Posted Tuesday, Jan. 9, 8:29 p.m.
Friday night European metal bands Gorjia, Amon Amarth, and Children of Bodom demonstrated sheer metal excellence to a sold-out crowd at DC’s 9:30 Club. The gig kicked off with Sanctity, a metal band from North Carolina. Although Sanctity’s guitar rifts and thrash vocal’s somewhat imitated world-famous Trivium, during their performance the crowd stood idly by in anticipation of the incoming harder European acts. Gorjia, from France, started to get the crowd moving as small yet violent circle pits formed. Then came Sweden’s Amon Amarth, who really picked up the pace of the show with their heavy and mythical songs like “The Pursuit of Vikings” and “Valhall Awaits Me.” The shirtless Scandinavian singer, Johan Hegg, wearing armored greaves and looking like a Viking warrior himself as he screamed Norse war calls, was enough to pump the crowd up for the night’s main act, Children of Bodom.
The night’s metalheads were treated to a thrilling surprise just before Children of Bodom took the stage when Randy Blyth from Lamb of God introduced the band, screaming “Bodom! Bodom!” into the microphone triggering a deafening chant. The Hate Crew, the name by which COB is known, took the stage opening with “Are You Dead Yet?” instantly sparking violent circle pits, and a sea of metal horns and fists pounding in the air. Alexi Laiho, the lead vocalist and guitarist, impressed the crowd with his razor sharp precision and unmatched speed with his guitar. Intensity surged through the 9:30 Club when “Living Dead Beat” provoked a surreal feeling of violence.
Halfway through the show the DC metalheads continued to demonstrate their moshing abilities to the fullest, fulfilling Bodom’s wish. Janne, the COB keyboardist, had high expectations of the DC crowd, putting them on par with those in his native Finland. According to Janne in an interview before the show, “It’s the same shit, just a different package. Metal people are people, wherever you go.”
Friday night’s performance was unique in that Children of Bodom sought to create something “special, interesting and refreshing,” for US crowds. For starters COB would no longer be seen as a supporting act of major bands like Slayer and Lamb of God-this time the Hate Crew was leading a killer lineup of its own. Janne explained that the band brought out songs never played in America before along with “special COB lights that was a big deal and really expensive shit.”
Children of Bodom closed the show with their lead single “In Your Face.” The crowd again was thrown into a frenzy as Randy once more took the stage to sing along with Alexi. But this time Randy, Alexi, the guitarists and the crowd were chanting in unison. “I don’t give a flying fuck, motherfucker! I don’t give a flying fuck!” Children of Bodom had united everyone in the building during that one song with a rarely felt passion. Despite Janne’s worried thoughts that the “kids were going to be like it’s the same show over and over,” by simply looking at the passionate and loyal crowd, one would think that this show was something refreshingly and powerfully new.