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If you're really into live albums and think you've heard it all? You really haven't heard the best until you pop this into your stereo. Finland's deadnight warriors, Children of Bodom, have definitely made one of the best live albums to date in European metal history, it's powerful, explosive and even some of the songs featured or played live are better than the originals. This album recorded Bodom's live shows in Tokyo, Japan in 1999. The set list were songs from their first two albums "Something Wild" and "Hatebreeder", this concert was to promote their 2nd release and so on. When a band promotes music material, they want to make sure it's a good job. I'm just going to say right off the bat that it's absolutely the best Bodom had to offer.
For one thing, the songs played on this live album are actually better than the original ones! The band added some new stuff into the songs that extend them a little and in most cases it improves the piece(s) further! An example of this would be the intro to "Touch Like An Angel of Death" where you get all caught up in passionate emotion with those juicy melodic solos and then it drops to the morbid and dark riffs that kick the melodic shit aside and jumps right into the pure madness and destruction! This all really adds to the explosive quality of this album!
There's just something about a live album that makes it sound so much better! Everything doesn't sound exactly like the album version which kind of adds a little twist to the music, a breath of fresh air. Hell, there's even a solo battle between Laiho and Warman which sound amazing because you get a taste of both the musicians' talents and skill. It's really overwhelming in a good way, you have all this music surrounding you and it can get stuck in your head for days. This album inspired me to play live at a venue one day, I'm sure it has affected most fans the same way, if you ever have that feeling then you instantly know that this album is for you. Buy this and you get the Tokyo Warhearts experience, even if you weren't there.
Most metal bands have set standard as far as playing live, Children of Bodom are one of these bands. Anyone familar with this band knows this band is very unique, you can always describe the sound of the music but hearing it first hand is a whole another thing. Insane guitar shredding, millions of keyboards, and screaming mad man behind the mic. This is what you'll hear if you decide to check these guys out, but for those already fans of the band, you already know this.
The most important rule with any live album, is always sound better live than on studio efforts. Bodom really nailed this rule and knowing all what goes on musically, it's kinda hard to believe, but they pull it off brillantly. The album starts off with keyboard intro which very well done, it really sets the mood here. Alexi comes on stage and greets the Tokyo fans, Alright Toyko! and then we get thrown into "Silent Night, Bodom Night" which is a classic from Hatebreeder. The guitars sound so much heavier here than before, also Warmen keyboards so much more blended with music.
The band sounds so much better live it's almost hard to gasp. "Lake Bodom" which is pretty much anthem for Bodom, sounds so much more alive, like stated before. The overall performance of this song makes you just wanna erase the orginal from memory and insert this version, and this version only. "Bed of Razors" which probably my favorite song from the band, sounds very well exucuted. This is very melodic song and the riffwork here really carries the song. Also the vocal lines are great, going right with beat of the music.
"War of Razors" is really nice battle bewteen keyboards and guitar. Warmen does a excellent job and doesn't fail at being creative here. Very good song writing and really shows how interesting and imaginitive the band really is. "Downfall" is really nice as well, defiantely better than Hatebreeder version, I've always liked the keyboard melody here. This one of highlights of the album, but really this whole album is pretty much flawless. The drumming and bass playing should be noted, with all the music going on you would think some this would get lost in the background but this not true at all.
Everybody is top-notch which what you always want to hear. Children of Bodom Have really raise the bar for other metal bands with complexed music, this isn't easy music to play but it can be done. Let it be said I believe this one finest live albums out there and should be in every metalhead's collection, especially if your a fan of the band. This is by far the best thing the band have ever done! This album is very highly recommended, and make sure to pick it up on Vinyl while they last! Not to be missed.
Children of Bodom's album Hatebreeder can most likely be considered the pinnacle of their discography. With that being said, Something Wild can be considered the precursor to Hatebreeder. Tokyo Warhearts takes the best songs from each of their first two albums from two live shows in Tokyo. Basically a live greatest hits album from their first two albums. Now, on to the album itself:
Children of Bodom's live set is amazing. I saw them recently, and even though their set included a lot of stuff from their new album, they even made that sound decent live. But anyway, from seeing them live, you can obviously recognize the technical profiency of all the members. Their live playing is very tight, and it is apparent on this album. Aside from random little live quirks, the songs sound exactly like the albums, carbon copy, note for note etc. The live show is guided by Alexi talking over Janne screwing around on his keyboard, and they flow song through song, with random instrumental sections thrown in for extra flavor. Take "Intro" for example, basically Janne playing some TV theme, then Alexi coming out and yelling "ALL RIGHT TOKYO!" and then BOOM! Silent Night, Bodom Night right out of nowhere. Amazing.
