There is a chill in the air in our nation’s capital on this grim Thursday evening. The first real signs that the Indian Summer is coming to a close are evident. How fitting that Children Of Bodom, the Warriors of the Northern Ice wastelands have arrived to break the necks of the Dublin Hate Crew.
Opening this impressive bill is Tampere’s Medeia. The early start to the show may limit the numbers in attendance but they give their all in delivering a furious set laced with melody and head crunching breakdowns. Following on from Medeia are the very impressive, fellow Finns, Insomnium. Their well-crafted set of melodic death metal is received warmly by the crowd. Special note has to be made of the guitar histrionics and twin lead harmonies of Ville Friman and Markus Vanhala who cover every inch of the stage. Their fantastic performance is cemented with the whiplashing “Mortal Share”.
Penultimate, and the only non-Finnish, band of the evening need no introduction. Shunning the need for backdrops, risers, and dry ice, Napalm Death take to the stage with minimal back to basic presence. Drummer, Danny Herrera is nestled stage right with Shane Embury facing him for most of the show which leaves a huge space centre stage for Barney Greenbaum to race around like a demented hamster with Tourette’s. Guitarist Mitch Harris brings the contrasting banshee wailing throughout the set. Barney’s between song banter is always a treat. Polite and funny, he addresses the crowd, “The next song is a rarity and for most of you even rarer”. What follows is a blistering “Low Point” from Inside the Torn Apart. Also included in the set are “Multinational Corporations”, “Errors in the Signals”, “Suffer the Children” and “Brink of Extinction”. As they revisit their earlier albums, Barney blows a mic, and after a quick change they rip through “Scum” and close with “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. On stage Napalm Death is a ball of pent up anger, unleashing its fury, leaving many, who are seeing them for the first time, lying in a pool of their own blood. Napalm Death brings the fury tonight and gives many an earhole a jolly good rollicking.
Once the stage and equipment is ready, and as the last strains of the intro track echo in the ears of the Dublin Hate Crew, Alexi Laiho and Children of Bodom tear into an abrasive duo of “Transference” and “Silent Night, Bodom Night”. The opening track from new album Halo of Blood is the perfect salvo that sets the tone for the rest of the evening. Laiho is a fire breathing dragon, spewing forth his face melting tones over the landscape of fans. Holding aloft a Finnish Flag, he bellows “Dublin, are you fucking ready?” From the roar, it’s clear that he already has them in full thrall.
Covering all the bases; from Follow the Reaper, “Kissing the Shadows” kicks off the first proper moshpit of the evening. The trade-offs between Laiho’s unparalleled technicality on lead guitar and Janne Wirman’s keyboard flurries are sublime and it’s no wonder that they feature so prominently in the set. Laiho once again cajoles “Dublin, Scream – Can you fucking do that for me?” and what follow is a tumultuous Hate Crew Death Roll. Yellow lights fire from the stage like a volley of lasers destroying would-be attackers. Roope Latvala and Henkka Seppälä hang over their monitors connecting with every person in the crowd, as Jaska Raatikainen keeps the thumping heart of the Bodom beast beating. Highlight of the night is “Dead Man’s Hand on You”. While it is a total surprise in the setlist, its slower momentum accentuated with an astounding use of the projection screens and mirrorballs creates a blood mooned starry evening. A visual and aural treat, and other bands should take note, why use one mirrorball when you can use three? It’s an effect of stunning simplicity. “Blooddrunk” is dedicated to the Irish drinkers and the Irish debut of “Towards Dead End” is rapturously received. During “Downfall” the Hate Crew open and close a smashing wall of death which leaves the band applauding from the stage. “Are You Dead Yet”, “Hate Me!” and “Sixpounder” all make appearances in the nicely varied set. Laiho spends a lot of the show, centre stage, foot mounted on monitor with his weapon cradled on his knee, while his black nailed fingers race all over the fret in a shred marathon.
Tonight features the biggest stage production that Bodom has ever taken to Ireland and it is packed full of spectacular moments. The lights and the projection screen backdrop provide the visual accompaniment that embellishes every single song. COB are a band who have embraced the importance of the entire stage performance, taking their outstanding abilities and letting their sound be wrapped in a breath-taking sheath of ocular opulence.
Closing with the impressive “In Your Face”, Children of Bodom unleash their final shots and warn all in attendance that winter is…. Incoming!!!
Silent Night Bodom Night
Halo Of Blood
Scream For Silence
Kissing the Shadows
Hate Crew Death Roll
Dead Man’s Hand On You
Are You Dead Yet?
Everytime I Die
Towards Dead End
In Your Face
Al photos by Steve Dempsey of Down The Barrel Photography