There’s somewhat of an unwritten rule in today’s heavy metal society: that rule being that unless you are in the presence of royalty (Slayer, basically) you simply do not attend a gig whilst adorning any form of merchandise related to one of the evening’s performing acts. The fact that London’s Astoria is tonight packed to the rafters with eager gig-goers sporting Children of Bodom t-shirts is therefore a grave statement of just where the Finnish quintet now stand in modern day metal’s elite rankings.
Before they have the chance to display exactly why they possess such status, however, there’s the small matter of Hungarian metallers Ektomorf to attend to. Here to support 2005’s Nuclear Blast released Instinct their distinct tribal metal stylings are met mostly with only taunting cries of “Soulfly!”, resulting in a competent if slightly unoriginal set being well and truly quashed from the off.
As the lights go down and the extravagant car-shaped lighting rig that occupies the stage begins to rev up in preparation, it’s immediately clear as to why Children of Bodom are fast becoming one of metal’s leading lights. Greeting the hysterical crowd with a cluster of classic cuts including a pummelling rendition of Sixpounder and a jubilantly received Silent Night, Bodom Nightthe set is anchored and never sinks. Ten feet tall letters displaying the band’s familiar alias ‘COB’ flash at blinding levels, keyboardist Janne Warman casually sips a cold beer whilst his fingers glide effortlessly over the keys, and front man Alexi Laiho stands victoriously atop the neon bonnet before the familiar speed-metal antics of Needled 24/7 bring down the curtain on an evening of unforgettable and simply stunning theatrics.
The gateway towards world domination appears to be firmly open for Children of Bodom in 2006, and on the basis of tonight, there’s at least 2000 followers ready and willing to help tear the hinges clean off it.