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Children Of Bodom at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - live review

Finnish shred kings revitalise their roots

Alexi Laiho: still the Wildchild

ONI [7] have a gimmick up their sleeve: a xylophone player who goes hammer and tongs at his instrument, keeping pace with the Canadians’ progressive riff-addled maraud. Gothic Danes FOREVER STILL [5] fail to inspire the same levels of interest.

Maja Shining’s gutsy persona succumbs to the reverb on the mic, which makes them sound like they’re playing in an empty school hall. Tonight is a tour de force from CHILDREN OF BODOM [8]. Celebrating 20 years of Something Wild and playing songs mostly from the first two albums, this is a blow-by-blow account of Bodom’s best bits. Alexi Laiho still shreds like a motherfucker, effortlessly switching from neo-classical to balls-out metal riffs with his leg up on the monitor, frantically fingering the fretboard with insane precision as Janne Wirman dishes out signature keyboard licks. More than scratching an itch for the old-school fans, there’s a plethora of hits dusted off for the diehards’ pleasure. Although 20 years have passed since Something Wild, nothing about the likes of In the Shadows indicates a time warp. Angels Don’t Kill, Hate Me! and Downfall hit dizzying peaks of euphoria as Bodom’s black metal-meets-deathly neo-classical maelstrom sounds bolder than ever.

With over 10 years’ experience writing for Metal Hammer and Prog, Holly has reviewed and interviewed a wealth of progressively-inclined noise mongers from around the world. A fearless voyager to the far sides of metal Holly loves nothing more than to check out London’s gig scene, from power to folk and a lot in between. When she’s not rocking out Holly enjoys being a mum to her daughter Violet and working as a high-flying marketer in the Big Smoke.