sunnuntai 19. syyskuuta 2010

7th album on the way and COB on the road

Ready to rock 'n' roll

This weekend, Children Of Bodom depart for Vancouver, and the start of their two-month tour of Canada and the US on the Black Label Society Berzerkus tour. Their next, 7th studio album, is now eagerly awaited, as are any details about the new recording. Understandably, the band is playing this one very close to its chest, though there have been a few insights.

A press release on COB's website in August, shortly after the band entered the studio to begin work on the album, announced that they were "very excited to let everyone hear what we’re creating with this new record ...Everything you love about Children Of Bodom has been magnified tenfold and we’re pushing ourselves harder than ever before. Expect nothing less than “the perfect storm!” Prior to this, Jaska had said, "Recordings for me went good and I'm super-excited about the new songs. They ARE killer. I'm sure you will love the new material. And yes, there's gonna be nine new tracks on the album."

During August, the band took time out from the studio to play some summer festivals in Europe and, interviewed by Finland's Radio Rock just before their appearance at Ankkarock, Janne was asked about the new songs. He said that all the material had been written (as usual) by Alexi, and that he thought it would be a great record; pressed for more detail (would they play faster? harder?) he replied, "I think we gonna play faster, maybe".

In an interview in last month's Guitar World, in answer to the question, "Where do you see your music going with this next record?", Alexi's reply was giving little away: "All I can say is, this is definitely gonna be heavy ... we're not wimping out."

Recently, K-Man has commented that "Mr Hyde (producer Matt Hyde) is F'n great! What I have heard so far is amazing! And the new songs ... well ... holy mother of Satan, this is going to be great! ... Everything went super good at the studio. So much that they finished with all the tracking they were planning on doing there, 2 days early. As you know we will be leaving for the States in a couple weeks to tour with BLS. The band guys are going a couple days earlier to track the last bits. Then we have a pre-production day and the next day after that we start the tour."

Some tantalising glimpses, then, but so much more still to be revealed: album title; song titles; cover art; which cover songs they've chosen this time around ... Guess we'll just have to be patient a while longer, and in the meantime, there's COBTV#3 to look forward to!

The Axemen Cometh!

ESP Guitars Signature Artists Alexi Laiho, Roope Latvala and Henkka T. Blacksmith will be at Mother's Music, Edmonton, on 24 September for an exclusive in-store meet and greet and autograph signing session, before appearing later that evening at the Edmonton Expo Centre with Black Label Society.

New Bodom video will be all the Rage

Award-winning music video director Dale Rage Resteghini, whose work ranges from hardcore and heavy metal, to hip hop and gangsta rap, with bands such as Cypress Hill, Guns N' Roses and Trivium, is to shoot an upcoming video for Children Of Bodom.

Dale Rage Resteghini

Alexi gets his ducks in a row at Ankkarock

In between recording their forthcoming seventh studio album, Children Of Bodom found time to fit in appearances at 5 of this summer's festivals around Europe, and the Blog felt it was only right to check out one of the shows (yeah, it's a crap job, but someone ... etc, etc). We duly headed off to Finland for the home gig at Ankkarock, a few kilometres outside Helsinki.

Unlike our last Finnish foray in February to see Warmen's record release party show, when temperatures were hovering around a numbing -20, this time the mercury was at the other end of the scale entirely, and on one or two days the thermometer outside our apartment window was showing a reading of 40 degrees! Probably no real need, then, to pack that umbrella on the day of the festival, which turned out to be just as well ...

The Ankkarock festival site is located in Korso, near Vantaa, a short train ride from Helsinki. It's a beautiful setting, surrounded by the familiar pine trees and a small lake, and the weather is perfect: warm, dry and sunny. We join the queue for the bag-check. They're not interested in cameras, but when the existence of the umbrella is discovered we're firmly told that we can't take that in ...??? ( No, us either!) Well, fuck it, there's not a cloud in the sky, so no problem.

Plenty to see, hear, eat and drink while we wait for COB showtime, and even the much-villified festival toilets are, at this festival, clean, plentiful and user-friendly - Ankkarock is very well organised.

