Children Of Bodom @ Hammerstein Ballroom (10/9/2008)

Logo - Children Of Bodom

Artist: Children Of Bodom
Venue: Hammerstein Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Testament, Black Dahlia Murder, Between The Buried And Me
Date: 10/9/2008
Label: Spinefarm Records

If you looked at tonight’s roster of performing bands you might pause for a moment and think that you had seen all of them over at least once over the last couple of months. It wouldn’t be weird for this to be the state of mind you were in because you are definitely correct in this assumption if you attend a lot of show because every one of these acts had trampled the streets of New York and New Jersey on behalf of the Metal way very recently before this gig. We’ll touch upon each of these visits as we go along but based on this totally smoking roster, it was without question that the Hammerstein Ballroom was going to be an incredible place for music this evening. The show would start off with Between the Buried and Me and here is how the event went down in case that you missed out for some odd reason.

Between The Buried And Me: Had I been able to attend the “Progressive Nation” tour that was held a few short months ago, I would have been one of many of the Metal heads who had enjoyed a brief set from these guys because they started the games off for the one and only Dream Theater and Opeth during this tour. Sadly, a bunch of conflicts and scheduling changes for me at the last minute kept me from being there so I went to Paganfest instead to drown my sorrows with the Vikings and as result tonight would be my very first chance at seeing what they do. I had only heard snippets of their most recent album “Colors” before this show and was very intrigued by what was going on with the band. It’s technically impressive and musically interesting but therein lays the problem in their starting off a show like this. As a listener you are just able to get yourself into the groove of how they deliver and before you know it they are finished and most likely only performed two or three songs. The band was super tight live and on the money in terms of their overall precision and the other downside about the early start was that the room was not yet filled up and the line to get in had extended around the block causing many to miss their chance to enjoy this stuff. It might have been a short span of time before they walked off the stage but I was truly interested in catching them once again and seeing how an extended or full show would come off. They will be releasing a live CD/DVD entitled “Colors Live” soon, and that will be a more in depth education for many Progressive Metal fans. Nice work gentlemen, you won me over quickly tonight. I highly recommend them for fans of the more technical based Metal that leans also heavy on melody. Black Dahlia Murder was next up and at this point the venue was starting to really fill up.

Black Dahlia Murder: When I stop to add it all up, it seems as though I have caught The Black Dahlia Murder a lot over the course of a year and the first time was actually as one of my first shows of the Metal year 2008. That show found them touring alongside Hate Eternal and they had headlined the appearance. From there it would be another main stage set for them when they closed out a day of exciting Metal on what was referred to as the “Summer Slaughter” tour. That was an intense affair and delivered no less than eleven bands to the eager Metal head but to be honest, eleven bands in a row is a little bit much for me to absorb (especially on a brutally hot Summer day). Tonight the BDM would be the second band and I do give them props for being able to always deliver a solid and entertaining set. At first glance it seemed as though a lot of what I had seen them perform several months ago was also on the set list as they crushed the now moshing crowd with sound. Fronted by lead growler Trevor Strnad, the band was giving everyone their best. They were still supporting their very well received latest album “Nocturnal” and the set list featured songs like “Vulgar”, “Funeral” and “Deathmask”. I always enjoy the band but definitely could use a breather from them after three times in very close months. This allows the sound to remain special, but that is only my view of it. The more hard core fan might not care if they see them night after night, and you know exactly who you are. Not long after this show, longtime guitarist John Kempainen chose to move on from the bands ranks making this his last performance with BDM in NYC at least for the time being. He would be replaced by Ryan Knight formerly of Arsis. Testament was coming up next and the vibe in the air was totally exciting now.

