Finnish metal band to rock the Ogden Monday night
Forget Santa Claus – the offspring of murderous Lake Bodom are coming to town. Count on being slain. And the night of Dec. 11 will be neither silent nor holy.
The Finnish metal outfit Children of Bodom makes a stop at Denver’s Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., on Monday night. Frontman and guitarist Alexi Laiho stands as an enigma in the underground metal scene, renowned for his technical riffage and face-melting shreds.
The band is currently soaking up the commercial success of 2005’s “Are You Dead Yet?” and the recently-released live DVD and CD “The Chaos Ridden Years.” Listeners can count on all the ingredients of classic speed metal and modern metal – harsh vocals, swift, galloping riffs, a double-bass drum assault and classically-tinged keys.
“Are You Dead Yet?” saw the band move to a commercial distribution label in the United States, with the album being released on Universal Records. Laiho and company saw a surge in popularity following the release of “Are You Dead Yet?,” despite a few naysaying metal diehards who claimed the band had watered down its sound with too much groove and not enough speed. But, Laiho said, the band never contrives its sound; fans hoping for another “Something Wild” or “Hatebreeder,” both speedy albums with ample keyboard solos, shouldn’t hold their breath. Such a return may come, but not intentionally.
“Well, not consciously,” Laiho said. “But we might. We do whatever the fuck we want.”
And fans who want more of keyboardist Janne Warman’s blazing leads should take another listen.
“People don’t realize that there’s actually more keyboards on ‘Are You Dead Yet?’ We just came up with new ways to use the keyboards,” Laiho said. “You don’t really hear it. You just feel it. We use some crazy fucking sounds to just double the guitar riffs.”
And whatever the band sounds like, Laiho assures that Universal Records won’t have a thing to do with it.
Being on a major label “didn’t change anything for us,” Laiho said. “No one’s going to come up fucking telling us what songs we should write.”
Laiho’s virtuosity and tenacity comes from his early exposure to music. He picked up a violin at age 7, and grabbed a six-stringed axe at 11.
“I’m kind of attached to the guitar sound,” Laiho said. “If there was something I wanted to learn, I just wouldn’t fucking stop.”
The self-dubbed “Hate Crew” is rounded out by guitarist Roope Latvala, bassist Henkka Seppala, drummer Jaska Raatikainen and keyboardist Janne Warman. Latvala brings years of experience from the seminal Finnish speed metal band Stone, combining with Warman’s ear for a neo-classical tinge for a sound few bands have successfully duplicated.
The band formed as Inearthed before Laiho and his bandmates decided they needed a name with a bit more bite.
“We just thought it was cool. We thought the sound of the word ‘Bodom’ was pretty metallish,” Laiho said. “Sort of a horror movie thing.”
The name comes from Lake Bodom in Finland, the site of a triple-murder in the 1960s. Three teenagers on a camping trip were stabbed to death in the middle of the night, and only one of the teens survived. The lone survivor was committed to an asylum, claiming he saw the Grim Reaper that night – the same figure that graces each of Children of Bodom’s studio album covers.
Fellow axeman Roope Latvala joined Children of Bodom in 2003, and Laiho said he couldn’t be a more perfect fit.
“He’s one of the best fucking guitar players I know in the fucking world. We’re jamming all the time,” Laiho said. “We’re throwing back a couple beers, having a good time. We’re so much alike, even on the stage we don’t have to say anything.”
The Finns have had a good time on tour, both on- and off-stage – and they’ve got the empty bottles to prove it.
White Russians are the drink of choice on Bodom’s bus, but don’t spend too much time looking for the cream.
“We make them with low-fat milk so it’s easier to chug down,” Laiho said. “Plus, we were getting fucking fat.”