K-Man, Neubi and the rest of the crew are onstage, getting their backline on, the COB backdrop is hoisted. At 21:30 the band take to the stage with opener Follow the Reaper and the next hour is filled with a crowd-pleasing set of more fan favourites from the Bodom back catalogue, including Needled 24/7, Living Dead Beat, Hatecrew Death Roll, Blooddrunk and Hate Me. As usual, it seems, when they play on home territory, the band are relaxed and enjoying themselves.

At the end of an enthusiastically received Everytime I Die, someone throws three yellow rubber ducks onstage (well, this is Ankkarock), which Alexi duly retrieves and lines up carefully on the drum riser. Later, there is a shout-out for sound-man Kal from Alexi when he spots a group holding a "K-Man" sign down the front: "you have some fucking fans over here, man", he announces into the mic, trying to persuade K-Man out onto the stage. Finally, they turn up the heat (literally!) with face-melting pyrotechnics to rival Alexi's shredding during Angels Don't Kill and, of course, for evergreen set-closer Downfall - a fittingly explosive end to the show.

Children Of Bodom ... in flames

Afterwards, on our way back to the station through the warm Finnish summer night, we're accosted by a small group of bible bashers, handing out leaflets and obviously intent on saving our souls from the temptations of the devil's music. But it's way too late - the devil has all the best tunes and we sold ours long ago!


Meanwhile, at Brutal Assault ...

Before the band's appearance at the Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic, they took part in a signing session

Photo credit: Veronika Hesounová

Alexi at RockHouse - behind the scenes #2

RockHouse have uploaded another video to YouTube featuring a "behind the scenes" look at the recording process for Alexi Laiho's upcoming new instructional dvd. According to RockHouse, the dvd is to be released next February, on the same day as Children Of Bodom's 7th studio album, which the band have just finished recording.

Check out the footage here

No pain, just gain for Warmen at Tuska

Hard to believe, but Warmen's appearance at this year's Tuska festival was only the 4th live show of the band's 10-year career. In their interview with Janne, asked the founder member, whether it is difficult working in more than one band at the same time: "'Warmen is not that active. We would love to be more active. Tuska was our fourth show ever. We didn't expect this great of a response.' The response was indeed great; it was as if Warmen was a legendary act. You couldn't get under the giant canopy they had set up ... the main stage would have been a better option for them because everyone at Tuska wanted to see them."

A feature of the latest Warmen album (Japanese Hospitality) is, of course, the guest singers, and at the Tuska show these included Timo Kotipelto, Joona Gaegea, Passi Rantanen and Alexi Laiho. The heat and dust inside the tent (as well as the special effects smoke) made for somewhat challenging conditions for the vocalists at times, and Janne added to Timo's problems by fucking up the intro for Eye of the Storm so that Timo got the wrong note, but as Janne said, Mirka fucked up the ending so it really wasn't Timo's fault. Whatever, it was only their 4th gig and the band had a good laugh about it and were clearly enjoying the show. Alexi Laiho's "surprise" appearance as the final guest singer, dressed in Hawaian shirt and sunglasses, was, of course, enthusiastically received by the audience, even if he did seem to have some trouble at times remembering the lyrics for Somebody's Watching Me!

The interaction onstage between Janne and his brother Antti made for an entertaining ingredient which will undoubtedly continue in future Warmen performances. Hopefully, now that Warmen have signed a contract with King Foo entertainment, Finland's biggest booking agency, there will be more opportunities to catch them live (though maybe not anytime soon, with Children Of Bodom about to embark on the Black Label Society Berzerkus tour, and their 7th studio album due for release early next year).

But if we won't get to see Warmen again for a while, what about the hugely talented guitarist Antti? A former member of Craydawn and The Scourger (the latter split up last year), Antti was to have joined Finnish band Survivors Zero as supporting guitarist on their US tour earlier this year, but visa problems meant that the tour had to be cancelled. Word was that Antti and some members of The Scourger were planning a new joint project, so we asked Antti to fill us in: "We have a new band but we don't have any name for it yet. Same guys but different singer. We have recorded a 3-song demo for record companies and we are currently looking for a deal!" Chances are, they won't be looking for long!