This album is real hard to find, but if you can find it, please do. If you like any CoB, you'll be mesmerized.
I usually do not like live albums because they sound like shit usually and don't do the band justice, and even though this album does sound slightly touched up, it is one of the greatest live albums I have ever heard because of the ferocity and sheer energy put forth by every band member. The cover art was also very original I thought. Let's break it down track by track.
1. Intro - This is what really set this live album apart for me, seriously. This goes against most metal bands try to exemplify, a keyboard solo that sounds very much like Enigma. It is actually Crockett's Theme from Jan Hammer (who did the Miami Vice theme song) and it sets the tone for what's to come. Hearing the crowd cheer along with it just gets the listener into absolute metal mode. It's dark and brooding, and all Hell unleashes when you hear Alexi yell, "All Right Tokyo!" 10/10
2. Silent Night, Bodom Night - This track is better than the studio version, by far. Alexi's voice is simply superb, and the drumming is much more discernible, and pumps you up to no end. The dual shredding is fantastic as well, and makes you wonder why they would even bother in the studio....it's that good. Janne Warman proves to the non-believers that keyboards DO belong in metal. Once again, hearing the crowd in Tokyo chant along with the band is simply mesmerizing. 10/10
3. Lake Bodom - One of my favorite songs by them because it's about the event in which they took their name from, so I was excited to hear it. The defining element that sets this live album apart other than the musicianship is Alexi's intros to the songs. Hearing him yell "Good Evening Tokyo, we are Children Of Bodom and we come from fucking Finland!!" blew my mind to bits, then the guitar riffs opening the song blew those bits to even tinier bits. Everything is in unison, absolute perfection. The drums are bombastic and powerful while the bass compliments it perfectly in sync. 10/10
4. Warheart - This song sounds extra heavy for some reason, the bass is so low it creates a disparate sound that contrasts with the really high notes of the dual-guitars and Janne's sonic keyboards, but as crazy as that sounds....it works. Alexi's voice never falters either, he sounds almost superhuman. What exactly a Warheart is I'm not sure, but after listening to this song and almost breaking my neck from headbanging so much, I'm pretty sure I have one. 9/10
5. Bed Of Razors - Another kickass keyboard intro from Janne Warman. This guy is such a virtuoso, i cannot believe he was only 19 when they recorded this. The opening riff is killer, and sets the air for the rest of the song. Alexi will break out into a solo here and there, but it's always compliments the rest of music, never in a "Oh look at me" fashion. When Kuopalla joins him note-for-note, nothing can top their sound......nothing. Everything is top notch in this song as well, even if it was one I never really liked. 8/10
6. War Of Razors - This is cool because it isn't really a song, but a keyboard-guitar battle between the two virtuosos of the band, Warman and Laiho. There is this droning sound in the background during the battle that makes it seem like they are building up, settting the stage for bigger and heavier things to come. 8/10
7. Deadnight Warrior - I know for a fact that any hardened Bodom fan was excited to hear Alexi ask, "How many of you have heard about our first album Something Wild?" Because they all know it comes down to one song.......Deadnight Warrior. This is the first song anyone ever really heard when they first heard Bodom, and I guarantee it holds a special place in their heart as well as mine. Hearing it live is utterly captivating, they never miss a fucking note and every instrument is clearly heard from the rest. The dual-axe work in this song stands out because it fades in and out with solos and truly outshines than in any other song. 10/10
8. - Hatebreeder - This song is also good, but doesn't hold water against the the majority of songs on here. None the less, every member is at the top of their game, and the crowd is obviously into it every second of the way, which makes me actually feel like I was with them, like I am there. This is why I finally realized what live albums are supposed to achieve, because I felt like i was at this concert, and I relive the experience every time I play it. 8/10
