firsthand in person. It was also great to find this show so to be sold out so quickly and while you might find that to be an odd comment based on the status of the band worldwide – you have to admit that not every group fills the room as easily as CoB manages to do. Lead singer/guitarist Alexi Laiho definitely goes down in the record books as one of the most interesting and exciting front people in Metal today. He is unrelenting in his delivery and drive and seems to have a never depleting supply of energy, which he demonstrates by running all around the stage when he has the chance to do so. It all boils up as he is singing and you can almost feel that he is just aching to run off to some other part of the stage and incite the crowd even more. Much of the set would be the same as the last time around and that was fine with me since it was a very solid set of tunes. Musically the band crosses the line of Neo-Classical, blends it with Progressive and adds just a twist of Death Metal to it for a fine cocktail of Metal that is not too easy to forget. Most of the audience knew the words to the songs tonight and you know that always works for the performer. The acoustics of the Nokia Theatre are incredible so you know that they heard what was going on down in the front very easily up on the stage. The selling out of this venue brings the information that about 2000 people attended and while I would love to see them climb higher in terms of venue, I think this is probably the biggest audience they have performed for on their own in this part of the world. The stage décor was primarily amps and equipment but the group did have a very massive and KISS-like COB logo flashing behind them. It was the only part that I felt did not work for them, since they are not a band about images and more about Metal delivery. It looked cool but I feel it would not have been missed at all if they dropped it from their stage setup.
The ever-climbing status of this band has been incredible to follow and the fact that the legions turn out repeatedly is a good sign for this music. I would love to see CoB be a part of the next Gigantour more than an Ozzfest so let's cross our fingers. Alexi asks the question "Are You Dead Yet?" and judging by the audience reactions to his words the answer is a resounding "Hell No!!!!". Check out the DVD if this sparks you, as it is something that you would enjoy.
Pete Pardo-on paper this looked to be a very strong metal bill, and it totally turned out to be the case at the venue that evening. While we didn't get to see openers Sanctity, thankfully our crew was able to get in just in time for the set of France's Gojira. This band exuded such power on stage, such a sense of class, that they were the surprise of the evening. If you've heard their latest CD From Mars to Sirius, you already know that this is one talented band, but live they commanded the entire audience at the Nokia, and folks who had never heard them were instant fans. Dark, brooding music, with heavy, angular riffs (think of a slower Mastodon perhaps, mixed with some King Crimson and ISIS), tortured vocals, and pounding rhythms, basically a wall of sound that shakes the earth. Most in the audience were screaming for more, but after a fairly short set, the stage was ready for the return of the Vikings.
Amon Amarth are hot on the heels of their With Oden On Our Siderelease, and played a healthy dose of that album as well as some older classics. The mentality of this band is to go out, pummel the audience with their brand of Viking death metal, and take no prisoners. Needless to say they did it well, as always, on this night. Singer Johan is a sight to behold, proudly showing his ample bellow, long flowing blond locks and beard, bellowing out menacing growls that tell tales of might battles and tragic sea adventures. It's all in good fun, and the fans love them, as the sea of humanity that was the mosh pit in front of the stage raged like a stormy ocean throughout their set. We spoke to drummer Fredrik Andersson before the show, and he mentioned that the band was extremely happy to be on such a solid tour, but they looked forward to going home to Sweden for a bit of rest before launching out for a bunch of European shows as well as the summer festival circuit.
Children of Bodom are quickly becoming one of the most popular metal acts on the scene, as each trip to New York City sees more and more fans attending and the band is easily selling out each venue they book. Now, with a sellout at the Nokia, one of the largest of the mid-tier venues in New York City, the only options left for next time would seem to be Roseland Ballroom or The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Each one holds in excess of 3,000 people, and would be suitable for these rising stars. Playing all the past favorites as well as a large selection from Are You Dead Yet?, Bodom were on fire (aren't they always?) and ran about the stage like true performers, which is very unlike most extreme metal bands these days. Guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho and keyboard player Janne Warmen did plenty of wild neo-classical solo tradeoffs, which adds a nice contrast to their mix of black/death/power metal sound, a style that is easily recognizable and very unique. While the set list was not as extensive as some might have hoped for, probably due to the larger number of bands on the bill this evening, everyone went home happy after a night of solid metal.
Children of Bodom Set list
Children Of Decadence
Living Dead Beat
Are You Dead Yet?
Children Of Bodom
Angels Don't Kill
Were Not Gonna Fall
Mask Of Sanity
Bodom Beach Terror
In Your Face
Official Web site: www.cobhc.com
Official Web site: www.amonamarth.com
Official Web site: www.gojira.com
Official Web site: www.sanctityweb.com