Japanese Hospitality
Eye Of The Storm
They All Blame Me
My Fallen Angel
Lying Delilah
Separate Ways
Somebody's Watching Me

Many thanks to COB forum member Celeb for photos and gig report

If You Want Shred ... Prepare for Guitar Hero 6

The upcoming new release of the music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, with a setlist featuring over 90 quintessential guitar shredding hits from bands such as Black Sabbath, Slipknot and Megadeth, will also include a contribution from Children Of Bodom - If You Want Peace ... Prepare for War. The game will focus on "shredding kind of rock" and will offer a Gene Simmons-narrated story mode. Accompanying the release of Warriors of Rock is a new wireless guitar that's "completely redesigned" and "rock-inspired".

Recording with Dinosaurs

Janne Warmen is one of several well-known Finnish musicians who have made a guest appearance on the second and latest album from Hevisaurus - a heavy metal band aimed specifically at children, with the music performed by four dinosaurs and a dragon (obviously!). Described as "one of the hottest things in Finnish children's music", Hevisaurus's new album, Hirmuliskojen Yö, has just been released.

torstai 24. kesäkuuta 2010

They are the real, motherfucking hatecrew #2

A quickie with ... Karen Fader McBride

Another in our occasional series of quick-fire questions. In the spotlight this time, Karen Fader McBride, aka Kindred Photography

Anyone who's ever stood 'down the front' behind the barricade at their favourite band's gig, with a posse of photographers milling around the pit between them and the stage (and sometimes obscuring their view!), has probably thought, 'what a cool job', or even, 'fuck it, I could do that!' From the average punter's point of view, it certainly seems like a badass way to earn shitloads of money whilst mingling with metal's musical elite: just get yourself a camera and you're good to go - right? Well, probably not, but don't take our word for it; we asked top Canadian photographer Karen Fader McBride (whose portfolio includes, amongst many of metal's finest, some awesome shots of Children Of Bodom) for the inside track ...

Are good photographers born or made?
I think most photographers just catch "the bug" somewhere along their path through life. Some develop it further by taking courses and others are self taught, but each has their own individual eye and style.

How did you get started as a photographer? What (if any) qualifications do you need?
I began taking photos as a teenager back before digital was the norm and we had to spend a small fortune on film & developing. I fell out of it for a time but once the digital age began I quickly got sucked back in. As for qualifications, I have never taken any courses. Sometimes I think I should though, couldn't hurt.

Does taking photographs pay the rent?
It can but in my case, no. I've done promo work for local bands and other non-music related photography that has brought in a paycheck here and there but it is far from being my day job. Honestly, it is more of an escape and release for me... shooting gigs & getting closer to the music I love.

Are you freelance, or do you work for a magazine or agency?
Freelance but I have regular webzines that use or have used my work, most notably MUEN Magazine & Fazer Magazine.

What camera do you use?
Somehow I manage to get by with a Canon EOS 450 & Canon S5IS. I should upgrade but everytime I have some extra money I end up buying a new lens... I'm a lens junkie.

What's the one piece of equipment (apart from your camera) you
wouldn't leave home without?

Flashlight, I keep a small one latched to my gear bag. It comes in handy when changing lenses plus helps me get safely in and out of the pit.

How did you get into concert photography?
I blame HIM... the band. Their former TM is a friend of mine and one day he just tossed me a photo pass. I went into the trench with a crappy point & shoot but I did OK. He tossed me another the following show and I was hooked.

When you first started out, how did you get photo passes?
Once I had a taste for it I found the only legit way to get photo passes was to contribute to a music website or magazine. I knew someone who had just started their own music site and was thrilled when he said he'd take me on. That first year we were super busy covering festivals and underground metal gigs. I literally dove in head first.

How do you avoid problems with the security guys?
Security are looking out for me as much as the crowd and band, they have our backs. If they tap me on the shoulder I know to move, some poor soul is about to come over the barrier. I'd have a hard time doing what I do if not for them and I'm happy to call many of them my friends.

When and where was the first time you photographed COB?
That would have been Gigantour 2008; it was a big show, good length set and apeshit crowd.

The rule of three: does it fire you up because you only have the first 10 minutes or so of the gig to get some killer shots, or does it mean you maybe miss the best photo opportunities as bands are often at their most energetic (and therefore, photogenic) towards the end of their set?

I guess it depends on the band. Most often we shoot the first 3 songs. Yes the band is looking fresh, as is the crowd but it would be nice to dodge back in and shoot the last song or anything eventful that may take place after those first three. All we can hope is that the songs are long ones (thank gawd for Opeth). On occasion I have been able to shoot a band's entire set or the remainder of a set from side stage but most often we have to settle with the first 3.