9. Touch Like Angel Of Death - Another classic from their first album done perfectly. "Do you still wanna hear some more fucking heavy metal?? You got it." I expected to be blasted away after that Alexi asked that, but they go into a very slow but familiar riff, and for the life of me I cannot figure out where I know it from, but it fucking rules. Then the house then gets torn the fuck down, because they go into the best riff of the whole album, the drumming is superb, the keys on point, and Alexi's vocals bringing it all together. The chanting by the crowd on this track is the best in a live album, EVER. It makes me see the Japanese's passion for metal in a whole new light. And just when you think it doesn't get any better, the breakdown at 2:27 obliterates anything and everything in it's path. This is the best song they have ever done, studio or live. 10/10
10. Downfall - This track is done well, never faltering at any moment, but never really standing out from the studio version or the rest of the tracks. Still a good one, and very worthy to be on this live album. 7/10
11. Towards Dead End - The longest track on the entire album but a very wise choice to close it all down with. I hate to say it, but they lose a little of their energy towards the end, but that in itself makes the song title very fitting I think. A great way to cap my favorite live album ever, if they didn't sound fatigued, I would have assume they are cyborgs or something. A true experience every time I hear it. 8/10
If I was at this concert, I would be a little pissed. It's very short. 9 songs, 1 solo battle and an Introduction. That's about half the length of your standard live show. Not to say that there aren't some cool points, such as when Alexi Laiho announces that "We're Children of Bodom and we come from FUCKING FINLAND!!" Overall, however, the live show was short, and when I go to concerts I expect to make an evening out of it.
But I wasn't there, and so I can give the opinion of those who listen to the CD: This is Children of Bodom at their most ass-kicking. And that's saying something. Tokyo Wearhearts is what I would call the perfect Children of Bodom CD--taking a "Best of" CD and adding the excitement of a very well-done live album. This has all the great Children of Bodom classics, including Silent Night, Bodom Night and Lake Bodom, and it features their latest hit, the somewhat slower (though not by much) Downfall. The album also includes a collection of lesser-known but equally cool songs, including the title track from their new album, Warheart, and Deadnight Warrior, a song from their first album. Topping it off is the fantastic solo battle entitled War of Razors, which includes perhaps the fastest few seconds of guitar playing that I've ever heard.
I don't like harsh vocals. I'll put that out in the open: I see no merit in growiling out unintelligible noise when there are great bands like Iced Earth singing in harsh, pissed off voices that still sport clean vocals. That being said, Children of Bodom manages to make their growls sound good, and in combination with the fast-as-hell instruments, the growling almost seems appropriate for the setting. And coming from me, that's really saying something.
Get this live album now. It is without a doubt one of the best performances ever put on CD by a unique, yet incredible Power Metal band.
Now that this album has been released in a standard jewel case, it's easier to find than the box set it was originally released in. It doesn't have any of the extras that the box set has, however - just photos of each of the band members and a few lyrics snippets here and there (including a few from songs off of Something Wild).
So how is the album itself? Well, it's a very tight performance from CoB, with few mistakes. Since it was recorded right after Hatebreeder came out, it only has songs from their first two albums. The song selection is pretty good...obviously there are a few songs that every CoB fan would want to hear that aren't on the tracklist, but on the whole it's a decent collection.
Alexi's vocals are decent live. Obviously he's concentrating on playing guitar, which he is extremely good at, even live. He glides through the solos at full speed effortlessly, even throwing in a few quick licks in here and there that aren't on the studio versions of the songs. Everyone else in the band is also in top form, particularly Jaska's drumming. Alexi's stage chatter comes after every song, and while it's a tad goofy at times it's nothing you wouldn't hear at your average metal concert. He speaks English surprisingly well.
Fans of Children of Bodom's other albums will most likely enjoy this album. Personally I'd recommend it over Something Wild because the tracks from that album on here are at least as good as the album versions, and in some cases better (like Deadnight Warrior). For the collectors out there, there's also a track called "War of Razors" that is only on this album. It's basically Alexi and Janne (and maybe Alexander?) shredding it up like there's no tomorrow. If you don't like CoB's other albums, you're probably not gonna dig this one, but otherwise it's definitely worth checking out. My favorite songs are "Silent Night, Bodom Night", "Lake Bodom", and "Downfall".