For all you metal heads out there, pay attention. The I Worship Chaos Tour was one of the sickest shows this year. If you missed it that really sucks, but if it comes around again, you need to drop what you’re doing and buy a ticket.
Damn, what a way to go out for 2016. I knew Children of Bodom, but didn’t know of the other bands. For some insane reason I never listened to them. The first band to open up the night was Oni. Named after a malevolent shape-shifting demon from Japanese folklore, Oni took the metal genre and ripped it a new ass. Combining enigmatic lyrics and expressive harmonies with merciless vocals, Oni’s style can’t be compared to any other. They are one of the few bands that can incorporate a Xylosynth into their music and it not take away from the magic of the songs.
Exmortus, oh Exmortus. How much I love thee; let me count the ways. That hair, those brutal-violent screams were like heaven to my ears. I have fallen for this band, hard. I was unprepared for the beautiful chaos they were about to cause. Beginning with “Immortality Made Flesh,” those shreds, those guitar solos almost set the roof on fire like a five alarm inferno. As packed as this house was, the fire marshal would have had to douse the flames from the outside. After the third track, “For the Horde,” I left the photo pit and tried to make my way through the sea of jean jackets, full of iron on metal band patches, to find a safe spot to watch the rest of the set. Yeah right, it’s either getting caught up in the massive pit and dying or hiding beside the security guard at the bar. You guessed it; I stood by the bar next to security until it was time to return to the photo pit to shoot Abbath.
The fog machines were kicking in heavily and the room looked eerie and dark. Abbath walked out, dressed in black, with white and black painted faces. Foreboding lights flashed, matching beat for beat, chord for chord, fans pounded into the barricade, and heads banged with fists in the air. It took me back to a time in my early teens when I would turn on Black Sabbath or Megadeth, turn the lights out in my room, and lose myself inside the darkness of it all. These masterful metal geniuses from Norway took a shortcut through hell and brought flames to our door.
“Speed demon, spread thy shanks wide,
Shower offense! Defile.”
Paying homage to the band’s craft, the congregation sang to the Abbath’s death march, and Abbath brought destruction to the stage. Last but not least, with ceaseless devastation, Children of Bodom unleashed “Needled 24/7” on the audience, followed by my personal favorite, “Follow the Reaper.”
“Losing the war I’m feigning to win,
Though I never tried to strive deep from within.
Life could be beautiful for anybody it’s for, but I’d swear this mothafuckin’ shit is rotten to the core.”
Oh, when I hear those long guitar solos I lose my mind. I close my eyes and imagine I’m in a music video, running through a cave filled with smoke, being chased by something I can’t see. From their first album, Something Wild, to Blooddrunk, to I Worship Chaos, Bodom’s style of technical, melodic, thrash metal makes trying to choose from their musical masterpieces impossible. They have taken what we love about metal and carved out something extraordinary. Children of Bodom, obliterate all preconceived notions of what metal music sounds like or should sound like.
I Worship Chaos tour was named after Children of Bodoms’ latest album. Topping the Finnish charts, it’s no wonder they are climbing the charts in America as well. No distance can keep great music from reaching fans who love them and making new ones every day. This tour, this show, made it forever easy to love and support these bands and this scene until I’m too old to bang my head. Hell, maybe even after that.
Check out Oni, Exmortus, Abbath and Children of Bodom, on all social media platforms, and don’t forget to buy their music. Support your bands by purchasing their music. Stop illegal downloading.