(On April 11th our Atlanta-based contributor Tør returned to The Masquerade venue to take in Finnish-heavy performances by Children of Bodom, Swallow the Sun, Wolfheart, and local openers Summoner’s Circle. He sent us this report, along with a large batch of his own excellent photos from the show, most of which appear after the review.)
The traffic makes me want to ditch my car in the middle of I-75 and move to Europe. I get to The Masquerade customarily late but manage to catch a bit of the openers, Summoner’s Circle.
On their Facebook page the Knoxville outfit describe themselves as “a six-piece theatrical metal band that blends elements of doom, death, black and progressive metal into what they refer to as simply Epic Metal”. While genre-blending is not my cup of tea, I am pleasantly surprised by the solid display on stage. These guys are serious about what they do and the costumes and imagery match the grandiose sound they produce. Check out their first full-length, Tome, if you haven’t already done so.
I am especially excited about seeing Wolfheart. I’ve been listening to Tyhjyys (Spinefarm) and Constellation of the Black Light (Napalm) a lot lately, and seeing the band perform my favorites live is an incredible experience. Tuomas Saukkonen and crew rock out with incredible precision, and the crowd are into every bit of it. The band are masters at blending brutality with passion, and that extends to the live performance. There is not an iota ofpretension to be found in the performance—not too much in the way of the usual mindless chit-chat with the crowd either. It’s all solid performance and that’s where it’s at for me.
Swallow The Sun go on next and I lose my shit. I saw the band open for Amorphis in an epic show a couple of years ago and thought they were phenomenal. Their light show and live sound was top-notch. Things are a little different this time. The stage lighting is subdued, almost nonexistent. The mood is different: There is more emotion but more brutality too. The performance complements the overall mood of When a Shadow Is Forced Into the Light (Century Media). There is more of everything, and I dig it.
Juha Raivio is back after sitting out the previous tour and all seems to be going well for the band. Hearing “Upon the Water” and “Firelights”, my two favorites from the new record, gives me goose bumps.
I haven’t seen Children of Bodom since they were on tour with Amon Amarth many moons ago. The stage setup and sound engineering is immaculate. The band have matured quite a lot, but Alexi Laiho is his old self. The signature ESP flying V goes up in the air and the familiar melodies and solos follow. There seems to be a bit less finger tapping and moving around. There’s more emphasis on performance and flow. Everything sounds tight.
The band kick things off with “Are You Dead Yet?”, “In Your Face”, and “Platitudes and Barren Words”. The night ends with “Hate Me”, and “Downfall”. I’ve enjoyed listening to Hexed (Nuclear Blast), and seeing Children of Bodom again after such a long time fills me with a sense of nostalgia.
It’s been a wonderful night. I get home and look at flights from LAX to Helsinki for a possible summer visit.
SWALLOW THE SUN
CHILDREN OF BODOM