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Children of Bodom, Orpheus Omega & Eye of the Enemy Live @ Billboard, Melbourne 07.05.14

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Children of Bodom, the captivating Finnish melodic metallers returned to Australia for the third time in six years, but the regularity of their trips down under in no way dampened the audience’s fervent enthusiasm for the band.

The show was opened by local melodeath band, Orpheus Omega, who have been making waves over the last six months with their primo international support slots, opening for Sirenia, Dark Tranquillity and now Children of Bodom. Despite playing almost two hours before the headliners, Orpheus Omega played to a large, albeit reserved, crowd, smashing out a mix of old and new tracks including ‘Elegant Deceit’, ‘Unscathed’ and ‘Fragments’. As always, Orpheus Omega’s quality performance was enthusiastic and driven, but, unfortunately, was let down by poor, somewhat muffled, sound quality.

Adding some serious bang for your buck, the national support slot was filled by Melbourne’s Eye of the Enemy, who have just released their stunning sophomore album, The Vengeance Paradox. They started about ten minutes late following what appeared to be some technical difficulties, which meant that, devastatingly, their set felt incredibly short. Irrespective of the shortened set, EOTE’s performance was impeccable, rivaling that of headliners, Children of Bodom. EOTE offered a tantalising assortment of old and new tracks, with the highlights easily being new tracks ‘The March’ and ‘The Justification’. EOTE are definitely a band to watch in 2014.

From the moment that Children of Bodom’s quietly charismatic and enigmatic front-man, Alexi Laiho, took to the stage spraying a mouthful of water, the eager fans were beguiled by his presence. Having released their debut album in 1997, Children of Bodom have a huge back catalogue to select their set from, but managed to play tracks from all of their original albums with the exception of 2011’s Relentless Reckless Forever. They played 13 tracks during their hour and a quarter set including the eponymous ‘Lake Bodom’ off their debut album Something Wild and newer tracks ‘Downfall’, ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’, ‘Blooddrunk’, ‘Are You Dead Yet?’, ‘Halo of Blood’, ending on a high with an encore of ‘In Your Face’.

One of the visual highlights of the evening came when drummer Jaska Raatikainen, while continuing to play the dual bass drums, threw his drumstick across the stage to keyboardist Janne Warman who expertly caught it and threw it back so that Raatikainen could continue playing. Gold.

As with the support acts, Children of Bodom also faced some sound issues, but seeing as it was only that the levels on Laiho’s technically proficient, precision solos were sitting slightly too low in the mix, it didn’t really affect the quality of the band’s commendable performance.

Overall it was a great gig, leaving fans content and satiated. Now to wait for their clockwork-like return in 3 years time.

photos by John Raptis

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