Fresh off releasing their tenth studio album, ‘Hexed,’ Children Of Bodom have been turned loose in North America to support it. Swallow The Sun, Wolfheart, and Hollow Cry added to the chaos as the tour stopped at the Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stepping on to the stage first was Hollow Cry. They are a Spanish metalcore outfit that hails from Lleida. The band released their debut album called ‘From Ashes To Flames’ in 2018 on Into Records. They started as a cover band back in 2007 and through the years have evolved into one of the premier bands in the metal scene in Spain. They were quite explosive with songs like “Procrastinated” and “Last Call.” Although they base their sound within the metalcore structure, they fuse elements of speed and classic heavy metal with melodies that are memorable. It was a short set but Hollow Cry left its mark to the Skyway Theatre crowd and they are a band to keep an eye on.
Wolfheart would perform next. The band is from Finland and was created by mastermind Tuomas Saukkonen. The band has released four albums with the latest, ‘Constellation Of The Black Light,’ on Napalm Records in 2018. Wolfheart has been a rising force in the melodic death metal scene and they unleashed a powerful set of music. The band showcased songs like “Breakwater,” “The Hunt,” and “Boneyard.” Despite having replacement musicians playing bass and guitar, the music was tight and Wolfheart didn’t skip a beat. They were a brutal force on stage and had a tremendous backing from the Skyway Theatre fans.
Finnish extreme metal band Swallow The Sun would play next. Playing, at times, in almost complete darkness, the band would put the room in a trance. They opened with “These Woods Breathe Evil” and then into two songs that are off the latest release, ‘When A Shadow Is Forced Into the Light,’ with “Upon The Water” and Firelights.” The shifts from melodic pieces into aggressive passages and the moods of the music were interesting and the emotion of it hit home. The set consisted of seven songs as “New Moon,” “Stone Wings,” and “Deadly Nightshade” kept audience locked onto the stage. The closer “Swallow (Horror Pt. 1)” was another prime example of the amount of layers found in a single song. Swallow The Sun is a band you must experience live to get the full dynamic of the music.
“Are You Dead Yet” opened the set for the Finnish extreme metal veterans Children Of Bodom. The band just released ‘Hexed’ and pulled “Under Grass And Clover” next. I’m always impressed on how big the sound is when they play live. Another track from the new album, “The Road,” sounded fantastic and the circle pit was in high gear as “Bodom Beach Terror” hit full stride.
The rhythm section of bassist Henkka Blacksmith and drummer Jaska Raatikainen provided the backbone and power supply for the layers of guitars and keyboard to shine. The man behind those keyboards that ripped out as many solos as the guitarists was Janne Wirman. He is a critical part of the signature Children Of Bodom sound. Daniel Freyberg is Bodom’s newest guitar player and seemed like a perfect fit for the band. Center stage was the voice and guitar extraordinaire Alexi Laiho. He is completely unique to himself and his vocal and guitar style has carved out a niche in a crowded death metal genre.
The circle pit never slowed down as “I Worship Chaos” and “Sixpounder” struck with precision. “Angels Don’t Kill” has become a signature song in the catalog and no matter how many times I’ve seen them live, it’s still a song I can’t wait to hear. Before the encores the place completely lit up as “If You Want Peace..Prepare For War” tore through the Skyway Theatre. The band returned after a short break to kick in to “Hate Me” from the ‘Follow The Reaper’ album. Alexi asked Wirman for a song in A minor as the familiar keyboard intro to “Downfall” began. If you were not moshing you were throwing your fist in the air as fans were giving everything they had left. It capped a great performance and fans of the band were not disappointed.