Musical mayhem

As part of their Ugly World tour, Finnish heavy metal band Children of Bodom bring their over-the-top spectacle to TA.

Children of Bodom 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Children of Bodom 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
You know that when a band takes its name from a gruesome lakeside murder spree, its music is not going to be light and breezy. And Children of Bodom don’t disappoint in the dark and heavy category.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the Finnish favorite sons play “metal done with theatricality, precision and an eye on the arena,” while Guitar World described their shows as being full of “strength, virtuosity and over-the-top spectacle.”
They’ve earned their hard-won reputation over the last 18 years as one of the purest hard rock bands, not afraid to be melodic and sweeping in scope but untempted by the mainstream addictions of power ballads and concept albums.
Ironically, as a result they’ve become one of Finland’s most successful musical exports and will be bringing their musical mayhem to Tel Aviv for a November 3 show at the Barby Club as part of their 2011 Ugly World tour in support of their seventh album, Relentless Reckless Forever.
“Given that we have covered Europe and the US pretty well and we did a tour in Japan, now is the perfect moment for us to do the rest of the world,” lead guitarist and vocalist Alexi Laiho recently told the metal music website May the Rock Be with You, adding that the band would also be making maiden visits to Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.
Laiho, nicknamed “Wildchild,” is Children of Bodom’s stand-out performer, with Guitar World ranking him in the top 100 heavy metal guitarists of all time and Roadrunner Records naming him in their top 50 metal frontmen of all time.
But his bandmates – Roope Latvala (guitar), Jaska Raatikainen (drums), Henkka Seppälä (bass) and Janne Warman (keyboards) – are no slouches either, as collectively, they’ve encompassed musical genres ranging from the brutality of death metal and thrash metal while incorporating more nuanced pop, glam and punk into the mix.
Originally named Inearthed when Laiho formed the band in the early 1990s, recording label complications forced them to search for a new moniker ahead of their 1997 debut album. They settled on Children of Bodom, named for a lake near their hometown of Espoo.
Lake Bodom was infamous for being the site of an unsolved 1960 murder that left four teens dead and has continued to create headlines whenever new information surfaces.
Via their relentless touring that has seen them share stages with Slayer in 2006, Velvet Revolver and Ozzy Osbourne in the Monsters of Rock megashow in 2007, and open for Megadeth on their 2008 Gigantour in 2008, Children of Bodom succeeded in breaking out of their homeland, where their polished records automatically go gold.
According to Laiho, their fan base isn’t as sinister as their music suggests.
“Well, it’s funny; our fan base is just so diverse. We have a bunch of 50something biker dudes, and then there are kids that are under 10 years old who come to the shows with their parents,” he said. “Which I think is a good thing. At least that means a bunch of today’s youth are into metal.”
That includes local young metal fans who are ecstatic that the band is including Israel on its tour. An unscientific survey of metal heads attending a Jerusalem high school found many of them planning to attend the Tel Aviv show.
While other genres are fading away, metal seems to be picking up steam and becoming downright socially acceptable – a phenomenon that Laiho points to in his native Finland with a mixture of satisfaction and dismay.
“Metal music here in Finland is seriously considered mainstream and it’s kind of like a double-edged sword,” he said. “It’s a good thing with albums and sales, but the one thing that appealed to me about metal was the whole rebellious nature, like it was our thing, not like the family fun thing! But what are you going to do? I can’t complain.”
Neither will the fans packing the Barby Club next week.