Is flash ever an option at concerts, and how do you deal with all that red light?
It is sometimes allowed but most often a big no-no. I prefer to not use flash as it washes out much of the stage lighting I want in the photos. Red light... ugh! Yeah, it's a bitch. Sometimes I can just flip a photo to B&W or post edit but sometimes it just blows! Don't even get me started on shooting Turisas.

Do you have favourite venues, where you know you'll get good shots? Or is it all down to instinct, 'feel' and maybe a little luck, on the night?
Yes, next to out door festivals my favourite venue is Toronto's Sound Academy. They have great lighting and the stage is a great size, lots of room in the pit as well and I know many of the staff & security. Unfortunately the venue I shoot at most often has fossil lighting (It's pretty fuckin old). It's too bad too because it is a great place to see shows and their staff are amazing. They get some great underground metal bands, but yeah, the lighting sucks hardcore. You do what you can with what you have.

What's the most challenging/shitty/awesome thing that's happened to you while photographing a COB show?
Challenging: I shot them in Detroit at this old theater with a tiny stage with 20 other photogs in the pit. We were almost on top of each other, ridiculous!
Shitty: I was shooting the band in Rochester back in 08 and the security guy at pit entry decided the three photogs each got only one song each, one after the other.
Awesome: The Detroit gig in May 09 when Jere Lehtinen of the Dallas Stars showed up, a good friend of the guys. He hung out with us on the bus and watched the show with me from the sound board. What can I say, I love hockey as much as music.

How do you get the 'perfect' shot, and do you know when you've got something really special, or do you only find out later when you look at what you've got?
Most of the time you know right away; when an artist decides to play it up for the camera or you catch the lighting just right... you know it. Sometimes you find little surprises you didn't know you got after as well.

Which of your COB shots is your favourite, and why?
That would be a backstage shot in Toronto Canada. COB were direct support for Lamb Of God who were just finishing up their set. Roope, Henkka and Jaska were in the dressing room relaxing when suddenly the fire alarm was set off. The venue was a large arena so it was some time before it could be deactivated. In the meanwhile the guys just plugged their ears. I love that snap.

Complete this sentence: "If I wasn't a photographer I'd be ..." amputee, my camera is like an appendage, lol.

Many thanks to Karen! Below is a selection of our favourite Kindred Photography COB shots. Check out more of Karen's work here


And the producer is ...

It seems that Children Of Bodom's 7th studio album will be produced by Matt Hyde, who has worked with bands such as Slayer, Hatebreed, Monster Magnet and The 69 Eyes. As a studio musician, Grammy Award winning engineer, arranger, producer and songwriter, his career has spanned many different genres of music over the past twenty years.

In recent entries in his blog, Hyde notes, "We finished mixing Monster Magnet this weekend! It's on to the next thing, which will be Children Of Bodom in a few weeks. I'm super stoked to have the opportunity to work with one of the best metal guitar players ever. I happen to love Finland and have made some great friends during my work with The 69 Eyes and now Children Of Bodom, who are some of the coolest people and best musicians I've ever had the pleasure of hanging with."

Bodom go Berzerk-us

When the writing and recording of their new album is done, Children Of Bodom will waste no time before getting back on the road again. Just announced is their participation in Black Label Society's two-month-long North American trek, The Black Label Berzerkus, which, according to its creator, Zakk Wylde, will deliver to fans "a rock n' roll night of excess and unique madness". Children Of Bodom will share the main support slot with Clutch in a lineup that boasts big guitar player profiles in Zakk Wylde and Alexi Laiho.

Children Of Bodom commented, "COB is more than ready to head out on Berzerkus and see all of our great fans. Expect nothing but a good time, Bodom style!" And maybe we'll get to see Laiho and Wylde onstage together?

The tour gets underway on September 21st at Roseland in Portland, OR, and will make stops across the US and Canada.

Helping hand

At a friend's private birthday party held at Helsinki's Tavastia club last month, Alexi joined his COB bandmate Roope onstage with Stone. He sang a couple of songs, including No Commands, but apparently he needed a bit of hand with the lyrics!

Photo credit: K-Man