Testament: While they had never truly gone away it can safely be said that Testament has been riding high ever since the reunion CD/DVD “Live In London” and their most recent smoldering studio effort entitled “The Formation Of Damnation”. The release of the album proved to begin a very busy year for the guys in Testament as not only did they do a one night sold out show at B.B. King’s just around the time that the new Metal was set to be released on their fans, but they quickly got offered the opening slot on the “Metal Masters” tour which put them onstage with Motorhead, Heaven and Hell and that little band from Birmingham we know as the one and only Judas Priest. That show was amazing but the Testament guys only played for about thirty minutes and that is nothing more than a teaser when it comes to this band. Tonight they would be a pleasant addition to the lineup and come out as direct support before Bodom and in some peoples eyes it was amazing to think that Testament would need to be the opener for anyone after all of this positive buzz was happening. That being said the guys crushed everyone in the room with their opening tune of “Over The Wall” from the minute they began the bodies were flying over the security pit barrier into the waiting arms of the guards. It will not surprise many of their legacy fans to find out that the band still kicks major ass on all levels and how their new material finds them coming out even stronger on the stage. There was some emphasis on the new release but from the look of their set list roster it is clear to me that the older tunes are just as important in the bands eyes as their new songs are. Thank the Metal gods for this because the principle had them still delivering “Electric Crown”, and “Into The Pit”. Alex Skolnick was smoking on the lead guitar tonight and it’s so awesome to see him doing his thing for Metal a little more. I love his jazz thing and his work with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but in the end this is what made the band special and inspired lots of younger fans to pick up the guitar themselves in a quest for greatness. Chuck Billy still has the vocal chops and periodically spoke to the crowd but it was not at the expense of any songs. The band is more about delivering the music than shooting the unnecessary shit every five minutes or so and I thank them for this since far too many bands talk on endlessly. My hope is that we see a longer set from Testament on a headlining tour of their own in the coming months. I would also love to see the guys using their powers for good and maybe bringing along bands that are interesting to the Metal scene of today that more people would enjoy. Let’s see what happens. Bodom was next and these guys are always a good time.

Children Of Bodom: We last saw Children of Bodom on this very stage back in April when Megadeth and their Gigantour came blazing through town. During that show they would be the third of five bands and while they did a kick ass set it was still rather short based on both In Flames and Megadeth commanding the night. As a headliner tonight they would make this up for their fans but despite my love and appreciation of what they do for Metal, I felt that their headlining over a band like Testament didn’t make much sense when it came down to it. Bodom does deliver as I mentioned only a few sentences ago in some fashion and while I felt the headlining should have been reversed I was clearly in the minority here tonight. The crowd is really enthusiastic for how the band does things and it appears as thought singer/guitarist Alexi Laiho is something of a hero to them. He is the kind of performer who runs around the stage like a madman when he is not tied to his microphone. One would think he is better served by wearing a headset but I fear that if he did he would be really difficult to follow based on all of his movement around the stage. There set list rundown was an extensive and a pleasant one that seemed to have something for everyone in the place tonight. I am one of the newer fans in their army, so I don’t have as much background on their earliest stuff as much as some of the other fans around me, so I feel its a treat when they pull out something older and I get to see how it’s done in concert. They are on a seemingly endless tour in support of their “Blooddrunk” CD which was released in 2007 and based on their itinerary I don’t see this activity stopping to give them time for a follow up any time soon. That’s ok with me because they are really a fun band to watch live and kudos need to go out to all of the members (Roope, Janne, Henkka and Jaska) who make sure that their fans leave without a single ounce of energy at the end of the show.

One of the only downsides about tonight’s performance was actually not even related to this particular show but more based on the fact about another gig that this demographic of fans would have flocked to. You see tonight was the night that Jon Oliva, formerly of Savatage, decided to make his only regional appearance and instead of choosing an easily accessible venue in the city like B.B. King’s, Highline Ballroom or even Mercury Lounge – he would play all the way up in Yonkers. The show clearly didn’t affect the attendance here tonight but given the singers’ legendary status in Metal and that the tour also featured the band Circle II Circle, it would have gone over like gangbusters had better planning gone into it.

In the end this was a really exciting night and I think that four bands of a slightly different kind of Metal vibe are what I enjoy most for a show. It allows each group to stick in one’s mind a little more and have the show be very easily recalled. Make sure you watch your calendars for the continued adventures of each of these incredibly talented performers because you will kick yourself if you miss them I am certain.

Testament Set List:
1. Over The Wall
2. Into The Pit
3. The New Order
4. Electric Crown
5. More Than Meets The Eye
6. Henchmen Ride
7. DNR
8. Three Days
9. Formation Of Damnation

CoB Setist:
1. Follow The Reaper
2. Smile Pretty For The Devil
3. Silent Night, Bodom Night
4. Living Dead Beat
5. Hellhounds On My Trail
6. Blooddrunk
7. Sixpounder
8. Angels Don’t Kill
9. Children Of Decadence
10. Chokehold (Cocked ‘n’ Loaded)
11. Hate Me!
12. Bed Of Razors
13. In Your Face
14. Banned From Heaven
15. Hate Crew Deathroll
16. Everytime I Die
17. Downfall

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2 thoughts on “Children Of Bodom @ Hammerstein Ballroom (10/9/2008)”

  1. HELL-o HELL-o. i like what i see, yes!
    that was the WILDEST concert i have EVER been to, & i think i Just think it shall be unbeatable!!! =D
    Bodom live is beyond amazing!
    & yes sis, Great pics Ken. you are such an inspiration man, thanks *hugs*

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